“It’s only minicamp, and it’s only OTA’s, it’s only training camp, it’s only the first preseason game. Why are we even talking about these Patriots events” Are some of the comments fans have about these reaction pieces.
My response is that every shred of information that can be processed from the off-season, preseason, regular & post is worth it. It’s our job to try and bring everything from this team together to produce it for the public. If anyone would like to think that preseason action is unimportant, then so be it, I am not one of those fans.
There are three Patriots players that no one is talking about that stood out to me during this exhibition versus New York. I thought Josh Uche was flying all over the field, showing pressure, tackling players in the flat, and providing great energy for that front seven unit. Joshuah Bledsoe continued his presence near the ball when on the field. Marcus Jones didn’t play against the Giants perhaps telling us exactly what we need to know.
Patriot Have Players Who Need To Show Something
Since being drafted 60th overall in the 2020 draft, Josh Uche has had something to prove; despite not having much playing time in the past, this is the season where the team needs him to step up. Uche seemed to understand his role more than ever during the preseason action against the Giants. He played fast and physical, without the limitation of hesitation. When he does that, he can be a very effective player.
Josh played like he was shot out of a cannon, recording two tackles and a sack against the first unit. It is likely that Uche rotates in, so it’s great to see him gain the upper hand here. Even on the plays where he didn’t record a tackle, he still pushed the pocket. I think he went unnoticed because of the play of the interior linebackers that the team recently acquired.
Uche is fighting for a role on the starting defense, and if he strings together more performances like last week, he should get a bump in playing time. With any luck, he can develop into the player we drafted him to be in the second round.
Late Round Pick Could Improve Patriots’ Secondary
Joshuah Bledsoe is someone I wrote about at the beginning of training camp, and he was constantly around the ball making plays against the first team offense. He recorded one pass break-up during the preseason game and almost intercepted a tipped ball. In addition, he had sticky coverage throughout most of his playing time. The safety room is certainly deep, but his coaches can’t ignore Bledsoe’s play during the entire offseason.
Still, the best chance he has of making the roster is as a nickel cornerback, and it’s a suitable spot with so many players from that group being in flux. Joshuah isn’t going to come in and play like Devin McCourty, but he could be a Duron Harmon-type player for this team. Harmon had a significant role in a Belichick defense, and I can see Bledsoe playing himself into a similar type of role. Bledsoe will definitely have to continue performing as he has to make the final 53.
Patriots Third Round Pick Needs To Have An Impact
Well writing this article New England put two defensive backs on the season ending injured reserve, Malcom Butler and Joejuan Williams will not be adding to this years team. Where is the cornerback production going to come from? Buzz around training camp is that Jalen Mills has been great and Jon Jones looks healthy again but is that enough?
Marcus Jones could be the answer to both questions, although he is undersized he is also lighting quick and shows great crossing speed. He must’ve played well enough for him to be sat, all the starters sat as well. Leading us to believe when the defense comes out for the first snaps against Miami in Week One Marcus will be a part of the unit.
Mills and Jonathan Jones can match up on the outside while Marcus can stay in the slot to cover either Waddle or Hill. The Jones’ both have exceptionally long speed as well as sideline to sideline ability which should cover up multiple problems the unit faced last year. There is not a J.C Jackson but overall the room has more speed and athleticism, the Patriots defense could surprise people this year.
I want to cover what other people aren’t, these are the names that haven’t come up as often as maybe they should be. Josh, Joshua, and Marcus all should be able to carve out a role on this defense and help the team regain some past glory. A few honorable mentions to this list are Yodny Cajuste, Ronnie Perkins & Lebryan Ray. The Patriots are going to need players like this to step up in order to have the type of year that us fans want them to have.
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