Organized team activities (OTA’s) for the New England Patriots are coming and going as we speak. The Patriots are looking to build momentum toward the 2017 season after a miraculous 34-28 comeback victory in Super Bowl 51 against the Atlanta Falcons. Here are a few surprising notes based on the first few days of OTA’s.
- Rob Gronkowski saying he feels 100% ready to go:
Gronkowski suffered a horrific back injury in a week 10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in 2016. This was the third time in his NFL career that he needed mandatory back surgery. Usually at that point in any other NFL player’s career, that player would consider retirement, but Gronkowski says he is ready to go without any limitations. Patriots fans should not expect him to be playing fully in the preseason. But a full season of Gronkowski can make the Patriots even more of a threat to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
2. Jimmy Garoppolo openly admitting he would sign an extension with the Patriots:
Patriots fans got to see a glimpse of the future last season when Jimmy Garoppolo started the first two games in response to Tom Brady’s four game suspension for “Deflategate”. In the game and a half he played, Garoppolo showed great signs of progress. He threw four touchdown passes for 502 yards and completed 68.3 percent of his passes. However, Garoppolo at this point in his career wants the opportunity to play considering he sat his first three seasons behind Tom Brady. The thought of him expressing interest in an extension when Tom Brady has said he wants to play five more seasons comes as quite a shock.
3. Stephon Gilmore already fitting in with the Patriots:
This was the most unexpected report. Stephon Gilmore signed with the Patriots in free agency on March 9th, 2017. Patriots fans figured it would take some time for him to get adjusted to the system and were not sure what to expect from his work ethic translating from the Buffalo Bills. It is good to see Gilmore is fitting in right away with his new Patriot teammates. With him and Malcolm Butler patrolling the corners, it should make the Patriots defense a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks.
There are sure to be more big stories that come with OTA’s happening around the league, and the Patriots are no exception to that. For now, Patriots’ fans can sit back and enjoy the fact that the season is right around the corner and their team has high hopes to repeat as Super Bowl champions once again.