New England Patriots Who Have Turned Heads in Offseason Workouts
Tom Brady can't do much to turn heads during practice at this point in his career, but some young players and newcomers still have a lot to prove. Spots in the starting lineup, on the 53-man roster and the practice squad are all up for grabs.
Here are five players that have already made a name for themselves this offseason.
Josh Boyce spent the majority of his rookie season on the sidelines or in the training room. He is well on his way to erasing those memories with a solid start to his offseason. Jeff Howe from the Boston Herald explains:
Boyce’s speed and quickness have been apparent during practices, as his footwork and precision have helped him separate at times while he gets in and out of his breaks.
On Thursday, Boyce split the safeties on a post route in the red zone and caught a perfect touchdown pass from Tom Brady, who lofted the ball as Boyce made his cut a couple of steps in front of the defensive pairing. Surely, it’s just a spring practice, but such a connection takes trust and talent from Brady and Boyce. The TCU product also displayed good body control in the air with leaping receptions in the red zone and up the left sideline.
Said offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels: 'He’s really put in the time and the effort to put himself in position to compete and really put his best performance on the field. It’s exciting, and we’re glad he’s healthy. He’s in good shape. He’s out there doing a lot of different things, and we’ll see what happens this year.'
Unless injuries strike the receiving corps, Boyce will likely be—at best—the fourth receiver behind Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Aaron Dobson. If he continues to build his connection with Brady, however, No. 12 can be a pretty powerful lobbyist with the coaching staff.
Boyce has also been seen doing work on return units, further solidifying his role with the team.
After losing Aqib Talib to the Denver Broncos, the New England Patriots put all their eggs—and quite a bit of their money—in Darrelle Revis' basket. As long as he brings his shutdown corner skill set, it will be money well spent.
Jeff Howe and the rest of the crew at the Boston Herald have been taking care of customs at Revis Island during OTAs.
Neither Tom Brady nor Ryan Mallett threw a single pass in Revis' direction, according to Karen Guregian, who watched Revis like a hawk, and the Patriots can expect a lot of that out of their opponents' quarterbacks in 2014. It was a little more difficult to monitor Revis during yesterday's workout, but if he got beat (or even targeted), it wasn't spotted from this perspective.
It sounds like Revis is playing up to his potential in anticipation of what amounts to a contract year. A healthy Revis, paired with Devin McCourty, is the foundation for one of—if not the—best secondaries in the NFL.
Undrafted free-agent running backs often find a home in New England. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead and Brandon Bolden each have found playing time and some success in Foxboro. Roy Finch is trying to be the next one in line.
Nick Underhill from MassLive.com has taken a keen interest in Finch during OTAs. "[U]ndrafted rookie running back Roy Finch has also had some nice moments. He’s very small, but he has good burst and knows how to find holes. He’s looked good returning kicks."
Like Woodhead, Finch will have to make a name for himself on special teams and third down if he wants to make the roster.
No fan of the New England Patriots likes to hear Tom Brady has thrown an interception. Hearing it was a prized free agent that did the deed, however, softens the blow. Jeff Howe from the Boston Herald has the gory details:
Browner intercepted a deep Brady pass later in the workout during 11-on-11 drills, and the 6-foot-4 corner sticks out much more because he resembles the size of the Gillette Stadium lighthouse. Browner, of course, should be the beneficiary of Revis' lockdown abilities, and that might theoretically help him lead the Patriots in interceptions.
As Howe mentions, anyone playing opposite Revis is going to get a lot of targets. Browner, Logan Ryan and Alfonzo Dennard will need to be on point if they are going to survive the season.
One positive outcome for the corners opposite Revis is that they should have plenty of safety help. Browner excels at the line of scrimmage in press, but the longer the play goes the more help he'll need.
With Brandon Spikes and Dane Fletcher playing elsewhere in 2014, the New England Patriots are in dire need of linebacker depth.
After playing only one snap in 2013, second-year Rutgers alum Steve Beauharnais is poised to add some responsibilities in 2014. Mike Reiss from ESPN.com has been very impressed with his leadership and demeanor in OTAs.
Something that stood out to me late in practice was second-year linebacker Steve Beauharnais leading the defensive huddle with authority in 11-on-11 drills. I watched him put his hands on a teammate after barking out the play-call in a take-charge type of manner. Beaurharnais, the seventh-round pick from Rutgers, is a candidate to elevate into a Dane Fletcher-type reserve role in 2014.
Newcomers James Anderson and Josh Hull, along with incumbents Chris White and Ja'Gared Davis will compete with Beauharnais for the first linebacker off the bench.
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