The third game of preseason is always the best its the game where most coaches play the starters into the 3rd quarter to get them in the swing of making adjustments at halftime and other things. It also means time is running out for undrafted rookies , players on the bubble , unproven guys and the pierre woods erik alexanders of the world. Cut day is coming first it is from 80 to 75 then from 75 to 53 those are some weird jumps. So lets look at some camp battles at some positions this has been one of the most competitive camps in a long long time.
1. Left guard .
This position unfortunetly opened up due to logan mankins temper tantrum holdout which will last till at least week 10 if not all season. The pats had kazcur getting ready to fill in for Mankins which at first thought would have been more then good enough to win, i like mankins he is a road grader in run blocking but lets face it he was average at best as a pass protector. Then the injury bug struck kaczur with a serious back injury that has rumored to require back surgery putting the season in doubt for him. So in comes Dan Connelly a player that has been on the pats a few seasons shuffling between the practice squad and roster . With dantes coaching and connellys hard work i think he can get the job done at lg this season not to mankins level but good enough to get the job done and brady alive. players competing for the job : ryan wendell , newly aquired Quinn Ojinnaka and Brian simmons.
2. Outside Linebacker
This is the worry position for the patriots in 2010 at least for most patriot fans can any of the OLB on the roster provide enough of a pass rush? The starters figure to be Tully Banta Cain and Derrick Burgess those are my best guesses as of today. Now lets begin with Tully dont get me wrong i like him on our team i think he is a great role player and great motor player i just dont like him as a starter i think last years 10 sack season was a mirage with 7 of them in 3 games and 3 of them in 13 games. He is not a OLB teams gameplan for he is a high motor role player forced into a starters role. Burgess came on in the late stages of last season showing improvement vs the run and pass but i think again he is a stop gap option a "jag" type player. Hopefully after missing on young guys like crable BB has found a olb in jermaine cunningham he is learning a new position so who knows how fast he can start to play. options for OLB banta cain burgess cunningham ninkovich woods murrell. i think BB uses the strengths of most of these players and plugs them into roles that help the team win.
There are going to be a lot of battles for position in the secondary this year most will probably make the roster but how many defensive snaps for each is still up for grabs. My guess for the starters is Bodden and butler as the cbs and new pro bowler in merriweather and fast riser patrick chung as the safetys . fightting for cb3 position is mcourty wheatly whilhite and i dont think its much of a fight mcourty has played himself into number 3 and really might push butler for cb2 real early. The biggest question is how many cb's they keep wheatley whilhite and arrington are fighting for spots my belief is all these guys make the team. At the safety position sanders and macgowan are great backups but could one of them be cut to save a roster spot for someone else????
In summary i think this team is a lot younger and faster and has a lot of young players battling for positions which i think is awesome there are going to be some real tough cuts and some real good football players are going to get cut. feel free to discuss my opinions.