I have been going to Patriots Training Camp for the past 5 years, but as this is the first year I went while writing on this blog, I figured I would write a quick piece about any observations. Unfortunately, due to my full-time internship and being away on Saturday, I was only able to attend today’s training camp session. I don’t have any groundbreaking scoops or expert analysis, but I do want to share some things that stuck out to me.
Brandin Cooks should fit in well
Cooks seems to already be on the same page as both Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo, as he had nice grabs, catching passes from both QBs throughout the day. He looked like he ran routes really well and showed great speed down the sideline on multiple ocassions, snagging a deep TD from Brady on one particular play. I really can’t wait to see the damage that Cooks can do in the same offense as Edelman, Gronkowski, and Brady. Talk about a lethal passing game.
Rob Gronkowski was once again a full participant
For the 4th straight day of camp, Gronk was a full go and looked good. There was one point in practice where he looked to be slightly limping and favoring one side, but he shook it off and continued to play in the 7v7 and 11v11 drills, making several nice grabs throughout the day. Gronk is the best offensive player in the NFL when he is healthy, and his health is so important to the Patriots dominance. We may have won without him, but Gronk makes so many things happen.
The slot corner spot is up for grabs
The Pats have two star cornerbacks on the outside in Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore, but that third corner on the depth chart is an intriguing battle this camp and preseason. So far, both Eric Rowe and Johnathan Jones have taken reps as the third corner. Justin Coleman and Cyrus Jones are also options at the CB position. Nobody in this 3rd slot really stuck out today. The preseason games may be more telling in who will win this battle.
With Ninkovich retiring, D-Line needs to step up
Trey Flowers will likely take steps forward. Kony Ealy should be a starter and get a lot of snaps. Rookies Deatrich Wise Jr and Derek Rivers will also look for quality playing time. Ninkovich’s presence will be sorely missed, but the Patriots have the talent to fill the void his retirement leaves.