Patriots

How James White plans to change his mindset on Tom Brady-less Patriots

How James White plans to change his mindset on Tom Brady-less Patriots

The New England Patriots are ready to move on without Tom Brady. But adjustments must be made to fill Brady's void -- both on the field and off.

Patriots veterans like Julian Edelman, Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater will have to become more active leaders after Brady joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason.

Running back James White also is a team captain, though, and is aware his role will need to change this season, as well.

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"Usually I don’t say anything," White admitted Sunday night on "The Double Coverage Podcast" with teammates Devin and Jason McCourty. "Now I'm one of those guys on offense -- I'm going to have to say something."

White said that's partly out of necessity, as the seventh-year pro is one of the longest-tenured Patriots on offense.

"We don’t have that many guys who have played in our offense besides me, Julian, Brandon Bolden, David Andrews, Marcus Cannon — guys like that. Some of them, they don’t talk that much as well. We’re all going to have to speak up, voice our opinions a little bit more, let the younger guys know how we do things as an offense and make sure everybody is on the same page, especially now having less practice time.

"I think it's going to be even more important. Who knows if we’re going to have one week, two weeks, a month to get ready for a game. It's going to be extremely important for all of us to speak up and be on the same page."

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Brady would have played a central role in holding his Patriots teammates accountable during their "virtual offseason," which still is limited to video conferences, phone calls and workouts of 10 players or fewer.

Now, it's up to White and the remaining veterans to be the commanding voices for the young players, which on offense include running back Damien Harris, wide receivers N'Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers and second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham, among several others.

For White, that means stepping outside of his comfort zone.

"For me, it is just learning to speak up more," White told the McCourty twins. "As you know, I'm a pretty quiet guy. I don’t talk too much. I only say things when they need to be said. I am constantly learning to speak my mind sometimes because that's a part where I am still continuing to try and grow."

The 28-year-old made strides in that department last Thursday, telling reporters his teammates must "stay on top of" their conditioning and studying their playbooks. He also suggested the team may organize a way to protest racial inequality and police brutality this season following the recent murders of George Floyd and several other Black men and women by police officers.

White should be a major factor in the Patriots' offense in 2020, but it's clear his goals go beyond his performance on the field.

Patriots Talk Podcast: Training camp position battles to watch

Patriots Talk Podcast: Training camp position battles to watch

Finally, the New England Patriots are back on the field at Gillette Stadium.

The new-look Pats had their first practice of 2020 on Wednesday, which means training camp position battles are officially underway. The obvious position battle in camp will be at the quarterback position between Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham, but there are many more intriguing battles to keep an eye on.

In a brand new Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry break down the positions where these battles will take place.

Patriots Talk Podcast - Training Camp Preview: Burning Questions. Bold Predictions | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

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Perry named the Patriots' three most notable position battles, starting with the QB position. While it's technically a battle between Newton and Stidham, some believe it's a foregone conclusion Newton will be the Week 1 starter.

"You have the quarterback spot with Cam vs. Stidham. Let's move past that, we've talked enough about that, we both think Cam is going to win the job. Not a real battle, per se," Perry said.

"Let's go back to the outside linebackers. This is a four-way cage match between Chase Winovich, Anfernee Jennings, Shilique Calhoun, and Brandon Copeland. My guy is going to be Anfernee Jennings, but I do think that's a battle. Whatever that opposite John Simon edge spot is called, somebody's got to fill it.

"Number three, let's talk special teams ... who is your returner? Is it Kyle Dugger, your first draft pick in this year's draft? Is it J.J. Taylor? Fun as hell to watch, would be fun as hell to watch in the kicking game. Or is it last year's guy, Gunner [Olszewski]? They don't want to give it to Julian Edelman, we know that, so one of those three guys I think will win it."

For Curran, it's a newly-added safety who will have his attention in camp.

"I'm going to head over to the secondary for the position battle that I'm interested to watch," Curran said. "I have a good feeling of who's going to shine there and it's my defensive dark horse for this camp and this season -- it's going to be Adrian Phillips at the safety spot holding off a young Kyle Dugger.

"I think Adrian Phillips is going to be an absolute eye-opener at the safety position ... Adrian Phillips is a talented player, he's closer to [Patrick] Chung than he is Devin McCourty. He's going to be a really good player for the Patriots this year. But I'm going to be real interested to see how Dugger competes ... he's an athletic unicorn."

Curran and Perry also discuss the burning questions surrounding the Patriots, why the Pats should explore using the triple option, bold predictions for the 2020 season, and much more.

Check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network or on YouTube.

Patriots' 2020 draft pick Dustin Woodard retires before rookie season

Patriots' 2020 draft pick Dustin Woodard retires before rookie season

One of the New England Patriots' 2020 draft picks has decided to retire before his rookie season began.

The team announced Thursday it has placed offensive lineman Dustin Woodard on the reserve/retired list.

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Woodard, who played college football at the University of Memphis, was selected by the Patriots in the seventh round (230th overall) of April's draft. The 22-year-old center/guard was one of three offensive linemen taken by the Patriots in the 2020 draft, along with guard Michael Onwenu (sixth round) and tackle Justin Herron (sixth round).

Why is Woodard retiring? ESPN's Mike Reiss reported additional details:

The Patriots signed center Tyler Gauthier on Wednesday in a move that adds some depth to the position following Woodard's retirement. Woodard had a chance to make the roster as the backup center behind starter David Andrews.