Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 06-07 and AFC East notes this week.
Quick Hitters For the Pats, and the NFL:
Drew Brees: The Saints quarterback has been one of the most iconic and beloved figures in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. How quickly that changed with now fans burning his jersey after his comments this week concerning kneeling during the National Anthem.
Jeff Thomas: With the Patriots getting back to work, the UDFA rookie wide receiver from Miami will be one of the undrafted players that many people will be watching closely. And with good reason. He’s electric with the ball in his hands. The small but incredibly talented player has a great opportunity to carve out a role for himself.
But there was a reason he went undrafted and it had nothing to do with his work on the football field. Like fellow UDFA rookie Nick Coe, Thomas will begin his Patriots career with a clean slate. His success… or failure will be strictly in his own hands. For an offense that needs an influx of speed…Thomas has all that and more.
Damien Harris: Did you get a chance to check out our piece this week on the Patriots 2nd year RB from Alabama? If not, please give it a look, the feeling here is that he’ll play a significant role in the offense this year.
Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene: We haven’t been this stoked to see two rookie tight ends on the roster since 2010 when Rob Gronkowski and he who shall not be named were rookies attending their first training camp. While no one is expecting that kind of production out of the gate, optimism is high.
And why not? There’s nowhere to go but up. Patriots’ tight ends caught a combined 37 passes in 2019, the lowest in the league. And the fact that they traded up for each of the rookies should at least garner some optimism moving forward.
4th & 2 Podcast – If you’ve haven’t checked out our PatsFans.com podcast, “Patriots 4th & 2” in a bit, please check it out. On Friday Russ, Derek, and I talked about some of the offseason issues with the team. 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.
Patriots Issue Statement on George Floyd Death:
The Patriots and the Kraft family issued a statement on the death of George Floyd which has sparked not only protests but rioting and looting as well,
“Over the last several days, we have tried to listen, learn and reflect,” the statement began. “We have been at a loss for the appropriate words, perhaps because there are none to adequately describe the horrific incidents of the last few weeks. It is impossible for us to comprehend what happened to George Floyd or the pain his family must be feeling, a pain that resonates with so many others who have lost loved ones in similar brutalities that were not captured on video for the rest of the world to see. We cannot begin to understand the frustration and fear members of our black community have faced for generations. Recent events have shined a light on a topic that demands much more attention.
“Our country deeply needs healing. We don’t have the answers, but we do know that we want to be a part of the change. As leaders in the New England community, we must speak up. Here is where our family, and our organization, stands:
We are horrified by the acts of racism we’ve witnessed. We are heartbroken for the families who have lost loved ones, and we are devastated for our communities of color, who are sad, who are exhausted, who are suffering. We know that none of the sadness, exhaustion, or suffering is new. We know it is systemic. Our eyes, ears, and hearts are open.
Our family has a long history of supporting vulnerable people in our communities and advocating for equality. But past efforts don’t mean anything until we all stand on equal footing in America, so we must act in the present, and not simply rely on what we’ve done in the past. There remains much work to be done. We will not rest on statements, because words without actions are void. Rather, we will work harder than ever before – through our philanthropy, community engagement, advocacy, and supporting the work of our players – to build bridges, to promote equality, to stand up for what’s right, and to value ALL people.”
Stidham Embracing the Leadership Role:
The Patriots, for the first time in 20 years have a new quarterback under center and 2nd year QB, Jarrett Stidham is embracing his newfound leadership role organizing throwing sessions with his teammates.
ESPN’s Mike Reiss characterized Stidham’s role as being a “catalyst” for the informal workout on a private football field with about six players. Some of the other players involved in the sessions include quarterback Brian Hoyer, wide receivers Julian Edelman, Damiere Byrd, and Gunner Olszewski, and others.
It isn’t known in UDFA rookie QBs J’Mar Smith and Brian Lewerke have been attending the workouts. Non-rehabbing players hadn’t been allowed inside of any team’s facilities yet unless their individual state governors allow it.
Coaches Allowed Back in the Team Facilities on Friday:
Coaches were allowed to return on Friday to NFL team facilities closed because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic as the league slowly begins preparation for training camps and the 2020 NFL season.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Commissioner Roger Goodell told all 32 NFL teams in a memo on Thursday that coaching staffs may begin work from team complexes starting Friday. The number of personnel at team facilities will increase from 75 to 100
Schefter reported that Commissioner Goodell’s memo stated that, ”As has been emphasized in previous advice on reopening facilities, this may occur only if your club has otherwise received the necessary permission from state and local governments to reopen its facility.”
Last Friday, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced during a press conference that the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, and Revolution can begin reopening their practice facilities June 6 with safety precautions in place.
However, healthy players will not be allowed inside of team facilities, only rehabbing players will be allowed inside for now. Schefter reported that healthy players won’t be allowed inside of team facilities until training camp.
Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:
Bills QB Fromm Apologizes For 2019 Text:
Buffalo Bills QB Jake Fromm is quickly realizing that the internet is forever when a text message he made in 2019 was posted to Twitter. In it, Fromm jokingly said that “only elite white people” should be allowed to buy guns.
Fromm wrote, “But no guns are good. They need to let me get suppressors,” before adding, “Just make them very expensive so only elite white people can get them haha.” The fact that later in the conversation Fromm added that he wasn’t an “elite white person” was lost in the social media outrage.
Fromm apologized, “I am extremely sorry that I chose to use the words ‘elite white person’ in a text message conversation,” Fromm said in a tweet on Thursday afternoon. “Although I never meant to imply that I am an ‘elite white person,’ as later stated in the conversation, there’s no excuse for that word choice and sentiment.”
“I stand against racism 100%. I promise to commit myself to being part of the solution in this country.”
The Bills released a statement, saying “He was wrong and he admitted it to us. We don’t condone what he said. Jake was honest and forthcoming to us about the text exchange. He asked for an opportunity to address and apologize to his teammates and coaches today in a team meeting, which he did. We will continue to work with Jake on the responsibilities of being a Buffalo Bill on and off the field.”
Flores, Dolphins Ready to Get Back to Work:
Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores was surprised by the league’s memo allowing coaches to get work while he met with the members of the media, but said the IT staff will set things up for the team.
“We’ve got meetings with the players tomorrow and everyone is set up at their homes. I imagine it would be hard to – we would hate to have a glitch with the players because we want to go back into the office. Those are the things we’ll talk about as a staff with our video department, with our IT department, with the coaches. They all do a great job. If you didn’t have respect or admiration for your IT or video departments during this whole situation, then you do now,” Flores said.
“Our guys have done a great job. But we’ll talk about that this afternoon as a staff. As far as how this has gone with the players, I think the Zoom meetings have been good. We’re making the best of the situation . . . I wish we had our hands on them, but that’s out of our hands, as well.”
Flores has Miami trending in the right direction and the recent COVID-19 pandemic has not just set Miami but all 32 teams back in the preparation. But the chances are, that Flores will have the Fins ready to go.
Jets Trying to Entice OL Kyle Long Out of Retirement:
The New York Jets are trying to build an improved offensive line around QB Sam Darnold and the NY Daily News is reporting that Gang Green is trying to entice Bears OL Kyle Long out of retirement.
Long, a three-time Pro Bowler, spent time on IR in every season between 2016-2019 and finally had enough in January. He called it a career after a plethora of injuries including a torn labrum, strained triceps, and right ankle injury in 2016. Long had shoulder, ankle, and finger injuries in 2017. A foot injury cost him half of the 2018 season. Last year, a hip injury held him to just four games (three at right guard, one at left guard) last season.
Long played at a Pro Bowl level at both right guard and right tackle missing only one game in his first three seasons. But in the next four years, he missed 34 games. Still, he’d definitely help a Jets OL that needs it…if he can stay healthy.
“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?”
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Posted Under: 2020 Patriots Offseason
Tags: 53 Man Roster Projection Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Jarrett Stidham Julian Edelman Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Patriots Patriots offseason workouts