Earlier this week, ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss made these observations at Patriots OTAs:
In seven-on-seven drills, [Mike] Jenkins couldn't corral a Tom Brady pass and it was intercepted by safety Steve Gregory. That play seemed to be a reflection of what we have seen overall in these OTAs -- the passing offense remains a work in progress and the defense is a step ahead. [Aaron] Dobson later had a drop as well...there were two more pass breakups for third-year cornerback Ras-I Dowling, who has shown up multiple times this spring.
These observations bring several curious points to mind.
For one thing, New England's defense has been their short straw for years now, while their offense has been something of a saving grace. It's intriguing to see a role reversal here, even though it's only June. It's a fascinating storyline for Patriots fans to follow.
Naturally, the current struggles on offense are to be expected, as this new batch of ball-catchers experience their growing pains. Still though, it's nice to see the team's defense gaining a little swagger out there on the field. It's a great sign of increased balance on both sides of the ball, which is essential for a successful championship run.
The early observations from OTAs also reveal some immediate gaps for the Patriots to start thinking about. There are still plenty of available free agents who can help the Patriots fill those gaps.
Here are five players they should contact.