Three players to watch this summer:
The Patriots made a slew of offseason moves, but perhaps none bigger than the signing of receiver Brandon Lloyd. Lloyd was one of many additions at the wide receiver position, but with the releases of Chad Ochocinco and Anthony Gonzalez, it’s clear he’s the go-to guy on the outside for New England. He’s already familiar with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ offense, having played for him on the Broncos and Rams, so the transition to New England should be seamless. It’ll be nice to have a real deep threat target for Brady to connect with since Randy Moss got the boot.
The Patriots drafted Nate Solder in the first round last year with every intention of playing him at left tackle once Matt Light retired. Well, that time is now. Light has officially called it a career and now perhaps the most important position on the team is in the hands of the second-year Solder. Brady being a righty, his back is usually turned to pass-rushers coming around the left outside edge. That’s where a guy like Solder has to step up and prevent the blind hit or strip sack. Can he be that guy? He started in 13 games last season, and seemed to have held his own.
When BenJarvus Green-Ellis signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, the Patriots were left with Steven Ridlay, Shane Vereen, and Danny Woodhead at tailback. Woodhead has done a commendable job in his role with the team, but he’s not much more than a third down back. Ridley and Vereen are too young and inexperienced to be depended on yet. Enter Joseph Addai, who the Pats signed to a one-year deal in May. Addai has rushed for 4,453 yards and 39 touchdowns over his career, and entering his seventh season in the NFL, the Pats hope he still has something left in the tank. They’ll need some kind of rushing game to balance out the offense.