Tag Archives: Aaron Dobson

New England Patriots: The Deepest Roster In Years

The New England Patriots have had a long run of exceptional success. The Bill Belichick-Tom Brady link has a lot to do with the dominance they have over the rest of the NFL. This year, despite losing Brady for the 1st four games (no comment necessary), they have what could be the deepest, if not most skilled, roster in years. Despite missing some key players early due to injury, fans will be rockin’ as the 2016 Patriots evolve.

Are there still areas of concern? Definitely… but all positions are filled with strong, talented young players chomping at the bit to replace seasoned vets. Think about it. The lack of training camp transactions and difficulty in selecting who will be among New England’s 53 man roster opening day this deep into camp is a strong indication that the back-end will have skills needed to survive the long season.

COMPETITION IS GOOD FOR EVERYONE 

After two pre-season games, the competition for playing time is fierce. And, let’s face it, that’s good for everyone. Shoot, even Tom Brady, arguable the best QB in NFL history, can’t find playing time when he wants to. OK, I know, he was playing with scissors and cut himself, keeping him out of game #2, which he was scheduled to start. But the point is, someone has stepped in and done the job. You may not be a fan of Jimmy Garoppolo as the “long-term” answer when TB retires, but he has shown the ability to hold things together while Brady is out. Let’s take a quick look at what we could see on offense opening night, September 11, in Arizona.

Jimmy Garoppolo looked good against the Bears . (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Jimmy Garoppolo looked good against the Bears (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

QB: (2) This one’s a no brainer,( so I qualify), and my prediction -ta dah- unequivocally: the two slots are owned by Goroppolo and rookie Jacoby Brissett. How’s that for stepping out on a limb. It is doubtful the Patriots will sign a veteran back-up QB for the 1st four games unless one of those two get injured. Brady does not take up a roster spot until game 5.

WR: (6) Who needs a real deep threat when you have a roster full of good hands, elusive players battling it out for a limited number of positions. The days of Randy Moss are long gone, so, as they say in certain circles, “forgeddabout-it.”

  • Veterans include Danny Amendola, Jules Edelman, Nate Washington, Chris Hogan, Keshawn Martin, Aaron (yep, he’s still here) Dobson and old faithful Matthew Slater.
  • Young and looking to step in players are Chris Harper, Malcolm Mitchell, DeAndre Carter and Devin Lucien.

Injuries will factor in the final six. The availability of Amendola and Mitchell are the two question marks. If healthy they are locks, along with Edelman, Slater, Hogan and Harper. That leaves Washington, Martin, Dobson, Carter & Lucien on the outside looking in. If either Amendola or Mitchell can’t go, look for Martin to fill their slot.

TE: (3) Like QB, the first two are easy – Rob Gronkowski & Martellus Bennett. After that is a big question. Do you want a blocking, athletic or flexible player filling that role? Based on his performance to-date, I’m going with AJ Derby (FB James Develin is capable of filling the blocking TE role). As of 8/21 veteran Clay Harbor is listed ahead of Derby on the Patriot’s unofficial depth chart.

8-18 AJ Derby (Photo courtesy patspulpit.com)Rookie TE AJ Derby (Photo courtesy patspulpit.com)

RB: (5) BULLETIN – CSNNE is reporting Dion Lewis needs more surgery. James White has looked good in that role, but lacks Lewis’ elusiveness. LeGarrette Blount has impressed in pre-season, but is vulnerable with the emergence of Tyler Gaffney. Branden Bolden’s value on special teams will be the determining factor for him, leaving Joey Iosofa and D.J. Foster with little chance. As mentioned under TEs, James Devlin’s flexibility as both a blocking back and TE make him seem a certainty.

Final five – Gaffney, White,  Devlin, Bolden Blount. Would not be shocked if either Blount or Bolden were cut. It seems like every year Belichick makes a surprise cut, so either Blount or Bolden could be this year’s shocker.

OL: (9) As in all but a few predictions, health is the determining factor. Sebastian Vollmer is out & Tre’ Jackson is hurt. A decision on Jackson needs to come shortly. (A player must open training camp on PUP in order to be eligible to be placed on the reserve/PUP list to open the regular season).  His leadership will be missed, but the offensive line is gradually revolving into a young aggressive group, with rookie Joe Thune at left guard and Shaq Mason (broken hand) looking at more playing time. Center Dave Andrews beats out Bryan Stork at center,  leaving veterans Nate Solder, Cameron Fleming, LaAdrian Waddle & Josh Kline joined by youngsters Ted Karras & Tre’ Jackson. If Jackson isn’t available (heaven forbid). add Marcus Cannon (ugh) to the list. No sense at all about Jonathon Cooper, who has been suffering with foot problems since the 1st padded practice. Probable IR candidate.

DEFENSE COMING MONDAY 8/22)

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Patriots Training Camp: Day One Observations

The day we’ve all been waiting for is finally upon us, Patriots football is back. The Patriots kicked off their season today with the start of training camp with thousands of fans in the stands to show support for their team. As always, today’s practice session was simulated and unpadded with no contact allowed.

 

The biggest storyline going into training camp is that quarterback Tom Brady will be serving his 4-game suspension, and third year man Jimmy Garoppolo will be the starter for the teams first four games. The big question heading into training camp is how the Patriots will divide up playing time during practices and preseason games for Brady, Garoppolo, and rookie Jacoby Brissett with the first team offense. When the team began 7 on 7 drills it was Brady who was under center with the first team offense going against the first team defense, with Garoppolo then coming in with the second unit and two would rotate throughout the drills. When the team got into its 2-minute 11 on 11 drills it was Garoppolo who got all the first team reps going 18 for 21, while Brady worked with the second unit.

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Someone who stood out to me today was Aaron Dobson, which was a bit of a surprise. Dobson is on the bubble this year and will be fighting for his roster spot after disappointing during his first three seasons in the league. Dobson had two great catches in the end zone during 7 on 7 drills, one from Brady and a one-handed grab from Garoppolo. Chris Harper was someone who also made a few nice plays as well as rookie wide receiver Devin Lucien. With wide receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola starting off training camp on the PUP list the rest of the receivers on the roster should get a lot of reps in with Garoppolo and Brady and fight for their spot on the roster.

 

The teams biggest offseason acquisition tight end Marcellus Bennett had a very good first day of camp. It’s only the first day of camp and can’t really tell much from the practices being simulated and having no contact, but from what I saw pairing Bennett up with Rob Gronkowski is going to create absolute nightmares for defenses. Having two guys who are 6’6′ and as big and long as they are will cause a lot of problems for defenses and help out slot receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola.

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Rookies Cyrus Jones and V’Angelo Bentley were the two who were returning punts and kickoffs during special teams drills. Jones, a second round pick out of Alabama, was one of the best return men in college football last season and showed a lot of speed when returning kicks. Hopefully Jones, and Bentley if he makes the roster, can help sure up a Patriots special teams unit which had it’s share of struggles last season.

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Not present for today’s training camp session were wide receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola, running back Dion Lewis, guards Tre jackson and Shaq Mason, tackle Sebastian Vollmer, tight end Clay Harbor who were all placed on the PUP list, defensive tackle Alan Branch who was placed on the Active?Non-Football related injury list, safety Nate Exner who is training with the U.S. Olympic Rugby team and linebacker Jamie Collins who showed up to camp yesterday but did not practice with the team today.

 

The first day of training camp is officially in the books and I’m happy to say that Patriots football is back.

New England Patriots: Is Denver Tom Brady’s Achilles’ Heel?

Is it possible the Denver Broncos are Tom Brady’s achilles’ heel? Going into Sunday night’s match-up there was only one team in the NFL TB has a losing record against.  It may be hard to believe, but the best QB in NFL history is 6-7 against the Broncos, 5-5 in the regular season and 1-2 in the playoffs.

So, here it is. Sunday night at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver and Super Tom still has something to prove…one more mountain to climb. The big difference over past years is ( are you ready for this?)  Brady may have a mediocre/poor game and the Patriots still should win. I know, Denver has a great defense…but this year so do the Patriots.

D-E-F-E-N-S-E

The Patriots have allowed the fewest points-per-game (18.2) in the NFL while the Broncos are 18th in scoring (22.2). When you realize how many of the points scored against New England’s defense were in garbage time,  after games were already decided, the figure is decidedly lower.

Meanwhile, the always tough Denver defense is just behind NE, allowing a measly 18.3 PPG of their own.  Yes, the Patriots are 2nd in scoring (32.3), but the days of rolling up points look to be over with a depletion of skill players on offense due to injuries. Danny Amendola and Aaron Dobson will be among the missing (Dobson for the year) leaving Brady with limited options in the passing game. Sure, he still has Rob Gronkowski and Brandon LaFell, but after that there are a bunch of question marks.

Home Field Advantage

Big Edge: Denver

1960 Patriots vs Broncos (Photo: sportspaperinfo.com
1960 Patriots vs Broncos (Photo: sportspaperinfo.com

The Patriots are just 9-19 in Denver since the two teams first met in 1960.  Ah yes, I remember it well, a 13-10 Denver win. (The long-term memory is fine, it’s the short-term that’s a killer).

Here’s a scary stat (courtesy of WEEI’s Chris Price): .842 — Including the postseason, that’s the winning percentage for the Broncos in their last 19 home games against the Patriots (since 1969). Denver is 16-3 in those games.

Yeah, I know. Different year, different players…but still, it has to be on Tom Brady’s mind. He absolutely hates to lose with a passion that is unequaled. I know everyone hates to lose, but he takes it to a new level.  Just a few weeks back he was pounding the ground in anguish when he was sacked and felt it was his fault…and the Patriots won that game easily!

The fire in Tom Brady after getting pulled down in 36-7 win over the Dolphins (photo: Darren Mccollester/Getty Images
The fire in Tom Brady after getting pulled down in 36-7 win over the Dolphins (photo: Darren McCollester/Getty Images

Why The Patriots Should Win

Despite the advantages the Broncos have, as listed above, the Patriots are still favored, although by a very slim margin…and the reasons are:

  • Tom Brady vs Brock Osweiler (No Brainer)

Brady showed his emotion repeatedly in last weeks win against the Bills, and his teammates would rather not face his wrath two weeks in a row.

“I was pretty agitated all night,” Brady told WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan Show, via Boston.com. “For three hours and 20 minutes, I was pretty agitated.”

James White had two TDs against the Bills despite limited touches (Photo: Fansided.com)
James White had two TDs against the Bills despite limited touches (Photo: Fansided.com)
  • More action from James White, who was clutch despite limited touches, in last week’s win over Buffalo. His snap count should increase with a reduction in touches by LeGarrette Blount.
  • The offensive line has to be better (couldn’t be any worse) as the walking wounded continue to return and the revolving door slows down. The Patriots have used 25 offensive line combinations this season, most in the NFL (Mike Reiss)
  • Bill Belichick vs Gary Kubiack (Another No Brainer)
  • Rob Gronkowski is due to have a breakout game. Denver now has Vernon Davis, who had his best game of the year last week, and Gronk won’t take kindly to being outplayed on national TV

Both teams are looking forward to this one. Here are a few pre-game quotes from the Bronco’s camp:

“It will be fun—Sunday Night Football, undefeated team coming in. It will be a lot of fun. It’s great playing against [Patriots QB] Tom [Brady], though. He’s a great competitor.”
– Broncos CB Aqib Talib

They’re really physical. Their defensive line—they’ve been causing a lot of chaos for quarterbacks. They’ve been getting to the quarterbacks. I think [Patriots DE] Chandler Jones  is over 10 sacks at this point in the year. I think they just play extremely hard. They know their scheme inside and out and they execute their scheme.”
Broncos QB Brock Osweiler

Prediction

Patriots squeak out a tough win and go to 11-0

Patriots 21 Broncos 17

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New England Patriots: The Survival Of The Best Coached Team In The NFL

The NFL is a game of attrition and teams know that coming into every season. It’s not shocking when players start going down…and it happens to everyone. Some teams use injuries as an excuse and fall by the wayside. The best teams use a step-up mentality and overcome the adversity.
Dion Lewis went down for the season in the win against Washington (Photo Patriots.com David Silverman)
Dion Lewis went down for the season in the win against Washington (Photo Patriots.com David Silverman)

 Survival Of The Best Coached

Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia and Bill Belichick ( Photo: salemnews.com)
Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia and Bill Belichick ( Photo: salemnews.com)

To this point in the 2015 season the New England Patriots, with arguably the best coaching staff in the NFL,  have clearly  taken the second approach, and it has paid off with a 9-0 record.

All NFL teams are forced to  dig into their back-ups, make trades or move players around to help fill the holes created… and New England has done that with the best of them.  What seems to be the biggest difference between the Patriots and most other teams is (drum roll please) they always seem ready for everything, and that, my friends (I hope) is  all about coaching.

Bill Belichick has always liked players with versatility and, in  2015, it has paid off. As injuries piled up we’ve seen players we never heard of (alright, maybe a slight exaggeration) playing positions they  never played in the NFL!

  1. Offensive lineman goes down – plug-in a tight end
  2. Wide receiver out for a while, go to two and three TE sets and throw in the next man up
  3. Defensive line struggling against the run, adjust the personnel package

Doing It Again

Julian Edelman is out with a broken foot ala Dez Bryant of the Cowboys (Photo: Julie Jacobson/AP))
Julian Edelman is out with a broken foot ala Dez Bryant of the Cowboys (Photo: Julie Jacobson/AP))

So now the Patriots face another hurdle. How do you replace the unique qualities of Julian Edelman? The simple answer is: you don’t! Fans are once again bringing up names (remember Reggie Wayne?) of players who may be available. It’s time to take a deep breath and let Mr. Belichick and his staff do their thing.

Danny Amendola (Feature Photo: Patriots.com David Silverman) has played his best football since becoming a Patriot. No, he doesn’t play the slot, as Edelman does, but here’s where coaching steps in again. The ability to change on the fly has been unbelievable this season…and the Patriots will do it again.

Brandon LaFell is hard to take down once he has the ball (Photo Patriots.com David Silverman)
Brandon LaFell is hard to take down once he has the ball (Photo Patriots.com David Silverman)

Brandon LaFell is back close to 100%, Gronkowski is…well, Gronk, Scott Chandler needs to step up and make catches he’s supposed to (Chandler has just 13 catches for 137 yards and two TDs this season), Keshawn Martin is about ready to come back and has looked good in his short tenure and it’s time to fish or cut bait for Aaron Dobson.

Will The Patriots Still Roll Over Opponents?

Quick answer, probably not. To expect the team offense to continue to perform at their current level minus an offensive line (which returns some bodies this week, thank God), Dion Lewis and Julian Edelman is completely unrealistic. Yes, Tom Brady is Tom Brady, but you could start to see his frustration Sunday against the Giants.

He’ll move on, but his comfort level of always having Edelman there when things aren’t going right won’t be the same with Amendola.  He made that plain in this weeks press conference when he said “ Julian Edelmans just aren’t sitting out on the street or else they’d be playing for another team” As Mike Reiss quoted in an article on ESPNBoston.

Lewis had added something this area hasn’t seen since the days of Curtis Martin, an elusive running back who made tacklers miss. James White and Brandon Bolden don’t come close to filling that role.

Can The Injuries Continue To Pile Up

By December there are very few bodies that aren’t battered and bruised. Most players accept it and are able to play through the pain. Many  just can’t because of the severity of their injuries.

You also have the rookies, who hit a wall around game 12.  No sir, the NFL isn’t quite like college!

  • The intensity is higher (it’s a job now)
  • The players are better and more physical
  • The speed of the game is about twice what anyone saw or played against at their alma mater
  • …and you play more games

So, logic says there may be more decisions to be made as the second half of the season rolls along. Don’t hang me here, but 16-0 may be unachievable, yet, looking at the rest of the NFL the New England Patriots are still the Super Bowl favorites.

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New England Patriots: Chris Harper moving up Wide Receiver Depth Chart

With injuries tearing down the Patriots wide receiver depth chart undrafted rookie free agent Chris Harper has been working his way up the depth chart. Harper has played well so far this season not only as a receiver but also as a return man on special teams. We all know Bill Belichick loves versatility in his players and with Harper showing his ability to do multiple things on the field

via www.heraldnews.com
via http://www.heraldnews.com

Harper has been receiving a lot of snaps with injuries to Edelman, LaFell, Dobson and Tyms and so far has made the most of his opportunities. It seems very likely that Brian Tyms is going to end up on the season ending injured reserve and Brandon LaFell possibly starting the year on the physically unable to perform list and Aaron Dobson battling yet another injury the Patriots receiver depth chart would take a hit and need players to step up, and Harper could be that player. Through two preseason games Harper has tallied 12 receptions for 117 yards and one touchdown as well as averaging 10.7 yards per punt return and 23.8 yards per kickoff return.

via blog.masslive.com
via blog.masslive.com

Though it is just preseason and can never take anything into full effect Harper has gained the attention of coaches and players with his increase of snaps and production. The first preseason game third year man Josh Boyce was the main target for Jimmy Garoppolo, week two it was Harper who edged out Boyce on both offense and special teams. Boyce was not targeted at all on offense and didn’t receive any returns on special teams and I believe didn’t see a single snap in Friday’s win against the Saints. With the lack of depth the Patriots currently have at wide receiver the fact that Boyce didn’t receive a snap goes to show that New England doesn’t see him in their plans for 2015 and maybe the future. Harper seemed to have taken Boyce’s shot at the 53rd roster spot and will continue to fight for his spot over the next few weeks of practice and preseason. I would love to see Harper make the final 53 man roster with how he has played so far this preseason and wouldn’t want to risk losing him by placing him on the practice squad. I think the Patriots receiving corps should look like Edelman LaFell, Amendola, Dobson, and Harper, if all are healthy. Harper may not always be active or see a lot of playing time but keeping him on the roster would get him experience and playing time in practice as well as not risk losing him to another team by placing him on the practice squad.

New England Patriots: Lots Of Questions, Few Answers

We’ve now reached the halfway point in the pre-season (1-1) after the Patriots defeated the New Orleans Saints 26-24 Saturday night behind Jimmy Garoppolo…and few of the Patriots questions have been answered. Let’s take a quick look at where the team stands as regular season quickly (yes, I’m smiling) approaches.

Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo leads Pats to comeback win vs The Saint (Photo: Keith Nordstrom/NewEnglandPatriots.Com)
Jimmy Garoppolo leads Pats to comeback 26-24 win vs The Saint (Photo: Keith Nordstrom/Patriots.Com)

The jury is still out (oops, bad choice of words there) on Jimmy G. At times he looks like the QB of the future. Saturday night’s scramble leading to a TD pass as the 1st half wound down is an example of him at his best. Unfortunately, in the same game, his interception was an obvious mistake that hopefully he will learn from. As highlighted in the Patriots.com post game Game Notes– “When he came in to replace Tom Brady he executed a two-minute drill prior to halftime and completed 5-of-5 passes for 65 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown pass to WR Chris Harper.

Patriot fans need to take a step away from the immediacy of the team need (re: Brady possible suspension) and realize this is just his second year in the NFL. Very few QBs are instant successes and the growing pains can be frustrating for both the player and the rabid team followers.

“Last week the pressure got to me a little bit, and it’s never good to get sacked or hit that many times,”

Defensive Secondary

The only things that seem certain at this stage are:

  • All the worry when the Patriots lost Revis Island, Kyle Arrington and Brandon Browner was justified
  • Malcolm Butler still seems like the real thing. His limited play in the pre-season games is an indication Head Coach Bill Belichick has seen enough of him in practice to feel confident in him and needs to look at others in game situations. How things have changed for Butler since “the play”, going from a question mark that others gave up on to the Patriots best corner!
  • CB Tarell Brown made his Patriots debut after missing the first preseason game against Green Bay with mixed results
  • Devin McCourty, an above average safety, is a below average CB. He has acknowledged he isn’t comfortable at his old position.

Commenting on his play Saturday night in New Orleans he was honest (tsk, tsk, a Patriot player actually saying something) when he said “It didn’t feel great and I don’t think it looked great.” He also acknowledged he doesn’t have much say in where he plays “You can’t control where you play. Everyone’s playing a position for the team, and overall, what’s best for the team. I don’t think what you think or feel matters.”

Devin McCourty breaks up a pass intended for Brandon Coleman in the first half of Pats win (Bill Feig-AP)

Offensive Line

  • Like last season at this time, the offensive line is still a work in progress. The return of Sebastion Volmer and Nate Solder to game shape will give rookies Shaq Mason and Tre’ Jackson a chance to breathe as they adapt to the speed of the NFL.  Neither Mason nor Jackson has yet made that step-up expected of them, but give them time as both show promise and are still learning the game at a whole new level. The hope is that the unit jells as the season progresses, as they did in 2014.
  • Saturday night rookie free agent David Andrews made his second straight start at center

Receiving Depth

Chris Harper against the Saints (Photo: Keith Nordstrom/Patriots.com)
Chris Harper against the Saints (Photo: Keith Nordstrom/Patriots.com)
  • With wide receivers dropping like flies my early optimism for this year is quickly getting clouded with question marks. Brandon LaFell still hasn’t played a down, Brian Tyms may be out for the season with a foot injury, Aaron Dobson’s return to health was an illusion, Josh Boyce continues to shine in practice and disappear at game time. Key players (Julian Edelman-injury/Rob Gronkowski/Scott Chandler-injury) continue to watch from the sidelines, so it is hard to have a true evaluation of just how strong/weak the Pats are, but rookie Chris Harper has taken the ball and run with it in their absence. Seven year veteran Brandon Gibson has looked good, but also was injured late in the game.

The depth looks so bad now that Mike Reiss wrote in his Sunday columnIf (Kenbrell)Thompkins doesn’t stick with the Raiders, I could see the Patriots having interest in his return” In addition the Pats reportedly brought Reggie Wayne in for a physical (read my Reggie Wayne article written just before Training Camp)

There’s more, but that’s enough for now to keep fans thinking. No panic, but concern, is in the air. Just keep thinking, Bill Belichick is the best Head Coach in the NFL and he finds ways to win. That’s a fact that can’t be denied.

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New England Patriots: The Battle For Fourth Wide Receiver Is Heating Up In Foxborough

458918699-wide-receiver-aaron-dobson-of-the-new-gettyimages

Going into training camp this year, the New England Patriots were set to have a battle for the number four wide receiver spot between Aaron Dobson and Brian Tyms. Now that the team is almost three weeks into training camp, the battle has turned into a multiple player fight for that ever so important roster spot. A multitude of players have emerged and some have re-established themselves as candidates for the roster.

Throughout the first stretch of training camp, Aaron Dobson was one player that raised eyebrows. After finally having a healthy offseason, Dobson showed how healthy he was by making diving catches and jumping over defenders for the ball. It helps that fellow receiver Brandon LaFell has started camp on the physically unable to perform list, giving a lot of the reps with Tom Brady and company to Dobson. However, Dobson has yet again been slowed down by the injury bug as of late. He has since returned to practice, but other players have now established themselves as candidates for the job.

Brian Tyms has also fought the injury bug so far in camp, but he has also come back and continued to fight for his job. Early on in camp, Tyms saw most of his reps come with Jimmy Garoppolo and the second team offense. Now, he is seeing time with Tom Brady and the starters from time to time. Tyms looks like he has worked on his ability to be a more diverse route runner, as opposed to being able to just run go routes. At times however, he has looked a bit sluggish.

during the 2014 AFC Divisional Playoffs game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

For example, on Monday he was not looking for the ball on a short crossing pattern when Tom Brady fired the ball right into his chest. The ball bounced out of his hands and into the arms of Dont’a Hightower. He is sporting the red non-contact jersey so I wouldn’t expect to see him in action on Thursday’s game against the Packers.

Josh Boyce has to be the biggest surprise of training camp thus far. After spending his second season on the practice squad, not many thought that Boyce would have much of a chance of making the roster. Nevertheless, the 2013 fourth-round pick is proving the doubters wrong and showing that he belongs in the National Football League.

He has never been able to gain the trust of Tom Brady, however slowly but surely it looks as if Brady is becoming more and more comfortable with him. This was never more evident than on Monday when Boyce toasted rookie cornerback Darryl Roberts for a sixty-yard touchdown reception from Tom Brady. Boyce has consistently beat Roberts this summer. We will truly see how much Boyce has progressed in preseason games when the bright lights come on.

Furthermore, unknowns such as Jonathan Krause and un-drafted rookie Chris Harper have tried to make a name for themselves with the injuries in camp. Krause has had his fair share of troubles, but he has pro-level experience and more experience in the Patriots system.

Harper is a small wide receiver at 5-11, 185 pounds, however he can fly down the field and runs crisp routes. At times last week when Dobson, Edelman, and Tyms were all out of practice Harper saw plenty of time with the first team offense, and he was fairly impressive. He wasn’t intimidated by playing along side of Tom Brady.

In conclusion, the fourth wide receiver spot on the New England Patriots is for sure one of the most competitive battles in training camp this summer. Multiple players are fighting for jobs on the roster, therefore those players will need to prevail during preseason competitions and during joint practices next week against the Saints. In the end, I still believe that Aaron Dobson will win the job because he has the highest ceiling and he is finally starting to show it.