With the amount of injured players, one would think the Patriots have to start suiting up their coaching staff to field a team. Today was no different as 21 missed practice due to injury and Tom Brady's absence was due to his court battle with the NFL. Let's go through the notes, good and bad.
Here is the long list of absentees: Tom Brady, Brandon LaFell, Dane Fletcher, Ryan Wendell, Chris Jones, Caylin Hauptmann, Julian Edelman, Aaron Dobson, LeGarrette Blount, Dion Lewis, Tyler Gaffney, Travaris Cadet, Marcus Cannon, Bryan Stork, Eric Martin, Joe Vellano, Nate Solder, Jake Bequette, Scott Chandler, Rob Ninkovich and Alan Branch. Again, these aren't guys that were signed as rookie free agents, these are starters and high draft picks that are expected to contribute; hopefully the injury bug goes away soon.
Rookie cornerback Darryl Roberts continues to make plays all over the field, and he's not only vying for a roster spot, he's looking to crack the starting lineup. Roberts broke up four passes on Tuesday and looks like a steal in the seventh round. His size and speed is exceptional and it's surprising he lasted as long as he he did.
Jimmy Garoppolo continues to struggle in practice and is not giving the coaching staff a lot of confidence heading into the season as the possible starter. The offense couldn't get it together and they had a rough outing, but Garoppolo was the leader of the mess. He needs to relax because he appears to be pressing and trying to make the perfect throw.
Josh Kline is battling for his roster spot, so he's doing the smartest thing you can do as a Patriot- learning a second position. Kline has worked at center since the signing of Ryan Lindley.
David Andrews, who may be the one who steps up and takes a job from Kline, continues to play well as the backup center ans has taken control of that group. Marcus Cannon and Sebastian Vollmer's injuries have led to a lot of reps for Cam Fleming, a player the has shown flashes but also had some major struggles.
James White is tasking advantage of his opportunity with Dion Lewis and Travaris Cadet down with injuries; he made multiple catches in practice today and has shown that in the passing game he has the ability to be special. As an actual running back, he is average and goes down too easily on first contact.
Linebacker L.J. Fort flashed on the field today, making plays and forcing fumbles. Fort is a player that will get plenty of opportunities this preseason, so if you like exhibition football, get used to seeing him.
Tavon Wilson was making plays and continues to show well in the battle for a roster spot. The safety position is loaded with young, high round draft picks and someone is going to get cut or traded. With the way Wilson is playing (had a great interception today) he'll force his way onto the roster.
With the first exhibition game Thursday vs. Green Bay, the Patriots will only be having a walkthrough tomorrow that will not be open to the public.
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