As part of NFL Network's Inside Training Camp Live program, analyst Mike Mayock shared his thoughts on the Patriots.
On joint practices with the Eagles. “The best football practices I’ve ever seen in my life at any level where I think two years ago [when] New Orleans went to New England. Same scenario and they practiced together for two or three days prior to the preseason game. I was there for both days, I watched tape in between practices and I have never seen more intense but clean practices in my life. [It’s] an opportunity for the quarterbacks to get in quality work against defenses [where it’s] a new scheme [and] new players without any kind of realistic injury threat. What that means in the preseason game [is] you don’t even have to play your 1s because they’ve been going against another team’s 1s all week. I’m really excited this week to watch Tom Brady against this Eagles defense, to see how the Eagles quarterbacks fare against that young Patriots defense. The way it works is individual and install the teams stay by themselves, but when they go 1-on-1, 7-on-7 and team, they compete against each other. It’s really awesome.”
On the makeup of the Patriots' offense with all the changes. “I think anybody who will tell you that they know the answer to that is lying, because I don’t. Out of that whole equation, the only thing I know is that if Danny Amendola stays healthy, Tom Brady is going to love him. When teams bring pressure, every quarterback in the league loves a guy that wins quickly, and that’s what Wes Welker was; he was a matchup nightmare and he could win out of the slot quickly. That’s what Amendola will do. Outside of Amendola, there are a bunch of question marks. The guy I would like to see develop is the rookie second-rounder Aaron Dobson. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s fast but he’s also raw. He’s the kind of guy I think Tom Brady will try to develop, especially outside the numbers and in the red zone. The run game [is] sneaky good; they were No. 7 in run offense a year ago and I think they have to continue to pound the rock. Don’t discount their tempo; every team in the league is playing with tempo mostly because of what [Bill] Belichick did with Chip Kelly’s information last year, and Tom Brady did a great job with it.”
On if the Patriots have the personnel to improve their pass defense. “The back end is connected to the front end. It’s not just about the defensive backs and for a lot of years New England hasn’t had anybody up front that could win consistently one-on-one. So they’ve had to scheme guys open through blitz. Now, I think they have two players that can win on their own. Chandler Jones, the first-round pick a year ago, when healthy I think he’s a difference maker. And then this year’s second0round pick who a lot of people don’t know much about, Jamie Collins from Southern Miss, is a guy who can make a difference 1-on-1 coming off the edge. If those two guys can develop – they’re young guys but they’re talented – it will make things a little bit easier on the back end. Don’t forget, they re-signed Aqib Talib. I loved the signing of Adrian Wilson; he’s an aging veteran but he’s smart, tough and he’ll set a tone in the secondary. I would expect that they’re going to be a little more solid both in their pressure game and also on the back end.”