clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

New England Patriots Links 5/24/12 - Mid-Offseason Storylines to Ponder for Pats

<em>Will Stevan Ridley be the Patriots starting running back in September?</em>
Will Stevan Ridley be the Patriots starting running back in September?

Christopher Price puts together ten questions for the Patriots at the midway point of the offesason. Here are a couple:

How many wide receivers can one team carry? The Patriots loaded up with defensive linemen before the start of the 2011 season, sifted through who could play and who couldn’t, and left those who couldn’t by the side of the road. It made for a rocky start to the season as the group learned how to play together, but it all came together in the end. New England is doing the same thing at the wide receiver spot this offseason, picking up some familiar faces and some intriguing old faces to go along with a returning cast of characters. Look for at least one veteran to be let go before the start of the season.

Who is going to take over as the lead back now that BenJarvus Green-Ellis is gone? Green-Ellis was a perfect fit for the New England system: cost-efficient, never fumbled, always hit four yards a carry and was fairly durable. In his place, the Patriots will look to a combination of backs, but it will be second-year running back Stevan Ridley who will get every opportunity to lead the way. That’s not to say that the others won’t get their touches -- and you shouldn’t pencil in Ridley for 250-plus carries -- but he’ll be the closest thing to a lead back that the Patriots have to start the season.

Jeff Howe details five things he'll be watching for today at the first media-allowed full-length practice of OTAs. Click on the link for more.

SECONDARY APPROACH: Cornerbacks Devin McCourty and Ras-I Dowling have some positional versatility that can help the Patriots get creative on defense. Granted, a non-contact practice in May will hardly serve as the barometer for their deployment in September, but it’s never too early to get a read on the Patriots’ thought process. That’s not restricted to McCourty and Dowling, either. Coach Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia have some options at cornerback with 2011 NFL interception leader Kyle Arrington, surprise playoff hero Sterling Moore, veteran addition Will Allen and rookie seventh-round pick Alfonzo Dennard.

HEY, ROOKIE: The Patriots spent their first six draft picks on defensive players, but how much will the rookies be entrusted this season? Defensive end Chandler Jones, linebacker Dont’a Hightower and defensive end Jake Bequette could make an immediate impact, while Dennard could be a surprising early contributor if he rises through what is a relatively more difficult depth chart. Then, there’s safety Tavon Wilson, who will draw attention because of his second-round status. Belichick keyed on that side of the ball for a reason, so he’ll want a return on his investment.