Training camp has come and gone for the Patriots’ 2022 rookies, and the rest of the team has followed as of Wednesday, July 27th, 2022. Within training camp, there will not only be efforts to improve the team’s chemistry and skill level but also several battles for roster spots and starting spots.
Three key members of the Patriots, center David Andrews, running back James White, and cornerback Jonathan Jones enter camp on the Patriots’ PUP list. While they can come back at any time, they will not participate in the opening practices of the training camp. Their absence will undoubtedly hurt the Patriots’ roster (although all of these injuries should be temporary). Still, it could also open up avenues for players to get critical reps they wouldn’t ordinarily have.
How Does James White’s Absence Impact Camp?
James White has been a critical piece in the New England offense as a versatile, agile player who can both catch and run. His injury troubles have plagued him, though, and he was out most of last year and will therefore be taking his time to come back. White is one of the weapons Mac Jones has had the least time to coordinate with, so having White all of camp would have been useful. Hopefully, if White can slowly but surely come back by preseason time, there can still be essential reps there.
In a messy running back picture for the Patriots that includes Damien Harris, Pierre Strong, Rhamondre Stevenson, JJ Taylor, and Kevin Harris already, White’s absence, at least temporarily, gives a chance for others to get meaningful reps. One of the more prominent beneficiaries is free agent RB Ty Montgomery, who is on the fringe of the roster picture, and occupies a similar skillset of hybrid passing-catching ability (albeit with less NFL success than White), along with experience returning kicks.
Ultimately, missing a week or two of practice won’t be the determining factor of how much playing time White gets, but it’s hard to tell at 30 years old how White will come back, and regardless, more reps will help other running backs get on the map.
How Does The Absence Of David Andrews Affect Camp?
David Andrews has been one of the critical pieces of the Patriots’ offensive line and has started at center since 2015. While he has been a very reliable lineman for the Patriots and has taken on very high snap counts, the 30-year-old has had some issues with injuries, from a pulmonary embolism in 2019 to a thumb injury in 2020. With an offensive line already in flux with the loss of Shaq Mason and the drafting of G Cole Strange, Andrews would have been a valuable piece to have in camp.
With his experience, some time away from practice won’t threaten his starting spot. However, with his injury-prone career, it will be necessary for backup center James Ferentz and rookie Kody Russey to get acquainted with the system. This will allow them to get more meaningful reps while Andrews finishes recovering.
How Does The Absence Of Jonathan Jones Affect Camp?
Jonathan Jones had significant reps for the Patriots last season, and his intelligence and ability to chase the ball are helpful for the team. However, after a poor showing from the defense at the tail end of last year, it is critical for the defense to get a complete set of training camp reps so that this absence could hurt the secondary.
However, arguably, of these three, Jones is the one with the most tenuous grasp on a starting role. This likely creates a bigger opening for corners looking to get a significant role in the Patriots’ offense. As a result, Jack Jones, Malcolm Butler, and Terrance Mitchell, arguably the main competitors with Jones for a starting spot (assuming that Jalen Mills has his spot secured), will gain more meaningful reps and can potentially seal their fate in the lineup with a good training camp here.
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