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Two positional battles in focus at OTA’s

06.08.10 at 3:38 pm ET

FOXBORO ‘€” The position battles start long before training camp ‘€” in truth, many of the important ones have already begun.

On the defensive side of the ball, the two best are at inside linebacker and safety. On the inside, it’ll be a race to see who will presumably line up next to Jerod Mayo in New England’€™s 3-4. Gary Guyton took the bulk of the snaps at that spot last season (the since-retired Junior Seau also broke glass there on several occasions in 2009), but Tyrone McKenzie, who sat out all of last year because of a knee injury and rookie Brandon Spikes could also figure into the mix as well in 2010.

It’€™s easy for him to say ‘€” one would think it isn’€™t his job that’€™s at stake ‘€” but Mayo said this kind of competition is all part of the job.

‘€œTo be honest with you, I go in with the mindset that we’re all battling,’€ said Mayo. ‘€œThere are no starters, as Coach says each and every year. I think we’€™re all battling, and we’re all getting better. We’€™re all out here competing.’€

The other one that bears watching throughout the organized team activities is at safety ‘€” with Brandon Meriweather occupying one spot, there’€™s a rush of talented bodies who are vying for the spot opposite him. It’€™s a group that includes James Sanders, Brandon McGowan and Patrick Chung.

McGowan was not present for Monday’€™s OTA session, and in his place, Chung got a lot of reps with what appeared to be a reasonable facsimile of the starting defense.

‘€œWe have some animals back there,’€ Chung said with a smile after Monday’€™s session. ‘€œWe’€™re all working together. It’€™s great. We’€™re all working together.

‘€œEverybody will play. We just work hard and coach picks whoever. We’€™re all working hard to help the team.’€

For his part, Chung’€™s versatility seems to be a natural fit with Meriweather, whose strength appears to be operating in the deep part of the field. The Oregon product says he likes playing alongside Meriweather.

‘€œIt’€™s competitive. We make it real competitive,’€ Chung said of his on-field collaboration with Meriweather. ‘€œIt’€™s fun. It makes practice fast. When you get fast practice, the games come easy. I like it.’€

Read More: Brandon Meriweather, Brandon Spikes, Gary Guyton, James Sanders



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