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Problems in Paradise
Earlier this week it was reported that Patriots star receiver Julian Edelman had a second surgery on his foot. Edelman was seen wearing a walking boot in the Patriots locker room. We all know how important the former college quarterback is to the Patriots offense. Is there cause for concern when it comes to the soon to be 30-year-old player? The simple answer is no. While some reports say a screw was reinserted into the foot, others say it was just a clean out. Edelman will be on the field come the start of training camp, but the Patriots would be wise to keep him out of preseason action. Jules is too important to what the Patriots do to risk an injury in a meaningless practice game. Sure if Tom Brady’s suspension is ultimately served this season the added reps with temporary Patriots starter Jimmy Garopollo would be important, but the Patriots will think long term on this. There is a reason to believe that the Pats will take the cautious approach as they have done so in the past with Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Rob Gronkowski.
Summer of Gronk
Speaking of Gronkowski, he was named the Madden cover athlete for the Madden 17 video game. The Madden Curse was one of the first things that many people brought up. I saw one tweet saying “Gronkowski is on the cover of Madden, in other news his season is over.” I don’t believe this statement at all. While there have been some players that have gone down with injuries in the past after landing on the cover, Mike Vick comes to mind, Calvin Johnson had the finest season a receiver has ever had when he graced the cover. Gronk will be his normal self, and this is just another clog in the Gronkowski hype machine. If there is any dip in Gronk’s numbers this year, I would expect it to come because of how well new tight end Martellus Bennett fits into the offense and not because of a fictional curse.
At the end of the 2014 season, the Patriots signed Dion Lewis to a futures contracts. The move was a success as he was great in the Patriots offense until he went down with a torn ACL last year against the Washington Redskins. The Patriots did not draft a running back in this year’s draft, and many see it as a confidence boost for both Lewis and LeGarrette Blount. In my eyes, both players are risky options. Blount who signed a one year team friendly deal will most likely be the thunder back for the Pats this season. As for Lewis, his knee injury I believe will severely limit his cutting ability. Lewis was great last year but I am not expecting a return to form, he just puts too much pressure on his knees when he makes the jump cuts. Last year James White did a good job as a receiver filling in for Lewis, but the running game was nowhere to be found. Enter undrafted free agent DJ Foster of Arizona State. He has worked out at running back for the Pats in his early tenure with the team, a position he played at ASU, before moving to slot receiver last season. Foster is the same type of slippery when wet player as Lewis. His combine results of a 6.75 three-cone drill, 4.07 second 20-yard shuttle, and 4.57 second forty yard dash are eerily similar to Lewis. Lewis combine results were 6.90 in the three-cone drill, 4.18 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle and an identical 4.57 second forty. Give a view to his YouTube highlights.
With the drafting of Cyrus Jones, many have said he could move outside after the 2016 season when Logan Ryan most likely leaves via free agency. The player I am looking at is last year’s seventh-round draft pick out of Marshall Darryl Roberts. Roberts was running with the first team defense, and got the first start of the preseason before a wrist injury landed him on injured reserve. Roberts looked very natural at the outside corner position during training camp. From the naked eye of the media tent last season, his hip movement looked extremely fluid which is a good thing for a corner in changing direction and not losing speed. He did not seem to be out of position at all. A full offseason in the Patriots system will undoubtedly help the second year player.
The Return of Scar
Much has been made about the return of Dante Scarnecchia as the Patriots offensive line coach. He was a legend in New England and worked wonders with guys like Stephen Neal, Joe Andruzzi, and Matt Light. His return along with the Patriots not selecting a tackle in the draft have me thinking maybe there is hope for Marcus Cannon after all. Scar had said in the past that Cannon is a starting caliber player. It is not lost on some that Cannon stepped in well in the 2013 season when Sebastian Volmer went down with a season-ending injury. I am also looking to see how LaAdrian Waddle and Jonathan Cooper adjust to his coaching. He should at the very least get everything he can out of them, or break the players trying.