One of the most uncertain position, WR, is our talk in today’s training camp preview.
Deion Branch – Although he was absent in the Patriots recent mini camp, that shouldn’t be cause for concern. Like Richard Seymour a year ago, it took him a week into training camp for him to actually show up. Even thought the Pats gave him more money to play that year. Will they do that will Branch? Who knows. The off the field problems aside on the field Branch is one of the top 15 WR’s we have in this league. His production might be down this year without having David Givens on his side, to take away some of the double teams. Now teams will challenge Branch with double teams every play and make other Patriot WR’s like Reche Caldwell and Chad Jackson beat them. Look for Branch to show up on July 28th and continue how he was before this whole mess.Reche Caldwell – David Givens replacement isn’t doing a bad job like many people thought he would. Coming out of San Diego Caldwell showed he was simply another Florida WR, a bust. But, since getting signed by the Patriots, Caldwell has been working with QB Tom Brady and really hoping to change his name for the better. In mini camp, Caldwell showed solid hands and his speed. In training camp Caldwell will look to continue his “flash” he’s showing. He could also be dangerous during the season, if defenses double team Branch, Caldwell will be open and he could have a big season for the Patriots.
Chad Jackson – This kid is looking like the real deal. Jackson has showed in both the rookie and rookie/veteran mini camps that he has the best hands on the team. Jackson has shown nice and crisp routes and everybody is jumping on his bandwagon. The Patriots might not want to rush him, so starting Caldwell this year wouldn’t be a bad idea. Training camp is very important to Jackson, if he does continue what he’s been doing (in shoulder pads) he could start. It all depends on how both Caldwell and Jackson show up during the camp.
Troy Brown – The once # 1 WR on the Pats superbowl 36 squad, is now the veteran who is leading by example. This looks like it will be Troy’s last year in the NFL and he had an amazing career. Now, his role this year will be to mold young WR Chad Jackson. Still at the age of 34, Brown still has very reliable hands, making every catch in the clutch. No matter of how Brown performs in camp, he’ll probably be the # 4 WR on this team.
Brandon Childress – The former undrafted free agents from Ohio State University will hope to make the Pats squad full time this year. Last year Childress was mostly on the practice squad, but his hard work paid off with an appearance in the last regular game of the season against the Miami Dolphins. In that game he had 3 catches for 32 yards. He also played CB in that game and recorded 5 tackles. Now, with the very little depth at WR for the Pats this year, Childress could very well be the # 5 WR. In training camp he’ll need to do almost amazing, but if anyone could do it, it would be Childress. He’s gotten doubted his whole college career but yet he’s still sticking around in the NFL, for one of the best teams in the league.
Erik Davis – Davis could actually be fighting Childress for the 5th WR spot. Davis is a good kid, who knows his role on the team. Right now, since he was undrafted (Vanderbilt), if he somehow makes the team he’ll be on our special team squad. This could also be a case like Jason Anderson, undrafted rookie from Wake Forest, he came in a did great in camp and preseason but still it wasn’t enough and he didn’t even get to be on our practice squad.
Michael McGrew / Rich Musinski / Matt Shelton / Zuriel Smith / John Stone – All of these WR’s seem to be a long shot to make the team.