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Words on things I watched, read & heard II

2021 Patriots Season:
Upcoming Opponent:
Next Up: at Jets
Pick Results: NE: 98.3% at NYJ: 1.7%

Sun
Sep 19th

Current Patriots Twitter Feed:

Hyped

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Comments:

- @BaconGrundleCandy , not sure McDaniels had a heavy hand in the Jones pick. Judging from the televised snippet of the Pats war room when the pick was made, it looked more like a no brainer consensus....like the stars aligned. .I think the Pats were prepared to take BPA and then go after Mills/Monds later. I think McDaniels liked all QB's and thought he could work with any of them.

- Watching Stiddy's work outs with the receivers in California earlier this off-season, I was most impressed with Bourne's moves in small spaces...very Wes Welker like, IMO. He has my vote to take over most of the snaps out of the slot. He made plays with the Niners whenever I watched Niner games.

- Yup, Wynn is awesome..thanks for those clips, our line should kick ass...but depth remains to be seen, Harris looks primed to tear it up, and passing out of the 12 personnel is a great idea.

- Yup...Hightower, Judon, KVN....the edge will be held this year.

- And hooray to our QB competition...the guy that gives us the best chance for a Dub will play. I don't think BB will overthink this.
 

BaconGrundleCandy

#1 Mac Jones fan
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Comments:

- @BaconGrundleCandy , not sure McDaniels had a heavy hand in the Jones pick. Judging from the televised snippet of the Pats war room when the pick was made, it looked more like a no brainer consensus....like the stars aligned. .I think the Pats were prepared to take BPA and then go after Mills/Monds later. I think McDaniels liked all QB's and thought he could work with any of them.
Looks like we disagree here. I'll admit it's a little bit of speculation but no one really knows.

I'm just connecting dots. Consider the fact that he was on the road looking at QB's, no one spends more time with them in general and how closely Josh has been working with Mac behind the scenes. He's been rumored to tutoring him, "giving him all the answers to the test" so to speak. It seems like Josh has a lot invested in the pick. I definitely don't think Josh thought he could have worked with all of them.

Also if this was a "head coach" pick usually those guys trade up to make sure they got their guy.

Fwiw Pats almost never go BPA. Need, value & fit play into more imo. You look at their picks and those always stand out as opposed to getting the "most talented" prospect on the board.
- Watching Stiddy's work outs with the receivers in California earlier this off-season, I was most impressed with Bourne's moves in small spaces...very Wes Welker like, IMO. He has my vote to take over most of the snaps out of the slot. He made plays with the Niners whenever I watched Niner games.
I'm a big Bourne fan and think he'll be doing most of his work there for sure. Very good at the top of his route. He knows how to get open. Honestly excited for him.
- Yup, Wynn is awesome..thanks for those clips, our line should kick ass...but depth remains to be seen, Harris looks primed to tear it up, and passing out of the 12 personnel is a great idea.
OL depth concerns me a lot tbh. Brown's weight has been up & down the past few years big time. Looking at him, he was probably in the best shape of his career here. That's something to watch for.

I really hope we get lucky in the health department bc I don't think there are many teams who are prepared and have the personnel to match up with us for a full game if do become that team.

You're going to force teams into base to stop the run. Even if they go to a S/big nickel package I'm getting an athlete on a LB or definitely a S. We'll see what happens but it's something to watch for.

- Yup...Hightower, Judon, KVN....the edge will be held this year.
People should be excited for Judon. He should have a seamless transition here.
- And hooray to our QB competition...the guy that gives us the best chance for a Dub will play. I don't think BB will overthink this.
Pretty much. Good Cam, Mac steps up. We just need good QB play and I really believe we're right back in the division.
 

BaconGrundleCandy

#1 Mac Jones fan
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3. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

The Patriots are known for trotting out top offensive lines year after year. Last season was no different, and 2021 should be a similar story.

Left tackle Isaiah Wynn took a step forward in his second season, grading out at 82.6 overall, good for 11th among tackles. He had the fifth-lowest percentage of negatively graded plays in the run game, a stable number for tackles from year to year, so expect more of the same.

The Patriots rotated through several players at right tackle last season, with rookie sixth-rounder Michael Onwenu taking the majority of the snaps. He was one of the biggest surprises in the league, as he was excellent whether playing right guard or right tackle, and his 84.3 overall grade was by far the best of any rookie offensive lineman.

New England traded for Trent Brown, which will likely push Onwenu to left guard to replace Joe Thuney. Brown returns to New England after two years with the Raiders, where he graded out at 69.1 in 2019 and 68.9 last year on 282 snaps. Brown spent one year in New England in 2018, earning a career-high 73.4 overall grade.

The right guard spot is manned by Shaq Mason, one of the most powerful run blockers in the NFL. He has recorded 80.0-plus grades in the run game in four of his five seasons, though last year saw him post a career-low 60.5 mark in pass protection.

At center, David Andrews returns after notching a 67.7 overall grade last season, tied for 16th among centers. It was Andrews’ lowest grade since his rookie year in 2015, so expect him to bounce back toward the top half of the league.

New England has solid depth, as well, starting with the return of Ted Karras, who can play center or guard. Justin Herron also showed some ability as a sixth-round rookie, and Onwenu’s versatility is almost worth an extra roster spot.

The Patriots have solid starters all over the line, possibly forming the best offensive line in the league by the end of the season.

31. MATTHEW JUDON, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

The addition of Judon was just one piece of the puzzle to a revamped front seven in New England this offseason — a transformation that was overshadowed by some of the big moves on offense. Judon is coming off four seasons of steady contribution in Baltimore, grading between 66.0 and 69.2 on at least 600 defensive snaps in every season since 2017.

Judon is another player whose pressure numbers benefitted from cleanup and unblocked opportunities with the Ravens. A league-high 39 of his 142 pressures since 2018 were unblocked — that’s why he doesn’t fall any higher on this list.

20. ISAIAH WYNN, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

The problem isn’t what Wynn does when he's on the field — it's actually getting on the field. He's played in only 18 regular-season matchups since being selected in Round 1 of the 2018 NFL Draft. Still, his performance in that small stretch is too good to ignore. Wynn has posted career run- and pass-blocking grades just above 77.0, something only six other offensive tackles have accomplished.

6. STEPHON GILMORE, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Gilmore was comfortably the No. 1 cornerback in the league heading into the 2020 season, fresh off a Defensive Player of the Year award in 2019. The outlook isn’t nearly as rosy heading into 2021 after a noticeable decline in play last season.

After recording three straight coverage grades of at least 85.0 in New England’s defense, Gilmore put up just a 58.5 coverage grade in 2020. He recorded just one interception and two pass breakups on 42 targets, allowing a career-high 96.7 passer rating into his coverage. Whether it was injuries or age starting to show in one of the man-heaviest defenses in the NFL, he was not the same player in 2020.

It’s too early to say Gilmore can’t get back to that level, though. The Patriots will look for that bounce-back season in 2021.

6. STEPHON GILMORE, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Gilmore was comfortably the No. 1 cornerback in the league heading into the 2020 season, fresh off a Defensive Player of the Year award in 2019. The outlook isn’t nearly as rosy heading into 2021 after a noticeable decline in play last season.
After recording three straight coverage grades of at least 85.0 in New England’s defense, Gilmore put up just a 58.5 coverage grade in 2020. He recorded just one interception and two pass breakups on 42 targets, allowing a career-high 96.7 passer rating into his coverage. Whether it was injuries or age starting to show in one of the man-heaviest defenses in the NFL, he was not the same player in 2020.
It’s too early to say Gilmore can’t get back to that level, though. The Patriots will look for that bounce-back season in 2021.

16.​

Jackson’s grading profile has been consistent across his first three seasons in the NFL after joining New England as an undrafted free agent in 2018. He has picked up coverage grades between 70.4 and 72.4 every season, gradually increasing his playing time each year.
No cornerback in the league has been more productive on passes 20 or more yards downfield over that span. Jackson has allowed just five of 48 targets at that depth to be completed, tallying 11 interceptions in the process.
 
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Sicilian

Pro Bowl Player
It seems like Josh has a lot invested in the pick.

I agree. We talk a lot about Belichick's legacy, and how winning one without Tom Brady would be huge in cementing it. But Josh has just as many questions (if not more) than Bill in this area, IMO. His stints in Denver and as the OC of the Rams were not impressive, and there's justifiable question as to whether he can do it without Tom. I like Josh, and think he did an adequate job last year with what he had to work with, but I'm sure he's motivated to prove he can run his system with more than just the greatest QB of all time.
 

BaconGrundleCandy

#1 Mac Jones fan
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1. QB Cam Newton Gaining Ground as Pats’ Starter

The reps with presumptive starters were distinctly in Newton’s favor at Monday’s practice. Cam is throwing the ball with much better timing and accuracy this summer than what we saw last season. But there are still times when he holds the ball too long, waiting to “see it” before throwing it to an open receiver. In one instance, Newton missed an open Jonnu Smith up the seam because he was late to it. He was also picked off by linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley when Bentley got underneath a Jakobi Meyers dig route. Cam did finish strong with a nice anticipatory throw to Meyers on a slant. I’ve seen more good than bad from Newton, and as the incumbent starter, he has done enough so far to keep the job.

2. QB Mac Jones Has Strong Practice, Still in the Mix

Despite Newton leading off drills, Jones had arguably his best practice of camp on Monday and saw a string of 16-straight reps in the middle of practice. Jones finished 21-of-28. The deep-ball dime to Zuber was the highlight, but how the rookie operates in Josh McDaniels’s quick game is where he has the advantage over Newton. Jones made several “leverage” throws to his tight ends, and fellow rookie Tre Nixon, where he read the inside defenders’ positioning and threw his receiver into the open void. Those are the types of hit the top of the drop and get-it-out throws that we’ve seen for 20-plus years in New England. It’s too early to call it for Newton until padded sessions, joint practices, and preseason games. It’s certainly trending in that direction, and it would take a monumental push from Jones for head coach Bill Belichick and McDaniels to trust the rookie, but the Pats’ first-round pick makes great throws in every practice.

3. LBs Ja’Whaun Bentley and Raekwon McMillan in a Camp Battle

Speaking to reporters on Monday morning, Belichick had rave reviews for linebacker Raekwon McMillan. The team signed McMillan, a former second-round pick, in free agency, and the veteran linebacker is around the ball a lot. McMillan broke up one of Jones’s passes and had good coverage on a Newton throw later on. It feels like he’s in a battle with Bentley for the backup MIKE linebacker spot. Bentley needed a good day and got one with his interception of Newton in 7-on-7s. With McMillan’s background on special teams and Bentley’s experience in the system, there’s a scenario where both make the 53-man roster. But they’re in a battle for a roster spot and playing time behind Dont’a Hightower.

4. Kristian Wilkerson Climbing the Wide Receiver Depth Chart

When the Patriots held a few passing sessions out west during the offseason, Wilkerson’s name came up several times in discussions with those who attended those players-only practices. The 2020 undrafted free agent is now making a climb up the depth chart in camp. On Monday, he broke Jalen Mills’s ankles on a comebacker along the sideline and caught a strike from Newton. He has flashed during red zone periods due to his explosive first step and efficiency at the top of his routes. Wilkerson is also working on multiple special teams units, which will help him make the team. With Gunner Olszewski safe as a punt returner, Wilkerson might be looking at a spot as WR4 or WR5, depending on N’Keal Harry’s status.


From Howe
Mac Jones was a crisp 21 of 28. He got an extra period in the middle of practice with the backups, which led to the disparity in pass attempts with Newton. Jones still hasn’t thrown an interception in training camp.

• Jones took over and hit Bourne on a slant after recognizing quick pressure from a blitz up the middle. Jones then scanned through his progressions before hitting an open Smith on a drag route to the left side and closed his period by hitting LaCosse on an out route to the right side in a coverage mismatch.

• Back in 11-on-11s, this time against the starting defense, Newton was just 3 of 7. He hit Henry who sat in a soft spot in a zone over the middle then found Meyers on a deep slant on what might have been his third read. Van Noy next broke up a bid for Bolden on a left out route, but Newton followed by completing an option route to White. Michel got caught turning his head too early on the next play and dropped an easy pass on an out route to the right side. Newton then threw a deep wobbler for Bourne that was broken up by McMillan before sailing a ball for Smith on a long seam route.

Jones then took over with the backup offensive line, noticed immediate pressure and hit Agholor on a quick hitch to the left side. More pressure a play later, and Jones strongly stepped up into the pocket, slid left and quickly took off to scramble for a gain when no one was open. Jones has shown off his quick feet and pocket mobility throughout the past week. He then hit Meyers on a slant against Bentley before hoping to find Olszewski on a longer-developing sideline route but saw more pressure and checked down to Bolden. Jones next cycled to what appeared to be his third read before hitting Agholor on a deep left out. Jones then led White too far on an option route before closing the period with a checkdown to Michel after more early pressure. Jones was an impressive 5 of 6 in the period, quickly diagnosing pressure before making the right throw. That was a good showing.

• Jones then got an extended look with the backup offense against the backup defense, going 7 of 8 in the period. There was a team sack on the first play – quick pressure, if you can believe it – then Jones hit Nixon on a crosser against a zone and Nixon again on a slant in a tight window. He next found Wells against a zone over the middle before connecting with Zuber on a 45-yard touchdown against Dee Virgin and D’Angelo Ross. The ball was a little underthrown, and it’s possible one of the defensive backs could have jarred it free with a hard hit in full-contact action, but Zuber made a nice play. Jones then hit Taylor on an out route to the right side before trying to hit Ross for another 45-yard post. Jones led Ross too far toward the right sideline, although Ross was closing in on the ball before he was incidentally tripped by Myles Bryant. It probably still would have fallen incomplete, though. Jones next hit Wells on an out route and Fumagalli on a crosser to complete the 7-of-8 period. That marked 16 consecutive reps for Jones, who was 12 of 14 in that stretch.

• Newton then took over against the starting defense and hit Meyers on back-to-back throws, first an out route to the left side against Jon Jones then on a slant for a touchdown against Mills. Newton closed his best stretch with a touchdown to Wilkerson against tight coverage from Michael Jackson. Really good period for Newton.

• Jones wasn’t as strong in his second period against the starting defense, going just 1 of 4 in the red zone. His first pass hit Henry in the shoulder on an out route against Adrian Phillips’ close coverage, and his next throw was a back-shoulder fade to the right corner of the end zone, again with Phillips in perfect position against a throw with a high degree of difficulty. Jones next found Meyers on an out route to the right side, but J.C. Jackson quickly pushed him out of bounds at the 1-yard line. Jones’ final pass was an impressive one over Agholor’s shoulders in the right corner of the end zone, but Agholor bobbled the ball and J.C. Jackson knocked it out of bounds.
 

BaconGrundleCandy

#1 Mac Jones fan
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Around the league & stuff ...

There are some a bit frustrated / upset about the QB situation. I get it, trust me I want our 15th overall pick to progress and succeed as quickly as possible. There's nothing wrong with that at all. Every pats fan should want the same while pulling to see the best Cam has to offer. Everyone, including Mac should want the bar to be high. It shouldn't be easy. Bill wasn't announcing Mac as the starter, 3-4 days in last Friday. Mac wasn't going to win it Tuesday during the first day of real football or tonight's walk through / practice.
I mentioned it before, Mac is going to need a KO or TKO. It has to be obvious to everyone. Not just Bill or Josh. No coach is going to put the cart before the horse and declare a rookie a starter without the locker room behind him. True progress will come in the form of running with 1's, balling out during scrimmages & pre-sea.
Don't ignore the obvious though. The uptick in reps, 15+ straight reps multiple days is very encouraging. From everything I've read & heard Mac has been more decisive from day one. Mistake or making a play he's confident and sure for the most part. He's throwing a better ball in terms of leading a WR or putting the ball in the best spot. Also while Jones will have his "rookie mistakes" he keeps the trains running on time. Gets from A to B in proper time / form without going two steps back or sideways. He's more consistent and efficient. Ultimately those things will get him starting on Sundays.

That said everyone needs to realize this isn't "Covid Cam". Forgot last year. Cam might literally be on his last legs but he's still a guy who did it at the highest level and did it well. Obviously a lot of pride and confidence. 2nd year in the system and that's the key for him. He has to make known and perfectly clear he's the best choice to run the offense and knows it front & back. Anyone objective knew he wasn't going to lay down. This, probably being his last, best chance at a starting job. He should be his best self.

We'll see what happens. I'm obviously expecting Mac to make a big push but again we'll see how quickly he makes coaches think about the switch.

Also fwiw Bill named Cam the starter bc that's how coaches think. If they had a game this Sunday or last week Cam is clearly the best choice. We'll see what happens in Sept.

As much as it hurts watching Brady down South (and it fukcing hurts) I'm at peace with it and trying to enjoy the rebuild/reload - depending on Mac.


Wtf is going on in Oakland? Is anyone paying attention bc it's fukcing hilarious. Mayock is walking a tight rope if they're not in the playoffs maybe even if they do make it. Gruden has a ton of $ coming in so he's not going anywhere. Awful drafts. No playoffs. Mixed bag offensively. Getting rid of Mack was a mistake that's still hurts. - The trade was bad from the beginning but just to confirm. This is what you got for a guy walking in the HOF and still a consistent top 30-50 player
...
2019 first round (running back Josh Jacobs at No. 24 by Raiders)
2019 sixth round (cornerback Blessuan Austin at No. 196 by Jets)
2020 first round (cornerback Damon Arnette at No. 19 by Raiders)
2020 third round (receiver Bryan Edwards at No. 81 by Raiders)

Also ...
Ferrell - over-drafted top 5!!! Top 5 I'm still spinning. Arnette has been there for 1 year. Maybe it's me but 1 year c'mon! Lynn Bowden 3rd round ... gone. PJ Hill 2nd round, traded away. There's more but holy crap there are plenty of people that could do better. Gruden has final say, unquestioned authority. Who knows who's making every call but something needs to change there.


The Rams are another team with all eyes on them. Multiple early picks for a QB that hasn't won a whole lot but anyone that's watched Stafford knows he can play. He's never had anyone close to McVay to work with. If you look at who he had to work with in Detroit it wasn't fair plus that team has been so dysfunctional. The HC's were puppets. On the other end Mcvay finally has a QB that can actually make NFL passes. Has a live, top 10 arm and no shortage of confidence. You can tell McVay and Shanahan are sick of holding their QB's hand. Akers was set to take off but they should be fine on the ground between Henderson & McVay's magic. Raheem Morris in at DC. All eyes on them but hey they're going for it. Can't fault them. Its a 2-3 year league and than you adjust. Again why not? You only have a certain window so go for it.

Speaking of windows the Bills just handed Josh Allen a fukc ton of money and Daboll will be getting more HC offers if they have close to another repeat. Allen's peak was outrageous but are we getting 80%-90% of that consistently?

More windows ... QB's are getting paid. Baker wants a new deal but has been incredibly inconsistent from year to year and in season. Last year he struggled mightily in the first half but turned it on big time in the second. At times he looks solely like a PA/stretch QB that you have to hold his hand down the field. Other times he's dangerous Baker.


A few years removed from the 2018 draft class, let's look at some of the players. That QB was highly touted and for good reason. Darnold was dropped in one of the worst situations possible. No coach, OL, weapons, leadership. It couldn't get any worse. Intrigued to see what he can do Carolina but the jete stinks lingers. 1st on Darnold.

Jackson leads in comp% 64%, passing rating 102.6, Yards Per Attempt, wins (30), rushing yards, rushing yards per attempt, rushing yards per start. 1-2 playoff record. 1st on Jackson.

Baker has been up & down. Like really up & down. His peak is a top 10-15 QB but again he's just inconsistent. His deep ball, pocket presence. I have a lot of hope bc that offense is still stacked and defense could be vg as well. 1st on Baker.

The good Josh Allen was incredible last year. His footwork stood out to me. Active, powerful, balanced drops & footwork. Much improved from the year before. If he can find tune 80-90% of that he'll be a force for years. 2nd on Allen.

Chubb is the clear cut best RB so far. Over 5.2 per / 80 a game, 30 TD's. Had a 2nd on him.
Nyheim Hynes has been the best rec back. 3rd on Hynes.

DJ Moore & Ridley are battling it out for WR1. Ridley & Moore were WR1/2 for me almost 1st round grades. DJ - 208, 3156, 15 per rec , 68 per game, 10 TD

CR - 217, 3061, 14 per rec, 69 per game, 26 TD

For TE Andrews is leading almost every category. Rec, rec per game, Yards per game, TD. Goedert is the best overall TE by a good margin though and should start to catch up & put up bigger #'s now that he'll be featured more & Jackson has actual WR's. 3rd on Andrews & 2nd Goedert.

Sacks - Chubb 20.5, Landry 19.5, Hubbard 16.5, Leonard 15, Davonport 12, Jerome Baker 12.5, Roquan Smith 11, Nwosu - Payne - Sweat - 10

Solo - Leonard 268, Smith & Warner 253, Edmunds 223, Bates 222, J Baker 203, Reid 198

TFL - Roquan Smith 31, Chubb 28, Landry 27, Leonard 26, Hubbard 22, Edmunds 19, Payne & Sweat 16, Carter & Warner 15, Baker & Davonport 14

QB hits - Chubb 46, Landry 44, Davonport 36, Hubbard 33, Nwosu 28, L Carter 27, Key 26, Sweat 23

INT - Minkah 11, D Jackson 10, Bates 9, Leonard & Ward 7, Justin Reid, D Phillips & Carlton Davis 5, Alexander, Roquan Smith & Harrison 4


Pass Deflections - Alexander & C Davis 41, D Ward 40, Bates 31, Minkah 29, D Jackson 28, Edmunds & Oliver 24, Leonard 22, Phillips & Warner 21

Forced fumbles - Leonard 9, Oluokun 6, Tre Flowers, Fred Warner & Marcel Harris 5, J Baker, Payne, Davonport, J Martin 4.


I suspect we'll see more gap stuff this year. Wide/Stretch stuff is still happening everywhere but we'll see a counter somewhere. Perhaps more counter?? Also why we're seeing more odd fronts. DC want athletes outside.
 

BaconGrundleCandy

#1 Mac Jones fan
PatsFans.com Supporter

The Patriots’ offense is predicated on timing, with quarterback and receiver seeing the same picture against the defense. When Jones is under center, it looks like the Patriots’ offense.

In an early full-contact period, the Patriots ran one of my favorite drills called “inside six,” which is essentially an inverse of 7-on-7. Instead of receivers versus the back seven, it’s the offensive line and tight ends versus the defensive front seven for run game work. During a very competitive drill, Pats tight end Jonnu Smith opened a massive hole for the back by driving second-year linebacker Josh Uche into the parking lot. It was teach tape run blocking with Smith’s feet, hands, and pad level owning the rep. Smith lines up all over the formation in these practices. He’s a highly effective run blocker, an explosive player in the open field, and does enough with his route running to get open downfield. Smith is an outstanding football player and might be the best free-agent addition on offense when it’s all said and done.

3. Highlights From Offensive Line/Defensive Line 1v1s

We got a long look at the offensive and defensive lines doing both one-on-ones and two-on-twos, where both sides worked on line stunts. Here are the highlights:

  • David Andrews absolutely pancaked Nick Thurman on one rep and then stood over Thurman for an extra second. It was disrespectful.
  • Isaiah Wynn stone-walled Deatrich Wise from the jump on a rep and looks very good. Wynn is headed for a breakout season if he can stay healthy (more on that later).
  • Michael Onwenu won all four of his reps and continues to be the best OL on the field.
  • DL Henry Anderson had some nice wins today and is starting to come on. He’s a strong rusher who uses his power to set up nice inside counter moves.
  • LB Rashod Berry’s speed-to-power stands out in one-one-ones, as it did on his college tape. Berry’s having a nice camp. He has a handful of one-on-one wins and got off to a good start in team periods early in camp. Berry is also repping a lot on special teams. If Winovich starts the season on PUP, Berry could make the team.

Left Side of Pats OL, Isaiah Wynn & Michael Onwenu, Paving the Way

There are at least three, if not more, reps that stand out from the first two days of full pads where Isaiah Wynn and Michael Onwenu are cleaning out the house. Wynn and Onwenu are the two best offensive linemen on the field through eight practices. Onwenu hasn’t lost a one-on-one rep and is controlling the line of scrimmage. Wynn looks fantastic. He stone-walled Deatrich Wise in one-on-ones, and his run blocking technique combined with upper-body power is noticeable on each rep. Wynn truly can be one of the league’s top left tackles if he can just stay healthy.
 

BaconGrundleCandy

#1 Mac Jones fan
PatsFans.com Supporter
So many rushers, so many packages ...
Judon, Barmore, Uche, HT, KVN, Wise, Wino, Perkins. Hopefully we get decent contributions from one of Jennings, Berry, Langi.





Despite all these rushers when talking about the "long haul" of the season Gilmore is still the most valuable player on the team barring a "Herbert" type year from Mac imo.

If he's in & 80-90% of his normal self then there's cause for optimism with this defense. Every level is/has been improved or is very deep. Mainly the front seven. DL/LB corp should be extremely fierce. We know what the secondary is capable. I'm pumped to see the talent & scheme come together!!
 

BaconGrundleCandy

#1 Mac Jones fan
PatsFans.com Supporter

Two-back offenses have gone by the wayside in presentation, but the central philosophies remain. The NFL lives in a zone-blocking world, and the most important piece of the zone scheme is an ability to create additional gaps at the line of scrimmage. In spite of the almost identical zone run productivity over the years, the top two 12 personnel formations have almost doubled in usage.

12 and 21 personnel are a near 50-50 split in run/pass tendency. For personnel packages with genuine balance, the play-action pass is a fundamental piece of keeping defenses honest while manufacturing explosive passing opportunities despite a deficit in on-field receiving talent. Both offensive groupings use play fakes on 48% of their dropbacks, and the two packages perform just about the same rate.



Play-Action Pass Performance (2018-20)​

PersonnelDropbacksPassing GradePasser RatingYards per AttemptAverage Depth of Target
12 Personnel4,27894.8100.58.810.2
21 Personnel1,54791.6100.69.19.5
When controlling for dropback passes (no play fakes, no run-pass option), 12 personnel beats 21 in passing grade but statistically performs just the way a two-back offense has over the past three years.

DropBack Pass Performance (2018 – 2020)​

PersonnelDropbacksPassing GradePasser RatingYards Per AttemptAverage Depth of Target
12 Personnel4,90889.796.67.08.1
21 Personnel1,66580.992.87.26.7
With the nearly identical performance offensively, it’s interesting that the two personnel groupings aren’t defended exactly the same way. Since 2018, teams are playing base defense (four defensive backs) against 12 personnel on 57% of snaps, and 68% against 21. Yet, from a coverage perspective, both groupings see Cover 3 and Cover 1 on 51% of snaps.

The difference in defensive personnel isn’t tied to situational football, either, as both packages are used on first-and-10 on over half of their respective snaps and less than 10% of second- and third-and-short situations. The two packages are even used about 19% of the time when offenses are inside of their own or their opponent’s 20-yard line.

In terms of how defenses treat 12 personnel, there may be some visual difficulty with separating how two-tight end sets look formation wise as opposed to two-back sets, but the data paints a clear picture: 12 personnel is 21 personnel in this era, and the fullback was replaced with not a tight end but a receiver.



 
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BaconGrundleCandy

#1 Mac Jones fan
PatsFans.com Supporter
Bill loves smart guys, prospects that have graduated.

“Obviously, with the older guys, they have a lot of experience. So I'm trying to be a sponge and learn from them and get better.” Jones told reporters following Thursday’s practice. His learning experience not only includes practical training on the field, but also picking up some valuable studying techniques. In fact, Jones is already putting some of them to good use.

When asked about his off-field preparation, he responded:

“I would just say being attentive in meetings. When I have free time, I try to watch film, and draw out plays. I noticed that all the good players do that.”

Taking full advantage of the inclement weather on Thursday, Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels and the Patriots coaching staff increased Jones’ workload. Having taken 40 reps in team drills over the past two days, the rookie performed well while wearing pads during his eighth day of practice. He also took several reps in the Pats vaunted hurry-up offense. While the majority of those reps came against the second unit, Jones was given the chance to operate with the starters, as well. In doing so, he finished the day, completing 12 of 17 overall, going 2-of-5 against the starting defense. He also delivered one of the day’s highlights by dropping a pass over the shoulder of James White, where only the Pats running back could field it.

 

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QBs so far: The Patriots have had nine practices in training camp, and a picture has developed at the quarterback position. Here are my biggest takeaways:

Mac overcoming adversity: After a tough practice Tuesday, Jones responded with two days in which he nearly doubled Cam Newton in repetitions, and the passing offense had its most consistent success. That seemed significant. It wasn't just that Jones seemed to hit his groove while finding a more assertive voice. It's that it came after arguably his lowest point in camp.

Jones said he sensed a shift last week between himself and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

"I'm trying and starting to get to where we're kind of thinking on the same page," Jones said. "And that's how it has to be every day."



Cam the classy teammate: It could not have been easy to be in Newton's shoes on Wednesday and Thursday, watching Jones get more work and seeing a clearer picture of how the passing offense is designed to operate -- from protection identification to read progressions, timing/rhythm and accuracy.

But by all accounts, Newton continues to be the model teammate, celebrating Jones' on-field successes while building up others such as wide receiver N'Keal Harry, who has been one of the surprise stories of camp. Newton's egoless approach is worthy of a tip of the Meshika hat.

"He puts it all out on the line for the team," Patriots safety Devin McCourty said.

Two different offenses: There have been two full-pads practices, and in those sessions, it sometimes looks like the team is running separate attacks. The threat of Newton as a ball carrier with the read-option is prevalent -- and effective at times -- while Jones often looks like he's running the more traditional Patriots passing offense.

"[Jones] is not operating like a rookie, that's clear to me," former NFL scout and New York Jets director of football administration Pat Kirwan said during his stop at camp as part of Sirius XM NFL Radio's tour. "He has poise, good arm strength. He's more what Josh wants to do, and how he's done it in the past. ... I wouldn't be surprised if by October we see [him] under center."

Belichick gives himself an out: Coach Bill Belichick has made it clear that Newton is the starter, but as is the case with everything, context matters. Belichick also said there could be a "hard decision," and previously acknowledged that every player needs to establish their position, with the possibility that Jones could challenge Newton if he shows he's ready.

So if Jones continues to ascend, and Newton dips, Belichick could point to the totality of his remarks on quarterbacks if he decides Jones gives the team the best chance to win.

Winovich on mend: Outside linebacker Chase Winovich, who opened training camp on the physically unable to perform list with an undisclosed ailment, has started running again, which puts him one step closer to being activated. Winovich wasn't on the field in June's mandatory minicamp but had participated in voluntary practices before that. The Patriots project to start Matt Judon and Kyle Van Noy at outside linebacker, with 2020 second-round pick Josh Uche a factor in specific packages and 2021 third-round pick Ronnie Perkins also in the mix for possible reps. Winovich, who led the team with 5.5 sacks last season, would add another layer of solid depth.

Ziegler fills Caseri's seat: Belichick highlighted the collaboration of the team's personnel department during the pre-draft process, and he acknowledged some things were being done differently with former director of player personnel Nick Caserio departing to become the Houston Texans' general manager. Here is a snapshot of those at the top of the masthead with new titles:

  • Dave Ziegler -- director of player personnel (from assistant)
  • Matt Groh -- college scouting director (from national scout)
  • Steve Cargile -- pro scouting director (from assistant)
  • Brian Smith -- personnel coordinator (from college scouting coordinator)
Eliot Wolf retains the same title as 2020 -- scouting consultant. And congratulations are also in order for Camren Williams -- the son of former Patriots defensive lineman Brent Williams -- who has elevated from area scout to national scout.

Cozens' workout: The thoroughness of Ziegler and the personnel staff was reflected last week, in part, when the team flew in former Major League Baseball outfielder Dylan Cozens from Arizona for a workout. Cozens had tweeted June 22 that he was making a career switch from baseball to football, and his workout with the Patriots -- he went through drills as a tight end -- was his first with an NFL team. Another reminder the Patriots turn over every rock in scouring the country for talent. Cozens, 27, spent eight years in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, reaching the majors in 2018 and playing in 26 games.

Mayo's goals: Former Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo enters his third season as a coach on Belichick's staff, and he has already interviewed for one head-coaching job -- in Philadelphia last offseason. In that sense, he seems to be on the fast track.

Mayo, 35, initially went into a career in finance after his eight-year playing career with the team, but he now is all-in on coaching.

"I definitely have aspirations to be a head coach," he said this week, while adding his focus is 100 percent on the 2021 Patriots. "That is the goal. I know I can do it. I'm just waiting for my chance to really come to fruition."
 

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QBs so far: The Patriots have had nine practices in training camp, and a picture has developed at the quarterback position. Here are my biggest takeaways:

Mac overcoming adversity: After a tough practice Tuesday, Jones responded with two days in which he nearly doubled Cam Newton in repetitions, and the passing offense had its most consistent success. That seemed significant. It wasn't just that Jones seemed to hit his groove while finding a more assertive voice. It's that it came after arguably his lowest point in camp.

Jones said he sensed a shift last week between himself and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

"I'm trying and starting to get to where we're kind of thinking on the same page," Jones said. "And that's how it has to be every day."



Cam the classy teammate: It could not have been easy to be in Newton's shoes on Wednesday and Thursday, watching Jones get more work and seeing a clearer picture of how the passing offense is designed to operate -- from protection identification to read progressions, timing/rhythm and accuracy.

But by all accounts, Newton continues to be the model teammate, celebrating Jones' on-field successes while building up others such as wide receiver N'Keal Harry, who has been one of the surprise stories of camp. Newton's egoless approach is worthy of a tip of the Meshika hat.

"He puts it all out on the line for the team," Patriots safety Devin McCourty said.

Two different offenses: There have been two full-pads practices, and in those sessions, it sometimes looks like the team is running separate attacks. The threat of Newton as a ball carrier with the read-option is prevalent -- and effective at times -- while Jones often looks like he's running the more traditional Patriots passing offense.

"[Jones] is not operating like a rookie, that's clear to me," former NFL scout and New York Jets director of football administration Pat Kirwan said during his stop at camp as part of Sirius XM NFL Radio's tour. "He has poise, good arm strength. He's more what Josh wants to do, and how he's done it in the past. ... I wouldn't be surprised if by October we see [him] under center."

Belichick gives himself an out: Coach Bill Belichick has made it clear that Newton is the starter, but as is the case with everything, context matters. Belichick also said there could be a "hard decision," and previously acknowledged that every player needs to establish their position, with the possibility that Jones could challenge Newton if he shows he's ready.

So if Jones continues to ascend, and Newton dips, Belichick could point to the totality of his remarks on quarterbacks if he decides Jones gives the team the best chance to win.

Winovich on mend: Outside linebacker Chase Winovich, who opened training camp on the physically unable to perform list with an undisclosed ailment, has started running again, which puts him one step closer to being activated. Winovich wasn't on the field in June's mandatory minicamp but had participated in voluntary practices before that. The Patriots project to start Matt Judon and Kyle Van Noy at outside linebacker, with 2020 second-round pick Josh Uche a factor in specific packages and 2021 third-round pick Ronnie Perkins also in the mix for possible reps. Winovich, who led the team with 5.5 sacks last season, would add another layer of solid depth.

Ziegler fills Caseri's seat: Belichick highlighted the collaboration of the team's personnel department during the pre-draft process, and he acknowledged some things were being done differently with former director of player personnel Nick Caserio departing to become the Houston Texans' general manager. Here is a snapshot of those at the top of the masthead with new titles:

  • Dave Ziegler -- director of player personnel (from assistant)
  • Matt Groh -- college scouting director (from national scout)
  • Steve Cargile -- pro scouting director (from assistant)
  • Brian Smith -- personnel coordinator (from college scouting coordinator)
Eliot Wolf retains the same title as 2020 -- scouting consultant. And congratulations are also in order for Camren Williams -- the son of former Patriots defensive lineman Brent Williams -- who has elevated from area scout to national scout.

Cozens' workout: The thoroughness of Ziegler and the personnel staff was reflected last week, in part, when the team flew in former Major League Baseball outfielder Dylan Cozens from Arizona for a workout. Cozens had tweeted June 22 that he was making a career switch from baseball to football, and his workout with the Patriots -- he went through drills as a tight end -- was his first with an NFL team. Another reminder the Patriots turn over every rock in scouring the country for talent. Cozens, 27, spent eight years in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, reaching the majors in 2018 and playing in 26 games.

Mayo's goals: Former Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo enters his third season as a coach on Belichick's staff, and he has already interviewed for one head-coaching job -- in Philadelphia last offseason. In that sense, he seems to be on the fast track.

Mayo, 35, initially went into a career in finance after his eight-year playing career with the team, but he now is all-in on coaching.

"I definitely have aspirations to be a head coach," he said this week, while adding his focus is 100 percent on the 2021 Patriots. "That is the goal. I know I can do it. I'm just waiting for my chance to really come to fruition."
In the face of all this, Ben Volin pronounces the QB battle over and won by Cam.
 

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