One preseason game down, 64 to go. As the Patriots sit just days away from the preseason opener on the road in Detroit, there are a few questions that still sit in front of the six-time champions.
The first big question revolves around the man known as the G.O.A.T. Tom Brady. TB12 just signed a new contract extension that makes Brady’s future in New England a little clearer (Even though his house is on the market). Patriots fans ask this question every year, how much will Tom Brady play during the preseason? There are reasons why Brady should take the field for extended snaps. The following names are receivers who caught a pass from Tom Brady during the 2018 regular season and remain on the 2019 depth chart. Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead and James Develin. The voids made by Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan, and even Dwayne Allen makes every snap important for the Patriots during the Preseason and reasons why Tom Brady SHOULD be on the field for a decent number of snaps.
Another question mark before the Patriots preseason is the potential for first round pick, N’Keal Harry. Harry had nearly 3,000 receiving yards in his three years at Arizona state including 1,088 in 2018. Draft comparisons have him up with the likes of Allen Robinson, but his size is what potentially grabbed the Patriots. 6’2” and 228 lbs gives the receiving core of the Patriots the growth spurt they needed. One thing to watch in the first couple preseason games is how he is used in the red zone. Draft experts say one weakness is his production inside the 20. That could be a stat to disregard if he has 30-35 yd TD receptions, but remember this is the NFL and NOT the Pac 12 where defense kind of matters.
This may be a sneaky big story through the first part of the season, the position of left tackle. Trent Brown signed with the Oakland Raiders during the offseason meaning the Patriots lost quite the talent on the offensive line. Brown last year allowed 3 sacks in 744 passing snaps. The issue isn’t that Brown left the Patriots, although that will be a big loss. The big problem is who will protect Tom Brady’s blindside? Nate Solder was trusted with that duty before Trent Brown, Isaiah Wynn is expected to take the starting role, however Joe Thuney has seen time at the tackle position. With a 42 year old QB at the helm of the 6-time world champs, protecting him is the biggest goal for the season.
Cameron Meredith signed on with the Patriots last week adding to the depth at the wide receiver position. DeMaryius Thomas and Dontrelle Inman are also most likely fighting for a spot on the roster. Every training camp, there is always a surprise cut or two that may make some Patriots fans angry. Who could get cut at one of the deepest positions on the team numbers wise. Braxton Berrios, Inman, and Thomas are names that may be worth watching when the final cuts are made in a couple weeks. The number three wide receiver spot is an interesting area for the preseason that may actually keep us watching games that “don’t count.”
- John Luck (@jluck_89)