Fantasy or Reality: Patriots season expectations

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Fantasy or Reality: Patriots season expectations

Opening day of the Patriots regular season is less than two weeks away, so what better time to make some predictions for key players on this team?

The "Uno Sports Tonight" crew did that Thursday, with Mike Flynn of 98.5 The Sports Hub and the Boston Herald's Steve Buckley stopping by to make some predictions on important questions involving Patriots skill positions.

The first question:  Will Stevan Ridley will surpass 1,300 yards rushing this season?

Flynn was not convinced.

"I got fantasy. I think he has the ability to do, the line to do it, but I think Blount is going to make the team and he's going to take away a lot of those  carries, Bolden will take those carries," Flynn said. "Vereen's your third-down back and they run so many different packages, just when you think you can tell who is the running back, they throw somebody else in there."

The next query moved over to the defensive side of the ball, and pondered the impact Chandler Jones could have in year two.

Following an opening six-sack season cut short by injury, can Jones reach double-digit sacks in his sophomore campaign?

Buckley was emphatic with his answer.

"I think it's a slam-dunk reality because I think he is going to be a great, great player and I believe most of those sacks were early in the season." Buckley said. "So, when you factor in a year's experience and a year's health, I think he gets it."

Finally, the issue of Danny Amendola's health came to the table. 

The former St. Louis Ram has been no stranger to injury and if such ailments pop up again, the Patriots receiving corps could be in deep trouble.

Asked if Amendola can remain on the field for at least 14 games, Flynn would not even commit to that.

"I'm going to say fantasy. You know last couple years, has been injured," Flynn said. "You look at a couple of games, especially his big games, stuff over the middle, he may play 13, I think I'm going to go fantasy."

Do you agree with these takes? Any of these suggestions that you feel differently about? Have your say in the comments section below.

Patriots undrafted free agent signing Josh Augusta cut out pizza and lost a lot of weight

Patriots undrafted free agent signing Josh Augusta cut out pizza and lost a lot of weight

FOXBORO -- There are a lot of things in Josh Augusta’s past in football that makes him an intriguing player as the undrafted defensive tackle enters his pro career. Among them: a high-school career as a 320-pound receiver and fullback reps in college. 

Also in his past: About 50 pounds. 

That’s how much weight the Missouri product says he has lost since the end of last season, when he began slimming down from 390 pounds to where he is now with the Patriots. 

How did he do it? Cutting out pizza, for one. 

“I cut out all the fast food, late-night eating, cut out all that,” Augusta said Tuesday at Gillette Stadium. 

There were ample reasons to lose the weight. He’s had asthma all his life and has also dealt with sleep apnea and a thyroid condition in recent years. He wanted to be able to not only move better, but breathe better. 

Now in the 340s as he nears what he previously set as a 335-pound target weight, Augusta’s body is getting closer to what it was when he arrived at Missouri. 

“I feel faster. My breathing’s getting better, just because I lost the weight,” he said. “Just stay on track and hopefully everything still goes right.”

For Augusta, everything going right would entail him enjoying a long NFL career. For all the potential versatility with Augusta -- he says he could still see himself playing some fullback for the Pats if they wanted -- there was little surprise when he went undrafted given that he was not a consistent starter throughout his college career, which he finished as a second-stringer. There were also questions of his stamina, which he feels the weight loss has helped.

Yet the Patriots have done plenty with works in progress, particularly ones who can be used in multiple spots. As he looks to shape his professional career, Augusta thinks New England is the best-case scenario. 

“I feel great here,” he said. “I know I know I’m in good hands, just because of the history they have.” 
 

Quick Slants The Podcast: Arkansas coach discusses his Patriots pipeline

Quick Slants The Podcast: Arkansas coach discusses his Patriots pipeline

Listen to Phil Perry’s interview with Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, who has funneled his college players — James White, Trey Flowers, and others — to the Patriots in this edition of Quick Slants The Podcast.