Over the next week I will be posting a series on the five most important Patriots heading into training camp. First up is number five, rookie guard Tre Jackson.
As this writer highlighted previously (http://sportsofboston.com/2015/06/17/why-tre-jackson-could-be-patriots-most-important-rookie/), Tre Jackson has one of the most important opportunities heading in to camp. With the retirement of Dan Connolly, at least one guard spot is wide open and there could be another one open as well depending on how well Ryan Wendell performs in August.
Everyone saw how problematic it was for the Patriots last September when their offensive line failed to play well. If that happens again this season, even more damage could be done. The Patriots play one the NFL’s best defensive lines in week two (Bills) and will likely be in a high scoring game in week five against Dallas’ high flying offense. Although the Pittsburgh defense has declined over the past several years, they still have a formidable pass rush that will provide the Patriots with a week one test.
If Jackson can win a starting spot and play well, the Patriots will not have to worry about Tom Brady’s protection. If he cannot, there is a strong chance Brady will spend a lot more time on his back in 2015 than any season before. Another name to watch at the guard spot is Shaq Mason, but Jackson is ahead of him in development and already has a rapport with starting center Bryan Stork, as the two were teammates at Florida State. All in all, Jackson is a player who essential but under the radar to the Patriots offense in 2015.