Patriots training camp stocking up, it’s collapsing: Offense gets off to a bad start, Christian Barmore breaks out

Patriots training camp stocking up, it’s collapsing: Offense gets off to a bad start, Christian Barmore breaks out

The Patriots are nearly two weeks into training camp and we are starting to understand what this club is set to be for the 2022 season. Although there is a lot of time between now and when they get will travel to Miami to face the Dolphins in Week 1, it now looks as good as ever to take the temperature of where this team stands at this stage of camp.

Below, we’ve highlighted a handful of players and/or position groups and provided an update on where they were for two weeks, which included the first round of padded training.

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Patriots second-year defensive tackle Christian Barmore is in the middle of a great camp. He consistently dominates 1-on-1s and appears to be on his way to a breakout second season. He’s been a thorn in the side of New England’s running game throughout camp, especially during padded practices. If he’s able to improve in that area, he’ll be a real wrecking ball along the Patriots defensive line if his passing prowess is taken into account.

“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 much better condition. Secondly, he has a much better understanding of what we’re doing, what our opponents are doing and of the daily or weekly routine of how the progression is going to happen, because he’s been there.

“…He’s been more consistent, like all second-year players – it’s not really unique for him – but he’s been more consistent. He has a better understanding of our pattern, the opponent’s pattern , what can happen, what is the problem, how to deal with these problems when they arise. And his physical development, his techniques, his skills: overall strength, speed, endurance, have improved. They were good anyway, but they have improved through training. He is making progress.”

Stock down: Mac Jones, overrun violation

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The attack have had their moments in camp, but they’ve also taken their pieces as they work through a new “simplified” system. Quarterbacks especially struggled when the drills went from 7-on-7 to 11-on-11 and the physicality intensified in front of them. Often we have seen Mac Jones or rookie Bailey Zappe being chased out of the pocket and forced to throw the ball away. Of course, part of that could be a lack of protection or wide receivers that struggle to separate. Either way, it led to an awkward start for the offense as a whole.

Those struggles out of the gate may also have been the catalyst for Belichick to call things back on Wednesday and hold an unpadded session in an effort to reset the unit.

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One of the biggest questions facing camp is who will claim the starting outside corner spot vacated by JC Jackson. While Jalen Mills seems destined for one of those starting points, Terrance Mitchell seems to have the inside track to claim the other. The veteran corner — who signed a one-year, $3 million deal with New England this offseason — saw the vast majority of reps there, along with a sprinkling of Malcolm Butler. With those reps, Mitchell has been playing well and has recorded multiple pass breakups and one interception so far.

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

Out of stock: racing game

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The running game leaves a lot to be desired at this stage of camp. The New England defense was consistently able to get into the backfield and register tackles for loss to derail any sort of offense the offense was trying to establish. What the Patriots’ rushing offense particularly lacked was success on inside runs as there weren’t many holes for the backs to hammer. At times we have seen fullbacks bouncing on the outside and struggling to get to the edge and back 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, it’s a big chunk of their offense that didn’t really come out gangbusters to start camp, which is less than ideal.

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Parker entered the camp as advertised. The former Dolphins wide receiver is a tall receiver who has demonstrated the ability to make contested catches. The relationship between Parker and Mac Jones was also noticeable at the start of camp. The two connected on several big plays, including a 50-yard touchdown in 11-for-11 on Monday in the club’s first full practice.

Not only has Parker brought big-play ability to this offense, but he’s also injected with energy also in unity.

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