ESPN analyst and former New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi senses trouble with his old team.
In a video for ESPNBoston.com, Bruschi says the Patriots "are slowly losing their grip on their AFC East crown" because of injuries and the prolonged absence of unsigned Pro Bowl left guard Logan Mankins.
"Training camp started off on the wrong foot with the holdout of Logan Mankins," Bruschi says. "The Nick Kaczur at left guard experiment ended badly with a severely injured back. Now losing Ty Warren to a season-ending hip injury will have a ripple effect along that entire defense.
"The New York Jets and Miami Dolphins are among the most physical teams in the NFL. The Patriots' front-line depth is a huge question mark. They're down to their third-string left guard. Steve Neal is at right guard, and he has a history of injuries. Along the defensive line you now have Damione Lewis and Gerard Warren, who have very limited experience in this 3-4 defense.
"You want an answer to some of those questions? Pay Mankins."
To underscore Bruschi's take, ESPNBoston.com reporter Mike Reiss provided a look at the projected depth chart along both lines of scrimmage.