Sunday 7: Besides QB, Patriots still have plenty of positional battles to watch this summer


1. All everyone wants to talk about with the Patriots is Cam Newton vs. Mac Jones, but this is ignoring some other key position battles that will play out over the course of the summer. Wide receiver is wide open, as not only will players be competing for roster spots, but roles as well. Who will be the No. 1 and 2 receivers? Nelson Agholor seems like a pretty good bet given his speed and contract, but then there’s Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne. And then there’s the backend of the position and who will earn the last spot — potentially between N’Keal Harry and Isaiah Zuber. This position will be very intriguing and could change a bunch before the initial 53-man roster is set. Who plays behind Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith at tight end will also be interesting, as there’s Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene and Matt LaCosse. Based on what we saw during the spring, Asiasi has the edge right now, but things could change once the pads come on in a few weeks. On the other side of the ball, it’s worth watching Josh Uche and Chase Winovich as these two could be competing for pass rush snaps. Uche looked very impressive, but will things continue when full pads come on and things are at a higher speed? And then at cornerback, Stephon Gilmore and JC Jackson figure to be the top corners, but then who slides in after them? Is it Jonathan Jones, who is primarily used out of the slot, but there’s also Jalen Mills and Myles Bryant. Bottom line, the quarterback position is getting all the headlines, but there are a number of other positional battles to watch.

2. Speaking of Newton, based on his recent comments on ESPN Radio it seems like he is a realist. He knows Jones is the Patriots’ quarterback of the future and if he shows he’s ready to start games over the course of the summer, he will. The Patriots don’t owe Newton anything and if Jones is ready to start, he should. It will be interesting to see if this is the case how Newton handles it. Would he want to be a backup? This will be interesting to watch play out.

3. It has been an interesting few weeks for Harry, who reportedly requested a trade prior to training camp, but then spoke with Josina Anderson this week and said he would be reporting to training camp. Obviously, he doesn’t want to take the daily fine for missing training camp, but why say you want a trade prior to camp only to say a week later you’ll be there? We still continue to believe there’s a spot on the roster for the third-year receiver.

4. It’s hard to take what Cassius Marsh says about the Patriots too seriously considering how his time with the team went. So when he says the team doesn’t give lunch breaks, it’s really hard to believe, especially considering a number of players have praised the cooking staff and the cafeteria over the years. Also don’t forget the “Fat Friday’s” in recent seasons.

5. It was learned this past week that Tom Brady played through last season with a torn MCL, which is pretty impressive for a 43-year old and the numbers that he put up. With that being said, it is interesting that he never appeared on Tampa Bay’s injury report. This furthers the belief that teams are not always 100% forthcoming with them.

6. Even though training camp is just over a week away, there’s still some time to add a veteran or two to the roster. Here are some of the biggest names that are still available: wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey, left tackle Jason Peters, defensive end Melvin Ingram, defensive end Everson Griffen and cornerback Josh Norman. Also, John Simon is still available and he seems like a player that could potentially come back to New England.

7. The Patriots will get on the field for the first time this summer for training camp July 28, but Bill Belichick will speak with the media the day prior along with a few other veteran players. Will Stephon Gilmore have a new contract by then? That’s arguably the biggest question with the team right now.

Featured Image Photo Credit: New England Patriots