New England Patriots 2014 Training Camp Preview
By John McMullen, NFL Editor
REPORT DATES: July 20 (rookies), July 23 (veterans)
SITE: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
CAMP CONFIDENTIAL: The Pats remain a significant contender in the AFC and did their best to better match up with Peyton Manning and Denver by bringing in star cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, although Browner will be suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.
Offensively, New England must replace big back LeGarrette Blount while hoping some of its young receivers take the next step.
KEY OFFENSIVE ACQUISITION: The Patriots spent most of their offseason upgrading the defense but may have invested in the heir to Tom Brady's throne in Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Brady still has plenty of shelf life left but he will turn 37 in early August and current backup Ryan Mallett will likely be moving on after the 2014 season.
"This kid's got a quick release, good arm and is very athletic," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said of Garoppolo, a second-round pick. "Tom Brady, at his age, and Ryan Mallett's uncertain status forces this pick. This is an insurance policy for an unknown future."
KEY DEFENSIVE ACQUISITION: Revis is still one of the few true lockdown corners in football and a player who will enable the inventive Bill Belichick to take a few more chances on defense.
Revis projects as the kind of player who can match up with a receiver like Demaryius Thomas, enabling the other defensive backs to concentrate on stopping lesser options.
PRESEASON SCHEDULE (All Times Eastern):
Aug 7 - at Washington, 7:30 PM Aug 15 - vs. Philadelphia, 7:30 PM Aug 22 - vs. Carolina, 7:30 PM Aug 28 - at NY Giants, 7:30 PM
07/17 14:58:50 ET