Five Patriots/NFL Things to Know 3/1
Some news and notes for this morning:
1) One name that keeps popping up as a potential player in New England is Saints quarterback Jameis Winston, who will be a free agent this offseason. But it’s safe to say, that’s a player you should hope the Patriots don’t pursue.
Winston is trying to rejuvenate his career after being a quarterback who either lights it up or turns it over, with the latter aspect having been the more frequent in his short NFL career. He threw a staggering 30 interceptions in his final season in Tampa Bay in 2019, with turnovers ultimately submarining a season where he threw for over 5,000 yards thanks also in part to the fact he had a terrific cast around him. One year later, the results were clear what the Buccaneers had and Winston’s tendency to give the ball away remains a trait that certainly can’t be overlooked.
Looking back, if you followed him closely in college (my daughter went to FSU over that span and we watched a lot of the games on television), the downward trend isn’t shocking. Winston had some good moments during his career at Florida State, largely thanks to former head coach, Jimbo Fisher. Despite the fact Winston faced legal challenges after getting in trouble numerous times, which ranged from sexual assault and shoplifting, Fisher did an unbelievable job managing him. Given everything that went on, Fisher still managed to navigate Winston through his self-imposed circus and he got about as much as he could out of the troubled player, which included a National Championship.
However, one thing that stood out while he was in college was there were some red flags. He was slow with his decision-making and he got bailed out quite a few times by some talented guys, including players like receivers Rashad Greene and Kelvin Benjamin, along with tight end, Nick O’Leary. There were quite a few passes where those guys out-muscled opponents for the football, which often happened when Winston was late with a lot of his throws. Getting the ball out late also caused some of those guys to take some unnecessary beatings. While those names may not excite you given their NFL accomplishments, I can tell you that they were among the best at their positions for that school in college. They were also a massive key to Winston’s success.
A lot of those problems carried over into the NFL. Winston had some good coaching and talent around him, but he’s been mostly a barely 60% passer and the mental part of the game is a problem that likely won’t help him if he comes to New England. Josh McDaniels is a terrific coach, but it’s likely that even he can’t pull off a miracle.
Needless to say, if you’re on the Winston bandwagon, that’s a train I don’t recommend you get on. Winston has come a long way as a person, which is great to see. But on the field, he remains the same frustrating hold-your-breath player he was in college. He’ll likely be cheap and there probably won’t be too many teams that bite on him. Either way, unless you’re someone who likes to be frustrated, cross your fingers that he doesn’t end up here.
Brady reportedly battled through a tough knee injury in 2020.
2) There aren’t too many people who ever questioned former Patriots QB Tom Brady’s toughness and it sounds like the veteran quarterback played through a significant knee injury during his championship run this season.
According to the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin, Brady had knee surgery this offseason and it is reportedly going to keep him out at least through June. The initial thought was Brady was just having a “cleanup” procedure, but the long recovery time has some wondering if the injury was more than that.
However, it’s possible that isn’t the case. For a player who has already been down this road previously, it could simply be the fact that Brady has set his own timetable and is simply making it known there’s no reason to push it, which even if he’s not back until June or later, Bruce Arians doesn’t sound worried.
“I’m hoping we have an offseason for the younger players. Tom doesn’t need it,” Arians said via the Globe. “He doesn’t have to be out there throwing it anymore. He can be standing there coaching the [expletive] out of them.”
Anyone who watched Brady’s celebration with his teammates following the Super Bowl shouldn’t be too concerned. Brady didn’t show any noticeable limp or anything significant, although that may have been the tequila that killed the pain. Regardless, expect the Buccaneers to be back in the mix in 2021 and we all know he’ll definitely be ready to go.
3) Volin also had a bit about Jacoby Brissett, who is a free agent this offseason and will be looking for a new football team. Many people have wondered if the Patriots might bring Brissett back and try and build on some of the success they had with him prior to trading him, but it doesn’t sound like that might be the case.
According to Volin, seeing him return to the Patriots seems unlikely. Volin reports that Brissett “didn’t quite click” with Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels the first time, which could potentially keep him off the list of options for New England this offseason.
That’s unfortunate because Brissett showed some potential in his limited action and he’s had some good moments for the Colts. While he may not be a star player, the Patriots are in need of at least a competent option and that remains the biggest concern heading into this offseason.
It sounds like Garoppolo is staying put in San Francisco.
4) 49ers GM John Lynch said recently that he has “no doubt” about Jimmy Garoppolo being under center for them next season, which seems to echo all the local reports who believe that he’s not going anywhere.
The consensus still remains the same. San Francisco appears focused on improving their back-up situation and potentially providing some competition, but they appear ready to roll another year with Garoppolo at the helm. They’ll continue listening to offers and exploring their options but barring a major acquisition to upgrade the position, Lynch seems satisfied enough to remain patient.
The veteran quarterback is likely hearing the whispers and feeling the pressure, which should have him hopefully focused on working hard this offseason to make sure he’s at his best in 2021. But it looks like he’ll remain their quarterback, which probably takes him out of the mix as New England continues their quarterback search.
5) What’s going on in Houston remains interesting to watch, as Deshaun Watson continues trying to fight his way out yet the Texans are dug in and have made it clear they’re not moving him.
Watson reportedly met with new coach David Culley recently and again voiced his displeasure and that he didn’t intend to play there, yet GM Nick Caserio has reportedly stonewalled each team who has reached out to him so far. Watson has made it clear he’s willing to sit and lose millions, and it doesn’t look like he’s willing to change his mind.
Local reporter and long-time Texans writer John McClain wrote over the weekend that he believes the team needs to bite the bullet and start entertaining trade offers to try and keep an ugly situation from getting any worse.
His solution would be to send Watson to the Jets, which is on the list of teams Watson said he’d be willing to play for. In return, Houston could get Sam Darnold and that at least gives them an experienced starter with potential that they can work with.
But as far as McClain is concerned, it appears the damage is done and there’s no fixing the situation. Caserio may be hoping that some big moves in free agency might entice Watson to change his mind, but he also probably faces the obstacle of players balking at going there given all the uncertainty.
As a result, it’s a mess and it sounds like it’s still quite a way from finding a resolution. But the idea of Watson going to the Jets should have any Patriots fan a little nervous, especially after a season where it appears the tide is already beginning to shift in a division that will only get that much tougher if Watson is added to it.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Bill Belichick David Culley Florida State University Houston Texans Jacoby Brissett Jameis Winston Jimmy Garoppolo John Lynch Josh McDaniels Kelvin Benjamin New Orleans Saints New York Jets Nick Caserio Nick O'Leary Rashad Greene Sam Darnold Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tom Brady