1. In projecting the Patriots’ 53-man roster to open the season, it’s clear some positions are major strengths, while others are clear weaknesses. Wide receiver and tight end come to mind as being thin, while cornerback and safety are very deep. Other teams obviously have the same type of thing occurring, which is why there are usually a lot of trades around cut-down day. “What you have on paper and what you actually have on the field definitely aren't always the same thing, so it takes a while. It's a process to get to that point, and sometimes you have to make decisions without a lot of information, and then you just have to guesstimate at it. But, as more information comes in, I think you'll see more transactions, however the players get transacted,” Bill Belichick said this week. “It doesn't have to be a trade. It could be other ways for players to exchange teams, but I think there's no question that you're going to see a lot more of that as time goes on.” It would not be a surprise at all to see the Patriots acquire a wide out and/or tight end from another team while giving up a safety or a corner, just because of a surplus of players at those positions. Last year one trade was made the week 53-man rosters were due, but in 2017 the Patriots made four deals.
2. Speaking of wide receiver, after signing free agent Cameron Meredith Friday, it doesn’t seem like the team has any plans of rushing him onto the field. After being released from New Orleans last week due to lingering issues from a knee injury suffered last year, the Patriots have placed Meredith on PUP. This means the Patriots have two proven receivers on PUP in Demaryius Thomas and Meredith. Thomas doesn’t seem likely to be activated before the start of the season, and it’s unclear on Meredith, but both players have the potential to be viewed as solid mid-season pickups at the receiver position. It feels like Meredith was a case of him being too good of a player when healthy to pass up.
3. One of the few standouts at wide receiver so far in training camp has been undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers. The NC State product has made some spectacular catches and has seen some time working alone with Tom Brady during special teams periods, which is always a good sign Also, he’s seen extensive time with the first unit. While it’s hard to declare an undrafted rookie a lock to make the roster after just over a week, what he’s shown so far, along with a lack of depth at the position, it would be a big surprise to see him not make the 53-man roster at this point.
4. The Patriots defense has a chance to be even better than it was last year with the really only big change being replacing Trey Flowers with Michael Bennett and then adding Jamie Collins. The defense has dominated the offense so far this summer, both against the run and pass. Looking at the schedule and facing some bad teams with poor offenses, do not be surprised if the defense gets off to a historic start to open the year.
5. It seems quite clear Belichick will have more of a role with the defense this season, but it still isn’t confirmed who will call the plays. Belichick is an option, but it’s worth wondering if he did that how much would it impact his ability to work with other units on game day? This is why we still like Jerod Mayo to end up calling the plays. He’s been very involved so far this spring and summer and he was one of the smartest players ever to play for Belichick. More will be known Thursday with who is relaying the plays in the first preseason game.
6. The Patriots have had eight sessions at Gillette Stadium, seven open to the public, with last Monday’s in-stadium practice only being open to season-ticket holders and Foxboro residents. The thing that has stood out most is the fan attendance has been down. The crowds have still been impressive, but it’s nothing like we’ve seen in the past where there’s been an overflow to the ramps of the stadium. It’s unclear exactly why the drop off has occurred and there are not many open practices remaining.
7. Things are starting to pick up for the Patriots as they will hold joint practices in Detroit this week with the Lions before their preseason game Thursday night. Typically, the starters get a ton of reps in the joint sessions against the opposition and then end up not playing much, if at all, in the preseason game. Expect the same this week against the Lions. Monday and Tuesday’s sessions in particular will likely be the most intense of the summer.