Ryan L. Fox
This is a special Patriots notebook Training Camp edition. With the season just looming right around the corner, the boys of Foxborough are getting ready for an uncertain season in more ways than one. With key losses on the roster (i.e. opt outs and free agency), changes in the coaching staff, and a global pandemic still going around, this 2020 season will be a season that the franchise will not forget.
That being said, let’s take a looksey and see what the team has been up to during the past week.
Patriots Draft Pick Retires
There were some questions about the Center position going into the 2020 season, mostly dealing with the health of starter David Andrews as he missed all of last year due to blood clots in his lungs. Although the team allowed back-up center Ted Karras to go into free agency, the Patriots addressed the issue by drafting C Dustin Woodard out of Memphis in the 7th round back in the 2020 NFL Draft
But then on August 13, almost 4 months after the Patriots selected him the draft, Woodard announced his retirement from football. According to multiple sources, the reason for Woodard’s sudden retirement is not COVID-19 related so that is a positive.
Nevertheless, this is something that the Patriots could really afford to handle. Already the team is dealing with the loss of veteran tackle Marcus Cannon, who opted out nearly 2 weeks ago from playing in the upcoming season. Woodard’s retirement leaves the team with just starter David Andrews and back-up Tyler Gauthler, who was signed just days before, as the only centers on the team.
Last Thursday, the New England Patriots made an interesting signing in free agency to fill the roster spots left open by players who opted out the week before. They ended up signing former Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller as he joins a crowded backfield with Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, James White, and Damien Harris.
Originally drafted out of the 4th round (97th overall) in the 2012 NFL Draft, Miller spent the first four years of his NFL career with the Miami Dolphins. After his rookie contract expired, Miller signed a 4-year, $26 million contract with the Houston Texans in free agency during the 2016 offseason. He ended up missing the entire 2019 season due to a torn ACL he suffered during the third preseason game of that year. Overall, in his career, Miller has 1,337 carries for 5,808 yards (4.3 ypc) and 32 rushing touchdowns. He also has 207 career catches for 1,565 yards and 8 touchdowns.
No details of the contract itself have been leaked but it is possible that it could be similar to that of the contract signed by QB Cam Newton earlier (i.e. veterans minimum with multiple incentives). Also after signing with the Patriots, Miller was placed on the PUP list as he continues to rehab from his torn ACL.
Newton a Third-String QB?
Well if that’s not a clickbait title to get your attention, then I have done a poor job as a journalist.
All jokes aside though, this little nugget this past Wednesday caught everybody’s attention when NESN Patriots reporter Doug Kyed tweeted out the following:
Before everybody starts rioting (oof, too soon to say that), let’s clarify this. This is not the official QB depth chart of the New England Patriots for the 2020 season. I repeat, this is not the New England Patriots QB depth chart for the 2020 season.
All this was just the order on how the Patriots quarterbacks were going to take their reps at practice. It’s obvious Stidham is going to be the first one to take reps since he has worked out with the team before the COVID-19 pandemic and has more knowledge of the Patriots current playbook than the others. Then with Brian Hoyer, he’s got some familiarity to Josh McDaniels’ playbook and terminology during his second stint with the Patriots (2017-2018).
So no need to hit the panic button because Newton took reps before an undrafted rookie quarterback. This is just how Bill runs things over at Gillette.
Patriots Rookie Jersey Numbers
For those who are wondering what number the Patriots rookies were issued, here you go courtesy of NESN Patriots beatwriter Zack Cox:
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