August 16, 2022


The Patriots have spent nearly two weeks in training camp and we’re just beginning to get a sense of what this club will be like for the 2022 season. While there’s plenty of time between now and when they head to Miami to face the Dolphins in their first week, now seems like a more opportune time than ever. Time to measure the temperature of this team at this juncture of camp.

Below, we’ve highlighted a few players and/or stance combinations and evaluated the stance they’re in for two weeks, which included the first series of cushioning drills.

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A defensive intervention for Year Two Patriots Christian Barmore in the midst of a big camp. He routinely dominates him at 1 on 1 and looks like he’s on his way to a sophomore breakup season. It’s been a thorn in the side of the New England jogging game all over camp, especially during the padded workouts. If he can improve in that area, it would be a legitimate wrecking ball along the Patriots defense line when you explain his passing prowess.

“Christian has done a good job,” Bill Belichick said Thursday. “He’s a lot ahead of last year. First of all, he’s in much better shape. Second, he has a much better understanding of what we’re doing, what our opponents are doing, the daily routine or the weekly routine of how the progress is going, because he’s gone through it.”

“…He has been more consistent, like all the sophomores – that’s not unique to him – but he’s been more consistent. He has a better understanding of our scheme, the scheme of the opponent, what could happen, what the problem is, and how to deal with these problems as they arise. His physical growth, technique, and skills improved: overall strength, speed, stamina. They were good anyway, but they improved through training. It’s progress.”

Stocks: Mac Jones, pass offense

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Crime had moments in camp, but they also took their blocks while working on a new “simplified” system. The quarterbacks struggled especially when drills turned into 11-on-11s from 7-on-7s and fitness escalated in front of them. Every so often we’ve seen Mac Jones or rookie Bailey Zappe get out of the pocket and forced to throw the ball away. Of course, part of that could be the lack of protection or the presence of wide receivers struggling to break off. Whatever the case, it got off to a rough start for the offense as a whole.

Those difficulties out of the gate may also be an incentive for Belichick to reconnect on Wednesday and hold an unlined session in an effort to bring unity.

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One of the camp’s biggest questions centered on who would claim the outside starting spot that J.C. Jackson had left vacant. While Jalen Mills appears to be dedicated to one of those starting points, Terrance Mitchell appears to have the inner path to claim the other. The veteran corner—who signed a one-year $3 million contract with New England in the off-season—has seen the vast majority of cast in that spot, along with some Malcolm Butler’s slasher. With these reps, Mitchell played well and scored several break-ups and interceptions up to this point.

Mitchell was also the first player on the field prior to every training camp.

Stock: play the game

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The running game left a lot to be desired at this point in the camp. The New England defense was routinely able to go into the background and score tackles for a loss to impede whatever kind of attack was trying to attack. What was particularly missing from the Patriot’s lunge attack was the success on the inside kicks as there weren’t many holes for the back to knock through. At times, we’ve seen their backs bounce around outside and struggle to get to the edge and rise up too.

The Patriots ran football 489 times last season, the seventh highest mark in the NFL. With that in mind, this is a huge chunk of their offensive that didn’t really get out of the gangsters to start camp, and it’s less than ideal.

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Parker has come to camp as advertised. The former Dolphins pass catcher is an oversized receiver that has demonstrated an ability to achieve contested catches. The relationship between Parker and McJones was also noticeable during the early stages of camp. The two linked up with several big plays, including a 50-yard touchdown during Monday’s 11-on-11s in the club’s first full practice.

Not only did Parker bring great playing ability to this offense, but he also injected some energy in the unit as well.





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