Tuesday Patriots Notebook 5/22: Edelman Doubts Himself as a Starting QB; Positive Mitchell Sighting
Here’s a look at this morning’s top stories.
No Brady on Monday – Some had wondered if Tom Brady might be on hand for this week’s workouts, but he was noticeably absent while the team was on the field during Monday’s session.
With the sessions being voluntary, Brady decided to prioritize time with family this offseason and posted a photo from Rio Grande do Sul on Thursday, joking about his son enduring a little mental toughness training after he complained about the water being a little chilly while they were swimming.
He posted another on Saturday from chilly New York, his son still at his side.
While many will question his absence, Brady’s obviously been around long enough to have gained enough perspective to understand how precious this time really is. He’s a player who once he turns the page is all-in and it looks like he’s trying to squeeze out as much time as he can before he kicks back into gear and starts preparing to hopefully lead his team to Atlanta this season.
Positive Mitchell Sighting – The return of Malcolm Mitchell is something that’s been speculated on for more than a year since his outstanding rookie season but on Monday, the veteran receiver was back out on the field getting some work in.
Mitchell’s right knee was heavily taped, but reports were positive by those who saw him on the field and he appears ready to build on a pretty solid rookie season.
Here's Malcolm Mitchell hauling in a pass on Day 1 of Patriots OTAs. Lots of tape on that right knee. (via @patriots) pic.twitter.com/KWeiwtv1Bs
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) May 21, 2018
Mitchell’s already proven he’s a strong fit in this offense, becoming the first rookie receiver in quite a while to be as productive as he was during his rookie year.
He finished the 2016 regular season with 401 yards receiving on 32 catches, 23 of which went for first downs including 4 touchdowns. He also caught 9 of 12 targets in the red zone with three touchdowns.
But his biggest performance of the year came at the right time, which saw Mitchell step up in the Super Bowl and finish with 6 receptions for 70 yards, five of which came in the final quarter of play during the team’s historic come-from-behind win over Atlanta.
While it’s a little early to get too excited, the fact he’s back on the field is certainly a good sign and hopefully, he’ll continue to progress as the team continues getting ready for the 2018 season.
Patriots Add Two to the Coaching Staff – The team announced a couple of coaching additions on Monday, rounding out the staff who will join Bill Belichick’s group for the 2018 season.
The Patriots named Cameron Achord as an assistant special teams coach, giving the former interim head coach at Southwest Mississippi Community College an opportunity in the NFL under Belichick.
Also joining the staff will be Atif Austin, who spent the last four seasons as a wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator at North Dakota State. His role wasn’t elaborated on any further in the announcement.
Meanwhile, in another bit of internal news, Adam Caplan reported on Monday that the Patriots lost one of their scouts to Philadelphia, with Patrick Stewart ending his 11-year run with New England to move on to become a national scout with the Eagles.
Hopefully Edelman’s passing opportunities remain limited to trick plays.
Edelman Doubts His Ability If Called to Start as an Emergency QB – Julian Edelman may be one of the more confident players in the league as a receiver, but he may have a little self-doubt when it comes to being a quarterback in this league.
Edelman, who has played cornerback in addition to his time as a receiver in the NFL, is also a former quarterback from Kent State who captured the attention of scouts thanks to his athleticism which played a key role in making it into the NFL.
However, that was a long time ago and Edelman admitted when asked by USAToday.com’s FTW that even if the worst happened and every other QB got “food poisoning” against, say, the Steelers and couldn’t play, he’d have a tough time.
“It would be pretty terrible,” said Edelman about how he’d fare. “I have the utmost respect for NFL quarterbacks. I could probably call some protections and read some defenses and make some throws. But not in a matter of seconds. All of these guys in the league are really good and have a tough job. And going up against a team like the Steelers, a team that always brings it when we play them. That would be rough.”
Brady famously joked about Edelman’s quarterback abilities in college, saying he’d love to see film of him out there of his teammate during his time in college as a quarterback.
“To play college quarterback with such – I’d love to see those old tapes of him running around because he’s kind of a spaz, I don’t know if you guys know that,” said Brady. “I always say, ‘God, what were you like in the huddle as a quarterback? How could anyone look at you seriously?’ But I guess he did pretty good.
“He definitely can’t throw the ball so he made the right switch to receiver at the right time.”
And if all goes well, Edelman will have a successful 2018 season after missing last year after suffering a season-ending knee injury during the preseason.
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