Patriots See New Challenges in 2019
Football training camp is upon us and pre-season games are right around the corner. Every team looks to polish their game, improve physically and most importantly – stay healthy for the start of the season.
For Bill Belichick and the Patriots, this is the 21st training camp. After 9 of these, the Patriots have gone to the Super Bowl. It is of little surprise that people from all over the globe want to visit the Patriots’ training camp and observe a practice. Unfortunately, Foxborough, MA is too far north and few people from the USA are willing to make the trip. This is a bonus for Canada because Patriots fans from this country are just a short flight away from visiting Patriot Place and Gillette Stadium.
And if you somehow succeed in seeing one practice of the team this summer, you will likely notice that the coaching staff tries hard to improve in every aspect of the game. However, we think that there are 3 units that bear the most unknowns this year.
The Tight End Unit
Obviously, the biggest hole was left in the tight end unit after the departure of Rob Gronkowski. Gronk decide to retire early from the game of football and the downfall will be huge. You don’t just recover immediately after losing arguably the best tight end in the history of the NFL.
Benjamin Watson came out of retirement just to reunite with Belichick but is now suspended for the 1st four games of the season because of PED use. Even if he wasn’t suspended, Watson is 38 and it is questionable how useful he would be to that team.
Matt LaCosse is the new addition to this unit (from the Broncos) but we can’t expect much from him. LaCosse has an injury history and we are pretty sure that his on-field effectiveness will not match the one that Gronk had. The smartest thing for the Patriots coaching staff to do may be to just avoid utilizing the tight end position heavily this year. Maybe that’s why they drafted a wide receiver (N’Keal Harry) in the 1st round.
The Safety Unit
Safeties have been the backbone of the Patriots defense for the better part of the decade. But now Devin McCourty is getting old and Patrick Chung is coming off a series of injuries. McCourty is not as fast as he used to be and will mainly help with leadership skills. Maybe it is time to look for a young safety to pair with Duron Harmon.
The Quarterback Unit
This may sound like blasphemy to some, but the Patriots need to prepare for life after Tom Brady. Evidently, he is the best quarterback to ever lace them up but he is 42 now. You don’t want to get rid of him until he shows signs of slowing down but that doesn’t mean that you do not look into next year’s draft class trying to find a diamond in the rough. Let’s not forget how the Patriots found Brady in the first place.