Hannable: 5 questions for Patriots following OTAs, minicamp

Ryan Hannable
June 15, 2017 - 7:58 am

Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

The Patriots will hold their final OTA session of the spring on Thursday (closed to the media), and afterwards the team will depart for a month off before training camp kicks off in late July.

Although the spring sessions are really just teaching camps, it appeared the Patriots got a lot out of them with the coaching staff getting on the team if they needed to.

Here are five questions the team has before re-gathering for training camp in just over a month.

1. Can the Tom Brady-Brandin Cooks chemistry continue?

The biggest story from the past few weeks may have been how good Cooks has looked in a Patriots uniform. He’s had outstanding chemistry with Brady so far, but this came without pads. It will be a much different story come training camp when the pads come on and there is a defender ready to pounce when he runs over the middle of the field, etc. There’s nothing to suggest things will not continue to go like they have, but playing with pads will be the final test. 

2. Will the team add any possible contributors?

There’s always the chance the team will make an addition or two between now and training camp, especially with a number of veteran players still on the market. One of the positions which could see an addition is linebacker, as there really isn’t much depth behind Dont’a Hightower. Elandon Roberts, Shea McClellin, Kyle Van Noy, Jonathan Freeny and even undrafted rookie Harvey Langi are all adequate, but maybe the team looks to get some more stability to start in the middle of the defense next to Hightower.

3. What will happen at cornerback?

It’s been an interesting offseason for this position. The team signed Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler had his visit to the Saints, but in the end he signed his $3.91 million tender and will be a Patriot in 2017. Both players looked solid during the spring, so now the biggest question at the position is what happens behind them? Who will be the slot corner? This is between Eric Rowe, Cyrus Jones and Jonathan Jones. As of now, Rowe likely has the advantage, and could even play some on the outside given his size. Second-year players Cyrus and Jonathan Jones should have some good battles in training camp as the two battle it out for playing time.

4. How will things look in the trenches?

Not much can be taken away from the linemen during the spring since there is no contact. Training camp will be the first chance to see how the offensive and defensive linemen are doing. The most notable position to watch will be defensive end to get a sense of how rookies Derek Rivers and Deatrich Wise are coming along. Both lines appear pretty straight forward with no true battles for roster spots.

5. Where will some of the players/coaches go on vacation?

If you go on social media in the next month or so, you’ll more than likely see some pictures of members of the Patriots going away to some nice places. For sure we’ll see Bill Belichick on Nantucket, and it appears Brady will be heading to Asia for a promotional event with Under Armour. Who knows, maybe we’ll see Brady sunbathing in Italy? This is the players’ last chance to really get away before the bye week in late October.