Patriots safety Patrick Chung (25) leaps for an interception during an OTA practice on May 27, 2009 at Gillette Stadium.
I think the reason Chung is expected to have a greater impact is twofold. First, according to Coach Belichick he comes from a very complex, diverse pro-style defense at Oregon in which he played a key role for his entire career. He’s already done a lot of things he could be asked to do in the pros. He also has great experience making calls and adjustment in that scheme. But maybe more importantly the Patriots don’t have a ton of depth at safety. Beyond projected starters James Sanders and Brandon Meriweather there isn’t a lot there. Chung will be competing with returning injured veteran Tank Williams, newcomer Brandon McGowan who missed nearly all of last season in Chicago with an injury and special teams ace Ray Ventrone. Chung could easily be the team’s third safety and that would likely equate to significant reps on defense in Belichick’s multiple defensive back sets.
Butler, on the other hand, faces far more competition at corner with veterans like Leigh Bodden and Shawn Springs as well as returning sophomores Terrence Wheatley and Jonathan Wilhite. Butler could have a nice preseason and still be the team’s fifth corner. In fact his greatest chance to contribute may come on special teams. In the end finding a role for yourself is as much about who’s ahead of you on the depth chart as it is about a player’s own development. Just ask Matt Cassel.
Well, the Patriots figure to nurse Brady into playing shape this summer, but Bill Belichick has bigger concerns. Can Laurence Maroney prove he's durable enough to hold off ex-Jaguar Fred Taylor at running back? Maroney has been full of excuses the last couple of seasons, but his shoulder should finally be healthy. And what happens if LB Tedy Bruschi retires or simply slows down? Yes, Jerod Mayo is very good, but Bruschi knows the system. The bottom line is that New England's defense, particularly the secondary, is in full transition.
Czar's Prediction: The Patriots barely win the AFC East and Brady falls well short of 50 touchdown passes.
- The Hall at Patriot Place Speaker Series will feature Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Tippett on July 24.
- Ask PFW: Crawling toward Training Camp.
- Erik Scalavino lists the Patriots Greatest Hits as players recall the hardest hits they've delivered or received.
- Andy Hart talks with Patriots players about their tatoos.
- Christopher Price looks at five position battles we'll be watching when Training Camp opens next week.
- Mike Reiss offers a snapshot of the Patriots at CB position leading up to Training Camp.
- Mike Reiss presents a Patriots rookie draft-pick chart, with the plan to keep updating it as draft picks come to terms.
- Mike Reiss details a few nuggets on the Patriots' scouting and coaching staff that were previously unaccounted for.
- Jeff Howe looks at the Patriots' AFC East competition and doesn't think the Miami Dolphins can repeat as division champs.
- Mike Reiss answers his weekly reader mailbag. Lots of good insight here as usual.
- Shalise Manza Young considers a few teams that might sign Michael Vick and says the Patriots are not one of them.
- Jessica Isner reports that Sir Elton John, friend of Bob and Myra Kraft, will serve as Patriots' honorary captain when the Patriots take on Tampa Bay at Wembley Stadium on Oct. 25. Good grief.
- Jamie Dukes (NFL.com) Belichick's fascination with 'Wildcat' could help Vick. His what????
- Don Banks (SI) Franchise QBs: Four NFL teams feel they've found their saviors.
- AP NFL Notebook: Roethlisberger named in lawsuit; Goodell silent on Vick's status; J.P. Losman signs with UFL team.
- Mike Florio (Pro Football Talk) Goodell "will look into" Roethlisberger allegations.
- Mike Florio (Pro Football Talk) Last word on ESPN's civil lawsuit policy.