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New England Patriots News 5-10, Schedule and Season Thoughts

Steve Balestrieri
2 months ago at 5:00 am ET

New England Patriots News 5-10, Schedule and Season ThoughtsSteve Balestrieri - PatsFans.com

Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 05-10 and AFC East notes this week. 

A very happy Mother’s Day to all the great moms out there. Hopefully, it will be a great one for all of you surrounded by family and loved ones.

Not Patriots related but… On Mother’s Day 50 years ago today, the greatest hockey player to ever lace them up, Bobby Orr scored in overtime to give the Bruins their first Stanley Cup victory since the days of WWII. There are so many tremendous memories watching him play, it was crazy how great he was…and how sadly early his career ended. 

I saw a tweet from Tucker Boynton on Twitter that showcased just how truly great Orr was.  From 1968/69 to 1974/75, the Bruins had a +779 goal differential when Bobby Orr was on the ice and just a +5 goal differential when he was off the ice.

With Orr: 1469-690 (+779)

Without Orr: 864-859 (+5) That my friends, is called utter domination. 

 Quick Hitters For the Pats, and the NFL:

“Stid” the QB: I was surprised to see a lot of people thinking it is ‘a thing’ that Bill Belichick referred to Jarrett Stidham as ‘Stid’. I honestly never gave it a thought. But I did believe that Bill has done that in the past…However, Bill has retained his sense of humor and was even having fun (there I said the word), stating that his dog Nike, who was shown on television during the draft was “working on the supplemental draft.” 

Paths to the NFL: Another pretty amazing stat this week, the two colleges with the most players on NFL rosters…right now are Alabama with 56 and Ohio State with 45 and after that, it drops off pretty quickly. That’s big kudos to Nick Saban who not only is an outstanding coach but an excellent recruiter as well.  

Draft Picks Signed: The  Patriots announced the signing of second-round draft pick LB Josh Uche, third-round draft picks LB Anfernee Jennings and TE Devin Asiasi, sixth-round draft pick OL Mike Onwenu, seventh-round draft pick OL Dustin Woodard, fifth-round draft pick K Justin Rohrwasser and sixth-round draft picks OL Justin Herron and LB Cassh Maluia. The terms of the contracts were not announced.

Team Announces Signing of 15 UDFAs: The Patriots announced the signing of 15 rookie free agents: TE Rashod Berry, DB Myles Bryant, TE Jake Burt, DL Nick Coe, LB De’Jon Harris, WR Will Hastings, QB Brian Lewerke, DL Bill Murray, WR Sean Riley, QB J’Mar Smith, RB J.J. Taylor, LB Kyahva Tezino, WR Jeff Thomas, DL Courtney Wallace and WR Isaiah Zuber.

4th & 2 Podcast – If you’ve haven’t checked out our PatsFans.com podcast, “Patriots 4th & 2” in a bit, please check it out. This week we are going to record (this was written on Friday) a schedule podcast with our original co-host Damian Jarrett. The band is truly back together. 

Thoughts on the Schedules…and Season:

As the NFL released the schedule … and some media types rush to beat them to it, the Patriots schedule is quite interesting this year. New England has the toughest strength of schedule (based on last year) of any team in the NFL. I never get wrapped around the axle of these things one way or the other. It’s all based on the year before, and if there is one thing that can be written in stone, it’s that everything changes quickly in the NFL. 

The Patriots have two very tough away games in the first four weeks of the season, at Seattle and Kansas City. And for the time being, disregard how good the teams are…those places are always very tough to play due to the crowd noise factor. One has to wonder if the NFL persists with the no crowd/limited crowd idea, how much that could potentially factor into games this fall.  Gillette, with the open end of the stadium, has never been the loudest place, but those two sites (and others) have given the home team a distinct advantage. 

After a home game against Denver and the bye week comes a very, very tough five-week stretch that will say a lot to how far this team can go in 2020. At home against Jimmy G. and the 49ers, on the road back-to-back weeks in Buffalo and at the Jets, at home against Baltimore, then on the road in Houston. We’ll see how athletic the defense is, with Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, and Kyler Murray three straight weeks (Weeks 10-12), Belichick will have them sprinting up the hill a lot this fall. 

Then back-to-back weeks in L.A. against the Chargers and Rams, where the Patriots got a break from the schedule makers. By playing on Sunday against the Bolts, the team will just stay in L.A. until their Thursday night tilt against the Rams four nights later and save the team another long West Coast road trip. 

Then the season ends with three divisional games, on the road in Miami before closing out with home games against the Bills and Jets. This is a very tough slate of games, even if they had their now former QB at the helm. But I don’t get the entire, “predicting each week” stuff that is all the rage. If cornered, yes I’ll do it, but before anyone has even taken the field and with the coronavirus situation still hanging over our heads? Prediction making this year is a fool’s errand. “May you live in interesting times.”

The 2020 Season Has Plenty of Questions:

We’re glad to see the NFL conduct the draft in the best way available and to repeat, I thought they did a fantastic job of putting together the best possible draft considering what is going on in the world today. And now the schedule is out and they are…at least on paper of playing an entire slate of games. 

But there remains a lot of questions, and I’m sure, they are at work on the different scenarios in trying to figure out solutions to issues that may crop up. With the coronavirus pandemic crisis still on-going, will the league be even able to open the season on time?  Right now it seems like it will, but a lot of things have to happen. 

With no rookie minicamp, no OTAs (right now anyway), minicamps looking very iffy at this point, teams are going to struggle to build for the season during whatever training camp they can accomplish and it will be really difficult for teams to really get a proper evaluation of their 90-man rosters. Teams that are really well organized with a strong coaching staff, (like New England) should have a bit of a leg up here. 

Will, there be fans or will they be playing in empty stadiums like a true neutral-site game? There is talk of letting only about 20 percent of the fan base in…if so, how will the teams and league decide to conduct this in a fair and equitable manner? And even in the best-case scenario, there will be fans quite upset by this… But we’re really sailing in uncharted waters right now.

But the nightmare scenario, (and a very possible one) is what happens if the league opens the season and say for the first eight games, everything goes well. Then in the fall, as invariably happens every year, like when the flu starts making the rounds, the coronavirus strikes a team. If a half-dozen players not only test positive but start showing symptoms? It opens up a whole different can of worms. 

The NFL will have to look at possible roster exemptions and/or forfeiture of games in the case of a bad outbreak. And if it happens to a playoff team, the implications would be enormous. No one is expecting an answer today, but these are things that could really impact a season as things stand today. Let’s all hope that between now and September, some type of cure is found. But the league should insist that all players must wear masks and leave them on as soon as they leave the locker room. 

Monti Ossenfort Will Be a Big Piece to Replace:

Many casual fans may not even recognize his name but make no mistake the loss of Monti Ossenfort will be felt by an organization that seems to get picked through yearly. Ossenfort will be moving on to the Tennessee Titans as the Director of Player Personnel, the same position that Nick Caserio holds with the Patriots. 

Ossenfort became available when his contract ran out just after the NFL Draft. He’s been in the league for 18 years, the last 15 as a member of the Patriots staff. He’s worked his way up the ladder as a personnel assistant, area scout, national scout and assistant director of college scouting and has spent the last six years as the Patriots Director of College Scouting. 

There was really no chance for advancement for Ossenfort with New England. Many in the NFL believe he has a legitimate shot at being an NFL GM, but with Caserio and Belichick atop of the food chain in New England, he would have to look elsewhere. He interviewed for the Browns GM job this year. 

Under his watch, the Patriots continued their yearly job of finding quality football players as undrafted free agents. UDFAs David Andrews, Jonathan Jones, Adam Butler, and JC Jackson have also carved out key roles since he took the reins over as the Director of College Scouting. 

Titans’ GM John Robinson, who spent 10 years with the Patriots has been steadily pilfering Patriots players and coaches to the Tennessee franchise. He and Ossenfort worked together for several years. He also landed head coach Mike Vrable, players Logan Ryan, Dion Lewis, and Malcolm Butler. 

Those are mighty big shoes to fill, however, the team was well aware that he may leave this spring and hired former Browns and Packers executive Eliot Wolf back in February.

No AFC East Notes this week. 

_______________

“Stid worked really hard last year. He was our backup quarterback the entire season, and I know he’s working hard in the offseason. I know he’s made a lot of progress in terms of understanding our offense and understanding opponent defenses like all players do from Year One to Year Two.

“I’m sure he will get out there and be ready to go, be prepared, compete hard, and we’ll see where it takes us.”Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on the confidence in QB Jarrett Stidham

_______________

“So, how was your week?”

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on Stitcher as Russ Goldman, Derek Havens, and myself from PatsFans.com discuss the latest Patriots news and game analysis.

 

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Posted Under: 2020 Patriots Offseason
Tags: 53 Man Roster Projection Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Denver Broncos Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Patriots Patriots 2020 schedule predictions
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