Training Camp Positional Battles: 2010

Torry Holt

Can Torry Holt turn expectations on their head and win a starting job for the Patriots?

Ah, training camp.  We only had to wait 200 days for your return.

Perhaps the most intriguing portion of training camp each year is the annual gladiatorial battle for a couple of starting spots and a few backups. Young guys trying to make their name, veterans trying to hold on for one more year.  This year will be no different, as there will be four highly intriguing positional battles to watch.

Left Guard

This becomes a moot point the moment that Logan Mankins walks through that door, however, it doesn’t look like that is going to happen anytime soon.  Nick Kaczur would seem to be in the driver’s seat currently, shifting from a former starting  job at right tackle.  Dan Connolly, Rich Ohrnberger will certainly give him a run for his money, with rookie Ted Larsen having an outside chance of making some waves.

#2 Receiver

Randy Moss is going to be the Patriots #1 receiving threat, and either Julian Edelman or Wes Welker will be manning the slot.   The battle for the receiver slot opposite of Moss, however, will be a fierce one.  This competition is certainly a proxy for the battle of youth vs. experience.  On one hand you have 2nd year player Brandon Tate and rookie Taylor Price, on the other you have long-time veterans Torry Holt, Sam Aiken, and David Patten. We expect one of the veterans, probably Holt, to initially win the role; that said, Tate or Price will certainly be challenging for that spot as Tom Brady’s trust in them grows.

Inside Linebacker

This is a tough battle to handicap, as we’re not sure whether incumbent starter Jerod Mayo will still be playing the “Mike” position, or be moving to the weak ILB position. Rookie Brandon Spikes would certainly be the favorite if Mayo moves to the more flowing WILB position, as Spikes’ tenacity and strength would allow him to take on guards and clean up in the run game.  If Mayo stays at his current position, 2009 starter Gary Guyton will have some tough competition from Tyrone McKenzie, who missed the ’09 season with an ACL injury.

Defensive End

Ty Warren and Vince Wilfork have the left-side and middle of the Patriots defensive line in good hands.  The RDE position is currently up for grabs, with a bevy of veterans and rookies vying for playing time.  Veterans Gerard Warren and Damione Lewis were brought in to replace Jarvis Green, who left via free agency this off-season.  Rookie Brandon Deaderick and Patriot vets Mike Wright, Ron Brace and Myron Pryor will also have a say in who ends up playing the 5-technique.

Other Battles

There will be a multitude of other positional competitions over the next few weeks, such as OLB and CB.  While the competition for starter might be a tough one, even a 3rd OLB or CB will see significant playing time in the Patriots defense.

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4 Responses to “Training Camp Positional Battles: 2010”

  1. AM says:

    Isn’t the “Will” the weakside OLB spot? Is Mayo really being considered there? At most, I figured he would shift to weakside ILB. I’m not exactly sure what the position is called, always been curious about that (I know some teams call it the “Jack”).

    • NEPD says:

      My mistake, I meant WILB. Under the Fairbanks-Bullough 3-4 system it is called the “Jack”, but the Patriots may have another name for it.

  2. Patriots Draft Guru says:

    Kaczur Wins LG
    Tate wins #2 WR
    Mayo (Will) and Spikes (Mike)
    Myron Pryor and Gerard Warren at RDE.

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