September 29, 2022


The Patriots are almost two weeks into training camp and we’re starting to get a sense of what this club is going to be for the 2022 season. While there’s plenty of time between now and when they head to Miami to face the Dolphins in Week 1, now looks to be as good as ever to take the temperature of where this team is at this point in the camp.

Below, we’ve highlighted a handful of players and/or position groups and taken stock of their position through two weeks, which included the first set of bench practices.

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Second-year Patriots defensive tackle Christian Barmore is having a great camp. He routinely dominates 1-vs.-1s and looks to be on his way to a breakout second season. He’s been a thorn in New England’s running game throughout camp, especially during scrimmage practices. If he’s able to improve in that area, he’ll be a legitimate bullet along the Patriots defensive line when you factor in his passing ability.

“Christian did a good job,” Bill Belichick said Thursday. “He’s way ahead of where he was last year. First of all, he’s in a lot better shape. Second, he has a much better understanding of what we’re doing, what our opponents are doing and the day-to-day or weekly routine of how development is going to go. , because he has passed it.

“… He’s been more consistent, like all second-year players — that’s not really unique to him — but he’s been more consistent. He understands better our scheme, the opponent’s scheme, what can happen, what’s a problem, how to handle those problems when they come up. And his physical development, his techniques, his skills: overall strength, speed, endurance, have improved. They were good anyway, but they’ve gotten better through training. It’s making progress.”

Stock down: McJones, pass violation

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The offense has had its moments in camp, but they’ve also gotten their bearings as they work in a new “streamlined” system. Quarterbacks have struggled especially when drills change to 11-on-11 from 7-on-7 and physicality rises in front of them. Too many times, we’ve seen Mac Jones or rookie Bailey Zappe flush out of the pocket and be forced to throw the ball. Of course, part of that could be a lack of coverage or wide receivers struggling to get separation. Whatever the case, it got off to a clumsy start for the offense as a whole.

Those struggles out of the gate may also have been the catalyst for Belichick to dial things back Wednesday and hold a non-padded session in an effort to give the unit a reset.

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One of the biggest questions heading into camp has centered on who will claim the starting outside cornerback spot vacated by JC Jackson. While Jalen Mills appears destined for one of those starting spots, Terrance Mitchell appears to have the potential to claim the other. The veteran cornerback — who signed a one-year, $3 million deal with New England this offseason — saw the vast majority of the reps at that point, along with some sprinklings from Malcolm Butler. With those reps, Mitchell has played well and recorded multiple pass breakups and an interception to this point.

Mitchell was also the first player on the field before every camp practice.

Stock down: Running game

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The running game has left a lot to be desired at this point in camp. New England’s defense was routinely able to get in the backfield and record tackles for losses to derail any kind of offense the offense was trying to generate. What was notably lacking from the Patriots’ rushing attack was success on interior runs as there weren’t many holes for the backs to run through. At times, we’ve seen running backs bounce out and struggle to get to the edge and turn up as well.

The Patriots ran the football 489 times last season, which was the seventh-highest mark in the NFL. With that in mind, this is one big part of their offense that hasn’t really gone gangbusters to start camp, which is less than ideal.

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Parker entered camp as advertised. The former Dolphins pass receiver is a big receiver who has shown the ability to make contested catches. The rapport between Parker and McJones was also palpable in the early stages of camp. The two have connected on several big plays, including a 50-yard touchdown during 11-on-11s Monday in the club’s first full practice.

Not only did Parker bring a lot of skill to this offense, but he also has gave some energy and in the unit.





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