1. Anyone who’s watched Tom Brady and Cam Newton play knows they’re two completely different quarterbacks. Newton enjoys playing with his feet, while Brady is purely a return passer. Just looking at the training camp practices of the past two weeks, these differences are quite clear, but two other differences have emerged. Julian Edelman’s comments on the Greg Hill Show Friday stood out. Edelman was asked to work with Newton, especially when the two are not on the same page with something. “I think it’s an open forum with him,” he says. “” Hey, what do you see here, what do you see over there. “I also played a lot of football in this league, and he played football a lot. It’s more of a team – ‘What do you see here? I think here is this, that. It’s kinda cool, I Guess. With Brady it was always more what he wanted and what he believed in. Another thing that got noticed is the way Newton approaches the media in relation to Brady. With Brady it was cliché afterwards cliché and very rarely anything really learned. Often times you had to try to read between the lines to understand exactly how Brady felt. Newton is the exact opposite as he is extremely genuine and shows personality. This week Newton was interviewed on the state of the country and he gave a long, thoughtful and real answer. This would never have happened with Brady, as he often avoided giving a real opinion / thoughtful answer when it came to things outside of football Nobody expected the two to be the same ticks, but these are two big differences that should continue to show up throughout the season.
2. While quarterback competition is what everyone wants to talk about with the Patriots, running back competition is the real deal. With Sony Michel coming out of PUP this week, Damien Harris, Rex Burkhead and Michel are all competing for litters. Harris made the most of his increased reps with Michel sidelined, proving he deserved to play after just two games last season. He’s more like Burkhead with his ability to make cuts, as well as catch passes out of the backfield. From our perspective, Harris should have the opportunity to come back on top, but we won’t really know until Week 1 against Miami.
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3. N’Keal Harry is one of the most intriguing players on the Patriots roster. One word to describe it over the past two weeks has been inconsistent. He missed a few practices, struggled on his return day, and then had two of his best practices at training camp on two consecutive days. The second-year offshore made several good catches on balls and then on throws in the back. Clearly he has the talent, it’s just a matter of bringing it all together every day. It’s also worth noting that several Patriots defensive backs appeared to be able to get under their skin with trash talk this week. We’ll see if that continues with the opposing defensive backs once the games start.
4. Friday’s “Simulation Game” at Gillette Stadium wasn’t just for players. In fact, it might have been more beneficial for the coaches and support staff. Everything that happened during a match was in place, including coaches using headsets, coaches looking at tablets between sets, noise from the crowd as well as music playing inside the stadium, even players receiving water on the touchline and on the pitch during time-outs. In the absence of preseason games, there won’t be a chance to practice any of these things until Week 1, so that made a lot of sense.
5. One player who has done a lot for himself over the past week is safety Terrence Brooks. He did a number of plays in the high school and had a strong run to earn a potential starting role at the post. Another thing that helps his cause is Adrian Phillips not being on the pitch at all. We will see how it goes.
6. Two positions to keep an eye out for the next lineups that will be cut next weekend are the tight end and the wide receiver. The Patriots will certainly keep an eye out for players released to those positions in the league and might add a couple of them, especially at the tight end when there are really only rookies in the mix, with Ryan Izzo. Also, don’t rule out a potential trade to add a veteran to either of these locations.
7. The Sunday afternoon practice will be the last session fully open to media this year. Starting Monday, it will be a regular season setup where the media will only be allowed to see the first few minutes of practice, which is just enough to take participation. The Patriots, and all other NFL teams, will have to reduce their squad to 53 players by 4 p.m. Saturday.
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