I just started to watch 3 Games to Glory IV, the New England Patriots house-produced look at the championship run by the greatest football team of 2015. What I really enjoy about the video is that it spreads out the face time to the depths of the roster. The 2015 Patriots aren't defined by Tom Brady or Bill Belichick or Rob Gronkowski or Darrelle Revis, even though they might be the most recognizable figures.
The Patriots are so enjoyable to cover because they have so many different characters to give your attention.
The Ravens game was about tight end Michael Hoomanawanui making game-changing receptions. It was about offensive guard Josh Kline coming off the bench to replace the injured center Bryan Stork. It was about Danny Amendola emerging as a key contributor. It was Brandon Bolden splitting time with LeGarrette Blount. It was about Tavon Wilson and his 21 effective snaps. It was about Duron Harmon and his game-sealing interception.
The Colts game was for rookie tackle Cameron Fleming and his 29 snaps, matching players like Hoomanawanui, running back Shane Vereen, and wide receiver Danny Amendola, after Fleming had zero snaps against Baltimore. It was for Kline going wire-to-wire at guard. It was for Joe Vellano and Jonathan Casillas, even though they didn't see the field on defense against either Baltimore or Seattle.
The Seahawks game was for Malcolm Butler, the last cornerback on the Patriots depth chart. It was for Shane Vereen, one of the team's most important players on offense. It was for both Tavon Wilson and Josh Kline, key players to get the team to the Super Bowl, yet players who weren't able to see the field in the Championship itself.
Training camp and the rest of the offseason is about finding these depth characters. It's about evaluating their roles and their potential and how they can have a positive impact on the Patriots at the most important of times. Some might point at offseason evaluations as having little value; we'll just keep our ears open because this camp's special teams linebacker could be next year's Rob Ninkovich.
Every player has a role on the Patriots roster and it's worth getting to know each character.