<
>

Wilfork's progress a top area to monitor

5/30/2014

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots hold their third organized team activity of the week on Friday at Gillette Stadium (11 a.m.-12:45 p.m.), and this is the first OTA open to reporters.

From a reporter's perspective, the goal is to learn more about the team, which shouldn't be difficult. While keeping the voluntary offseason practice in context, here are a few things we'll be watching:

1. Vince Wilfork's recovery. A ruptured Achilles is a tough injury to come back from, which is why Wilfork's presence on the practice field stood out in a video posted by the Patriots' official website on Thursday. Watching Wilfork run indicates that he continues to make solid progress from the serious injury sustained Sept. 29. In addition to Wilfork, Friday is also a chance to check on the progress of some other injured Patriots players, such as linebacker Jerod Mayo (torn pectoral muscle, Oct. 13) and starting right tackle Sebastian Vollmer (broken ankle, Oct. 27).

2. Armond Armstead a contributor? Much was written about the former Canadian Football League defensive tackle at this time last year, and Bill Belichick, at one point, even mentioned him as being in the top-three rotation at the position. But an unexpected infection right before training camp landed him on season-ending injured reserve. Armstead's presence on the field, which is expected Friday, would indicate that he is back in the mix for 2014. That's why he's one of five players who were limited in some form in 2013 that are high on our list to monitor (with tight end D.J. Williams and receivers Danny Amendola, Mark Harrison and Josh Boyce).

3. Darrelle Revis' immersion into the team. The cornerback figures to draw a big crowd of reporters after practice, as his addition has been one of the top storylines of the NFL offseason. Tom Brady has said that he's already tired of throwing in his direction, while safety Devin McCourty has called him a “good teammate.” What have the last few months been like for Revis since signing with the Patriots? We should hear some of his thoughts today.

4. A look at new coaches. This is the first on-field practice to watch since a shake-up on the Patriots' coaching staff, with Dave DeGuglielmo taking over the offensive line, Brian Daboll shifting to tight ends, and first-year coach Brendan Daly working with the defensive line/pass-rushers. DeGuglielmo, a Massachusetts native, seems most appreciative to be on board. We should be hearing him on the practice field as he has a fiery style. The Patriots had success bringing along young offensive linemen under retired offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia and now the torch has been passed to DeGuglielmo.