Another New England Patriots training camp has come and gone … kind of.
For players, training camp continues until the regular season starts. But since practices are no longer open to the media and fans, training camp is officially over. It’s a weird limbo period when you’re not quite sure what to call Patriots practices.
But from here on out, all media evaluations will be based on preseason games, not practices, assuming the Patriots don’t give reporters a few extra days of access.
Watch the video above and read below for this week’s mailbag.
#MailDoug Any former JUCO players fighting to make the roster? #LastChanceU @DougKyed
Based on my research (which consisted of me clicking 89 links to player bios on New England’s roster and scrolling down to each college section), the following players went to a junior college:
LT Trent Brown
P Corey Bojorquez
WR Julian Edelman
TE Jacob Hollister
CB JC Jackson
LB Brandon King
WR Cordarrelle Patterson
CB Jomal Wiltz
Of those eight players, only Hollister and Jackson went to a junior college between transferring from one FBS program to another. Hollister went from Nevada to Arizona Western Junior College to Wyoming. JC Jackson went from Florida to Riverside City College to Maryland.
Brown, Bojorquez, Edelman, King and Patterson all started at junior colleges before transferring to FBS schools.
The Netflix show “Last Chance U” follows players on a junior college team looking to transfer to an FBS school. The majority of players featured started out at a big FBS school, got into some sort of trouble and spent a year at junior college in hopes of transferring back to an FBS program. Some other players start out at the JUCO level because of grades or other factors and hope to play and study their way into a scholarship elsewhere.
Among the former JUCO players on the Patriots’ roster, Jackson has the story most suited for that show. He was dismissed from Florida after being charged with armed robbery. Jackson only played six games at Riverside because he couldn’t leave the state of Florida during his trial. He was found not guilty on all charges and successfully transferred to Maryland.
I talked to Jackson about his year at junior college earlier this summer. He said he hadn’t seen “Last Chance U” but was aware of the show. He also said it wasn’t difficult to keep his grades up because he was so focused on getting out. He credited a tutor named “Miss Colleen” for helping him get through the school. On “Last Chance U,” a teacher or advisor who goes out of their way to help players is heavily featured.
Jackson was signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent this spring. He has a solid chance of making the Patriots’ 53-man roster.
As an aside, it would have been fun to follow any of those eight players in their JUCO journeys — especially Edelman.
What from Philip Dorsett 370+ snaps last year and preseason this year makes us think he is a guy who can have an impact this year, beyond setting picks, blocking and occupying defenders . He had 12 catches last year. Seems like a strange investment
I’m not sure. That’s why I’m hesitant to create high expectations for Dorsett. He hasn’t excelled in training camp, and he didn’t flash in the Patriots’ first preseason game. He’s definitely a potential benefactor of circumstances since New England’s wide receiver depth is shallow.
Quarterback Tom Brady threw the ball away 22 times last season. He targeted Dorsett only 18 times.
Dorsett made some tough catches last year. But one would hope a receiver would make a couple tough catches while playing 300-plus snaps. I think the Patriots are in a little bit of trouble if they go into the season counting too heavily on Dorsett.
I know Dorsett entered last season with the cards stacked against him and had to learn the offense on the fly after a September trade. But he did almost nothing in 15 games. And the fact he was on the roster all season and caught just 12 passes makes me wonder how big of an impact he can possibly make.
Is it just me or is everyone making a big deal about the WR core? It’s basically the same as 2016 minus Amendola and plus Gronk. And, oh by the way, they won the Super Bowl. I think they at least cancel each other out. #MailDoug
It’s minus Danny Amendola, four games of Julian Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell, and maybe plus Rob Gronkowski. It’s not as if Gronkowski wasn’t on the 2016 Patriots. He just got hurt.
Losing Amendola and Mitchell takes out New England’s No. 3 and 4 receivers from that season. And without Edelman for the first four games, the Nos. 3 and 4 receivers will have to step up in his absence.
And yes, the Patriots only had Gronkowski for eight games that season, but they had Martellus Bennett to play in his stead. Who knows how many games the Patriots are getting out of Gronkowski this year, and they don’t have a player of Bennett’s caliber to fill in for him if/when he goes down. That’s big.
The key for the 2018 receiving corps is for two receivers among Dorsett, Kenny Britt, Eric Decker, Riley McCarron, Braxton Berrios, Devin Lucien and Paul Turner to step up and be Mitchell and Amendola. It seems kind of unlikely that will happen based on what we’ve seen so far this summer. That’s why there are concerns about the Patriots’ 2018 receiving corps.
Are we gonna trade for a Receiver ?
I wouldn’t be surprised. It puts that player in a tough situation, however, like it did with Dorsett last season.
The following players have been traded to the Patriots after training camp began in recent years: Dorsett, Keshawn Martin, Greg Salas, Doug Gabriel and Deion Branch.
Branch was by far the most successful of those acquisitions. He caught 48 passes for 706 yards with five touchdowns in 11 games, but he had previous knowledge of the offense.
The player with the second most successful season post-trade was Gabriel, who had 30 catches for 428 yards with three touchdowns.
It’s much more likely the wide receiver acquired would turn into Salas rather than Branch.
How’s Braxton Berrios been progressing. Haven’t heard a lot about him lately #MailDoug
He was having some of his best practices right before training camp ended Tuesday, but he still wasn’t exactly a standout.
We’ll see if he can build on those sessions in the final three preseason games. He was almost invisible early in camp. He has a ways to go before earning a spot.
Most to prove and most to lose Game 2 vs Eagles? #MailDoug
Aren’t they kind of the same thing? Most to prove would be running back Mike Gillislee and cornerback Jason McCourty.
Most to lose might be safety Jordan Richards and cornerback Cyrus Jones.
How has Ted Karras looked so far? You don’t here much about him, but he looks like the nicest guy when I watch the videos of the locker room postgame. I am always rooting for him!
He’s had a strong summer in 1-on-1s and the Patriots’ preseason opener. The Patriots brought in a bunch of experienced interior offensive linemen, and he’s still the favorite among that group to make the 53-man roster.
And Teddy K is definitely the nicest and friendliest guy on the roster. That’s a good guy to root for.
Let’s go rapid fire.
Preseason game 2 mvp?
I’ll guess tight end Jacob Hollister on offense and cornerback Jonathan Jones on defense.
Rank all of the QBs in the AFCEast in terms of best hair#MailDoug
Is it blasphemy to not put Tom Brady No. 1? The guy is 41 years old, after all. Younger quarterbacks are going to have stronger flow.
That being said, an older quarterback tops the rankings.
1. Josh McCown, Jets
2. Danny Etling, Patriots
3. Tom Brady, Patriots
4. Nathan Peterman, Bills
5. Sam Darnold, Jets
6. Teddy Bridgewater, Jets
7. AJ McCarron, Bills
8. Josh Allen, Bills
9. Bryce Petty, Dolphins
10. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
11. Brock Osweiler, Dolphins
12. Brian Hoyer, Patriots
13. David Fales, Dolphins
— Who knew McCown has a big tattoo on his arm?
— Brady’s gotta be a little jealous of Etling.
— They did Peterman dirty with the Manning forehead in his headshot.
— Darnold’s hair is a little too auburn to rank him higher.
— I think McCarron might comb his hair to the wrong side.
— Osweiler’s style is a little too Joey from “Friends.”
— This is a pretty weak division of quarterback hair.
— Holy crap, the Dolphins’ depth chart is terrible. We’re not just talking about their hair, either. It seems Miami Dolphins fans have talked themselves into David Fales, though, so what could go wrong with that?
In light of Jalen Ramsey’s honest QB evals in GQ, what are your “Jalen Ramsey-esque honest” thoughts on each of the local Pats reporters/journalists/media? 😂 #MailDoug
To quote Tom Brady on “The Simpsons”: “Everyone sucks but me!”
why are there so many people out there that think the earth is flat?
It’s a phenomenon I wish would be fired into space (so it could see the earth is round).
Now that you’ve been around for a while… can we get a top 10 road press boxes list?
Favorite stadium food? Worst stadium food?
I’ll combine these, because I judge a press box almost entirely on its food. And I’ll go with a top five, because a lot of them aren’t memorable.
1. San Francisco
San Francisco’s spread was impressive. They had a whole omelet bar and everything.
Buffalo gives you an insane amount of food before, during and after the game.
Dallas had brisket.
The worst is probably Miami. I think our meal last year was aqua tortilla chips and plastic cheese.
New York isn’t great either. It’s inconsistent, and they pull the food really early. How dare they prevent me from being gluttonous after covering a football game.
What special attributes are required by special teamers that prevent a guy like Mike Gillislee from participating? #maildoug
Mostly straight line speed and tackling ability. Gillislee isn’t a speed demon, and he probably doesn’t have a ton of experience tackling.
You might have to ask Michael Hurley this one.
Why does YAC count towards a QB yardage?
How long until Punters become Kickers and Vice versa to save a roster spot?
1. Because a good quarterback can throw his receiver into optimal open space for yards after catch.
2. Not for a while, if ever.
Thumbnail photo via Doug Kyed/NESN