Pumped up for the Patriots
With two days and counting to the start of training camp, I’m finally ready to heave myself off the beach chair and start paying attention. The dog days are over. And I do mean dog days.
Last year at this time the Red Sox were sprinkled with star dust, and it was impossible to take our eyes off them. Now it’s been hard to watch. Even with the recent “surge” I am not feeling hopeful. Wake me up when it’s all over.
I can’t bear to hear any more talk about the possibility of the Celtics acquiring Kevin Love. And I really don’t want to think about enduring another Celtics season where winning is losing, and the final destination is lottery land.
The Bruins did well at the NHL Awards, but it didn’t take the sting off the way it all ended last spring.
We are about to turn the corner, because right now the New England Patriots are looking better than a tall gin and tonic.
Here are my top five reasons to get pumped for Patriots Training Camp.
1. Tom Brady.
All this argument about QB12 losing his fastball is ridiculous. The talk about Brady being on the downside of his career is based on some useless numbers, and exactly why I hate stats. What kind of rating do you put on a football IQ? Brady was remarkable last year, especially considering the absence of his biggest weapons. Wes Welker, (gone) Rob Grokowski, (hurt) Danny Amendola (not up to par). I would still take Brady over any other quarterback in the league because he is the best at making something out of nothing. Yes, he is turning 37 in August. I don’t care. If 50 is the new 30, Brady has plenty left in the tank.
2. Darrelle Revis.
Bill Belichick is an island guy- vacationing every year on Nantucket. Now he can also enjoy Revis Island. The former NY Jets shutdown corner and big mouth is now a good guy. Revis, who has been forgiven for calling his new boss a “jerk” on national TV, is sure to make a huge impact on the Patriots secondary. The Patriots also picked up another big bruiser, cornerback Brandon Browner, whose game is expected to elevate playing along side Revis. Opposing quarterbacks will shaking in their shoes facing this duo.
3. Rob Gronkowsi.
How Gronkowski comes back from his torn up knee will be the biggest question of training camp. Gronk’s value to the Patriot’s offense is beyond words. No player has caught more touchdown passes from Brady than Gronk. (42) Beyond his ability to get into the end zone, Gronkowski’s blocking talent is immense. No tight end in the league has Gronk’s natural talent and physical abilities. A healthy Gronk means a happy Brady.
4. Jerod Mayo.
The heartbeat of the Patriots defense is returning from a torn pectoral muscle. The Patriots leading tackler from 2008-2012 left a huge hole in the defense when he went down last October 13th. Mayo still made his presence felt in team meetings, road trips and on the sidelines. He is one of the hardest workers on the team and he showed it in the weight room during the off season. The big test will come when he throws on the pads.
5. Vince Wilfork.
Big Vince will be back after tearing his achilles back in week 4 of last season. He also signed a new “team friendly” contract extension that should keep him in New England until the end of his career. I still would have liked to see the Patriots pick up a man-eating pass rusher, but all and all this defense should be fierce.
It’s been a long time, (10 years) since the Patriots won it all. I am predicting a 12 and 4 season, a first round bye, (naturally), a second round win, (routine) and a trip to the AFC Championship Game (of course). This year they get back to the Super Bowl. That’s as far as my prognosticating goes.
Helmets, pads, whistles, and sweat. Get ready for some football.