The Patriots’ dynasty has been nothing short of remarkable as they seem to be a true contender every season. As a matter of fact, New England has been in the playoffs in every season since 2003 besides one.
That lone season was 2008—when Tom Brady tore his ACL. Even then, the Patriots somehow missed the playoffs with an 11-5 record with Matt Cassel under center.
As long as Bill Belichick and Brady are coexisting, it’s safe to believe that New England will be deep in the postseason. Their journey to defending their title began when the Patriots took on the Detroit Lions in their preseason opener.
Coming into this season, there have been a few questions pertaining to Belichick’s team. After their first preseason contest, there may be more questions being asked.
Here are three burning questions for the Patriots after their first preseason game.
3. What roles will Jamie Collins and J’Whaun Bentley have on the defense?
The Patriots always tend to have a deep group of linebackers every season and this year isn’t an exception. Returning this year are Dont’a Hightower, Elandon Roberts, and Kyle Van Noy as the starters.
Aside from those guys, New England also has Ja’Whaun Bentley and Jamie Collins to deploy at linebacker. Bentley is entering his second season with the team while Collins returns to the team after the Patriots drafted him in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
To begin the 2018 season, Bentley carved himself a vital role in Belichick’s defense. After just two games, Bentley was handed the playcalling duties against the Detroit Lions in Week 3. Woefully, a torn bicep caused his rookie campaign to come to a screeching halt.
On Thursday night, New England handed the Lions a head-scratching loss in their preseason debut. The Patriots won the game by the score of 31-3 after their defense dominated the line of scrimmage.
Both Bentley and Collins impressed, combining for two sacks for the Patriots.
As the preseason progresses, both linebackers will provide some clarity on their roles in 2019.
2. Can Jakobi Meyers become a vital part of the offense?
The Patriots’ current state at wide receiver looks like a scene in a movie about war that displays the wounded soldiers. At this exact moment, New England is dealing with injuries to Julian Edelman, Demaryius Thomas, N’Keal Harry along with the suspension of Josh Gordon.
Subsequently, there are a few unproven wide receivers who are receiving chances to shine in the Patriots offense. Jakobi Meyers is one name that continually is being muttered in Patriots training camp.
The undrafted rookie out of North Carolina State has turned some heads in camp, becoming one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets. Meyers carried that momentum into New England’s first exhibition game of the season.
The 6-foot-2 wide receiver caught six passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns. With the injuries at the position, can Meyers ascend into a crucial role in the offense?
Whether or not he does could be decided by how he follows his Week 1 performance.
1. Does Jarrett Stidham have a legitimate shot to unseat Brian Hoyer?
When the Patriots drafted Jarrett Stidham, there was nothing made of the selection. However, Stidham has performed well enough to put some pressure on Brian Hoyer as the backup to Tom Brady.
Stidham was New England’s fourth-round selection out of Auburn. The Patriots coaching staff saw Stidham as a possible developmental quarterback while he sits behind Brady and Hoyer.
In his preseason debut, Stidham played well by completing 58% of his passes for 179 yards and a touchdown. Likewise, Hoyer was nearly perfect, missing just two of his pass attempts, with 147 yards and two scores.
Most people believed it was a given that the depth chart would end up being Brady, Hoyer, and then Stidham.
Yet, if Stidham continues to sway the coaching staff, then he could end up as the No. 2 quarterback.