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New England Patriots News 5-31, AFC East Notes

Steve Balestrieri
1 month ago at 5:00 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots News

New England Patriots News 5-31, AFC East NotesSteve Balestrieri - PatsFans.com

Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 05-31 and AFC East notes this week. 

We hope everyone is doing well with COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown, if you’re like everyone else, you are frustrated and tired of being locked down, something we’re all feeling… hang in there, it is almost over.

 Quick Hitters For the Pats, and the NFL:

Patriots Clear to Practice Next Week: The Patriots are behind the power curve with other NFL teams having already been allowed back at their practice facilities. However, in Massachusetts, that is still a no-go. However, that looks like it is about to change. Mass. Governor Charlie Baker said that the Patriots and other sports teams should be able to open their facilities on June 6. 

“We’ve had very positive conversations with our sports teams, the Celtics, the Bruins, the Patriots, the Red Sox, and the Revolution. And this order will also allow professional sports teams to begin practicing at their facilities in compliance with the health and safety rules that all the leagues are developing. Facilities are still closed to the public at this time.”

Perhaps Minicamp or OTAs would be soon to follow. 

Artificial Crowd Noise? No Thanks: Here’s hoping that the league decides against using artificial crowd noise if the league is forced to (and it appears that it will… at least to start the season), without any fans. 

I know the German soccer league uses it and it reportedly sounds natural, however, when the cameras show empty seats… it would border on the ridiculous. I know that the league wants the games to appear as natural as possible, but in this case, please say no. See…you thought I was going to make a Colts reference here…didn’t you?

Beau Allen: The Patriots new addition to the defense via free agency and a Minnesota native took to social media to air his feelings on the horrible George Floyd situation there. Good take, hopefully everyone will pay attention…

 

4th & 2 Podcast – If you’ve haven’t checked out our PatsFans.com podcast, “Patriots 4th & 2” in a bit, please check it out. A couple of weeks ago we recorded a podcast on the 2020 Patriots schedule with our original co-host Damian Jarrett. The band is truly back together. Please give it a listen. 

Russ Francis: The former Patriot tight end needs to be in the team’s Hall of Fame…this will be a frequent sight on our posts until it happens.

“Belichick Loophole” Closed by the League:

The NFL officially closed the loophole in the rules that allowed teams to run an inordinate amount of time off the time clock while in punt formation. It was a rule, that Bill Belichick himself said after he used it against the Jets that needed to be done away with. 

When used, coaches instructed their special teams’ units to intentionally commit delay of the game penalties while in punt formation to bleed time off the clock. In the Patriots 33-0 thrashing of the Jets, New England used that tactic and then had it used against them in the playoffs by Mike Vrable and the Tennessee Titans. 

After the Jets game, Belichick was quoted by the media as saying that the rule needed to be changed. “It was just the way the rules are set up,” Belichick said. “We were able to run quite a bit of time off the clock without really having to do anything. That’s probably a loophole that will be closed — and probably should be closed — but right now, it’s open.”

The NFL’s announcement of the rescinding of the “Belichick Loophole” stated that this, “prevents teams from manipulating the game clock by committing multiple dead-ball fouls while the clock is running.”

Nick Coe Has a Great Opportunity to Earn Himself a Role:

The Patriots defense had a good 2019 but lost some very solid performers at the linebacker position. However, one of the weaknesses that showed itself was the lack of enough big bodies on the interior defensive line. 

They lost Danny Shelton during the offseason but added Beau Allen but two of their top depth guys, Adam Butler and Deatrich Wise, can be a liability in the running game. Wise in particular was victimized by Tennessee in the Wild Card playoff loss.  Enter UDFA Nick Coe. 

Coe was a promising prospect after a very solid 2018 season in Auburn, but his final year was a virtual disaster and the big man watched his stock plummet as he notched just 15 total tackles, three tackles for loss and zero sacks. He skipped the team’s bowl game and was disciplined for sleeping in team meetings as well as for disinterested play. Auburn asked him to play both inside and outside, Coe balked and lost his starting gig. 

Coe, who was listed at 291 pounds reportedly trimmed down to 280 this spring and could be a candidate to push Wise for reps at the Patriots 3-4 DE  position. Or he could be asked to do the same thing and kick inside as an interior pass rusher.  But if he’s going to stick… and he has a great chance to, he‘ll need to embrace the Patriots team-first mantra.

JoeJuan Williams Getting Safety Reps? Great Move: 

Mike Reiss from ESPN had a very intriguing tidbit last week that cornerback Joejuan Williams was adding some safety work during the offseason. That isn’t bad news at all as some folks said last week. Williams is far from a “bust”, but the 2nd round pick was unlucky enough to be added on to the deepest position on the roster. 

While the cornerback position is far from closed to him, Bill Belichick loves some versatility in his players. By getting him some playing time at free safety, he has the size and speed to handle the deep part of the field and would be a great backup to Devin McCourty, who himself made the switch from corner to safety. 

The Patriots have a plethora of depth at strong safety, but not so much at free safety, especially after losing the “closer” Duron Harmon this spring. Williams could find himself playing either corner or safety depending upon the matchups from week to week, even quarter to quarter. At 6’3, 212, he has the size to handle anything. 

Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:

Several Bills Working Out in Florida:

The Buffalo Bills have taken matters into their own hands in regards to getting workouts in despite the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, putting a damper on things…especially in New York. 

Quarterback Josh Allen joined tight ends Dawson Knox, Tommy Sweeney, Jason Croom, and Nate Becker, wide receivers Stefon Diggs, John Brown, Cole Beasley, Andre Roberts, Robert Foster, Ray-Ray McCloud, Nick Easley, Gabe Davis, and Isaiah Hodgins, running back Devin Singletary; quarterbacks Matt Barkley, Davis Webb and Jake Fromm; and left tackle Dion Dawkins.

Diggs is joining the Bills from Minnesota and got in his first work with Allen. The Bills have surrounded Allen with a lot of talent at their skill positions. They already have a very good defense, now they’re just trying to put it all together.

Van Noy- “The Dolphins Are Not the Patriots”:

The Miami Dolphins picked up Kyle Van Noy and others this spring and the veteran edge player is expected to play a big role with the team. Miami picked up four former Patriots this spring but make no mistake…this isn’t New England South. 

“I don’t know how many New England guys there are, but we’re going to get away from that,” Van Noy said in an interview with the Miami Herald. “We’re our own team, this is not the New England Patriots. This is the Miami Dolphins. It’s totally different, and I’m excited for that. New beginnings.”

“We’re the Miami Dolphins. We’re here to represent the people of Miami. They want it bad. I can sense that. Miami’s a football town.” With Brian Flores running the show and a slew of veterans who know how to win…things are turning around in South Beach. And they’ll be carving out their own identity…something they learned in Foxboro. 

Jets Darnold, The Most Important Player in the AFC East, PFF:

The New York Jets Sam Darnold has had a rough first two years in the NFL. But Pro Football Focus (PFF) believes the third-year QB is the most important player in the AFC East. Darnold as had a slew of injuries and illnesses (including mono), as well as having an awful supporting cast around him. 

With better players arriving, one area that must improve is the truly awful play-calling of Adam Gase, which did little for his QB. But with a totally revamped offensive line and wide receiving core may need time to gel as teams aren’t allowed to conduct their normal OTAs yet due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Many predict (including SI) that Darnold will have a prolific passing season in 2020. One thing is for sure, he won’t be getting a free ride from the tough NY media and fans in Year 3. The heat will be on him and his coach right away.

_______________

“Players are engaged. They’re learning a lot of material and putting a lot of time and work in it. They’re following the guidelines that we’ve given them in terms of their training program, on-the-field training program, weight lifting, and so forth. There are obviously varying degrees of facilities, equipment and so forth. But one way or another I think they’re finding a way to work around it, and we are too. I commend them for that. Hopefully, we can string a few good weeks together and be the best prepared we can to get ready for training camp. Certainly not what we’re used to doing, but everybody is dealing with the same situations. We’ll try to make the most of whatever opportunities there are.” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on the team’s approach to offseason workouts due to the coronavirus.

_______________

“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: Patriots News
Tags: Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Joejuan Williams Kyle Van Noy Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Nick Coe Patriots
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