Over at SBNation.com, Jeanna Thomas is wondering if certain teams and players have to worry about the sophomore slump– the notion that certain breakout rookies will regress back to the mean in their second year in the league.
For example, will the Dallas Cowboys duo of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott be able to repeat their magical 2016 season? Or will Dak look like a young quarterback and will teams find a way to focus on and slow down Elliott?
Will Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill manage to sustain his production without WR Jeremy Maclin and as the top wide receiver on the roster? Or will he be exposed as a gadget player? (“I belong No. 1 over Tom Brady,” Hill said about his NFL Top 100 ranking. “Tom Brady, I’m calling you out. I’m No. 1.”)
The New England Patriots don’t approach their sophomores with this mentality. In fact, head coach Bill Belichick universally expects his sophomores to take a step forward because of their comfort in the Patriots program.
“You usually see a level of jump from those [second-year] guys,” Belichick said earlier in June, “because they’ve been through our system before and have a better understanding of what’s in the league and other schemes and so forth. I think all those guys from our rookie class last year have all made good progress – definitely ahead of where they were last year.”
The 2016 season was good for the Patriots then-sophomores as OG Shaq Mason made one of the biggest “level of jumps” in the league, going from a below-average guard to an exceptional one. There was also progress made by C David Andrews, CB Eric Rowe (who should benefit…
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