While there is a lot of off-the-field drama surrounding the Patriots, there is an on-the-field situation that should be taking more precedent:
Who replaces Nate Solder?
One candidate is LaAdrian Waddle, who signed a one-year deal with the Patriots last week. But Bill Belichick may be looking for a better, longer term option at the position. He addressed that with the media yesterday...sort of.
“Nate did a great job for us, and he has a great opportunity in New York. We wish him well,” Belichick said, noting that there is a lot of team-building to be done to determine who will ultimately replace him.
The Patriots will no doubt address the offensive line in the draft and then may go with options that are in-house instead of trying to bring in someone from the outside.
There are some interesting options there already, such as Cole Croston and Tony Garcia, who was just recently cleared to play. Belichick went into detail about both of them.
“He’s a developmental prospect. He has some position versatility,” Belichick said, referencing his work at guard as well. “He’s been in a good program, he’s worked hard and improved. Obviously he didn’t get any playing time during the regular season, very little [eight snaps at the end of games], but we’ll see how it goes this year. He did enough in training camp to make the roster.”
“When you come back from an injury, sometimes it’s a straight-line recovery. Sometimes things go faster than expected. Sometimes things go fast and then they slow down, and then they pick again,” he said. “It’s all part of a long process. All we can do is string a lot of good days together -- month after month, and when they’re ready, they’re ready. How that turns out, we’ll just have to wait and see.”
One player a lot of Patriots fans wanted was Joe Thomas, but the longtime Cleveland Brown retired at the start of the offseason.