The Patriots have five Georgia players on their current roster: First-round picks Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel, starting center David Andrews, backup receiver Malcolm Mitchell and undrafted free agent John Atkins. That ties Iowa for the high total. After the first round of this year’s draft, Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said of the Georgia double dip with Wynn and Michel: “Both players come from a great program. cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping We have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach [Kirby] Smart and the job he does and he’s doing at Georgia and the job he did at Alabama [as defensive coordinator].”
So that provides some good insight as to how the Patriots view Georgia, but I’d caution from taking this connection too far because had a few things unfolded differently in the first round of the draft, I easily could have seen the Patriots going in a different direction. For example, had Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander, Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, or Arkansas center Frank Ragnow been available at No. 23, I could have envisioned all three been given serious consideration over Wynn. Likewise, had a team offered a nice trade package for the No. 31 pick, I could have envisioned a scenario in which the Patriots traded back and gave up the chance to select Michel there.
With that context, I’m not reading too much into the team having five Georgia players on the current roster. While the program is obviously highly regarded by the team, I’d put this into the category of a result of circumstance than any calculated plan.
Pzan, one of the points that Bill Belichick stresses annually is how these sessions are geared toward teaching — not evaluating. The idea is that by teaching/reviewing the system, it gives players a chance to be at their best when training camp begins and the coaching focus shifts more to evaluation than teaching in a competitive environment. So, to answer the question, are these necessary? I think they can only help most players, whose developmental time with coaches is already limited. They are especially helpful for younger players. But there are also stories of teams who don’t place a high emphasis on the offseason program that have still had success, and one example to relay is the 2007 Indianapolis Colts under Tony Dungy. When I was visiting ESPN a few weeks ago, analyst (and former Colts GM) Bill Polian relayed a story about how the team was coming off its Super Bowl championship in the 2006 season and there was a sense of fatigue among some in the building as players returned for the following season. nfl nike jerseys for cheap The way I remember Polian telling the story, Dungy asked if he could significantly pull things back quite a bit until training camp, and Polian agreed it would be a smart decision. The Colts then went 13-3 in the 2007 season and lost to the Chargers in the divisional playoffs. I pass along the story as one example of how teams do things differently. There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer, as much as it is the preferred philosophy of those in charge.