Some Patriots and NFL news and notes for this morning:
1) Mike Reiss brought up an interesting point in his Sunday column, regarding the fact that Josh McDaniels was front and center with Bill Belichick as the two have attended Pro Days while taking a look at the available quarterback prospects. The fact McDaniels was there was notable because he’ll be one of the key people incorporating that new player into the offense, as well as working on his development moving forward.
McDaniels has had success when it comes to developing quarterbacks, with the offensive coordinator most recently playing a key role in the development of both Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, both of which had gone on to become starters elsewhere. While the verdict is still out on Jarrett Stidham, there’s no question that if they do take someone in first-round in the coming weeks, making sure that person fits McDaniels long-term plans will obviously be an important decision.
The big question right now appears to be who might be available by the time they’re on the clock, with the 49ers trade with Miami throwing a monkey wrench into things. The indication now is that San Francisco seems to be interested in taking Mac Jones, who was a player the Patriots were said to be favoring. Jones was initially thought to be a player who might be available but his stock has skyrocketed recently and as it currently stands, it looks like the Patriots will need to trade up to even have a shot at a top-tier QB, as they’re all expected to be long-gone by the time New England would pick at #15.
For now, the goal is for McDaniels and Belichick to hopefully find the player who can get the most out of all the roster additions this season. But the fact that McDaniels has been involved shows that Belichick is focused on making sure whoever they do select, hopefully, especially since their future will be in his hands, that it’s the right player.
2) One name that we’re all wondering about heading into 2021 is Julian Edelman, who I think it’s safe to say none of us is sure how he’s going to fit in with this new group of players.
For a guy who has been such an intricate part of what they do, Edelman is clearly at a point now where coming off of a significant knee injury, it’s going to be tough for him to still be that player.
He clearly has the respect of Belichick and the coaches and it sounds like however it plays out, they’re going to try and handle it the right way. According to Greg Bedard, it sounds like the team may be already planning to move on from him and would even be willing to send him to Tampa if that’s ultimately where he has an opportunity to go.
From Bedard’s Sunday column:
No definitive news on Edelman, but people around the team don’t talk about him much, and the consensus is they will help him give it one more go elsewhere (Tampa?), or he’ll retire.
I think I fall into the category of people in denial that #11’s time in New England could be coming to an end. It’s pretty incredible when you go back and look at how it all unfolded when the Patriots signed Danny Amendola to replace Wes Welker and it instead ended up being Edelman who stepped up in a massive way and became that player.
His rise is one of the best stories in the history of this team, especially for a player who started as a 7th-round pick and turned into the reason they added three more titles. It’s safe to say that without Edelman, those don’t happen and it will definitely be hard to see him go when that day does finally come.
3) It sounds like the days of both of the McCourty brothers being in the Patriots’ defense could be coming to an end.
The New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy reports that there’s mutual interest between the Giants and Jason McCourty, which could mean he could be joining former Patriot coach Joe Judge (now the Giants coach) this season.
McCourty recently said he’s planning on continuing to play but also wants it to be somewhere where he can be a mentor while playing for a club who wants him to be there.
He recently told Good Morning Football that this next contract “could be it” and he’s looking forward to whatever that opportunity is.
“This year in free agency has been different obviously with the cap and everything going on as a result of 2020,” McCourty said. “I just want to be somewhere where I’m wanted and an opportunity to compete and help the guys around me. As an older player, I really look forward to and love being able to mentor younger guys and be able to kind of help them grow as well as going in there competing and trying to win games. So wherever that may be, I’m going to be excited. This will be year 13, so each year you’re closer to the end, this could be it. So I’m just excited to get somewhere and play football.”
It would be sad to see him go, but it was definitely great to have him here. He’ll also be forever remembered for the end zone pass break-up against the Rams that saved a touchdown and ultimately helped them win their most recent championship.
4) One other interesting note this morning comes from Albert Breer’s column as he looked at the situation with the New Orleans Saints offense, which now needs to evolve after Drew Brees finally announced his retirement.
They’ll have a new QB this season and a different offense compared to what they did with Brees at the helm, which is something they’re apparently still trying to iron out.
But this point I thought was interesting. Breer points out that Brees being hurt at multiple points in recent years already forced the Saints to adjust, which sort of has them a little better prepared for this point. He points out the parallel in New England where when Tom Brady was here, the offense revolved around what he did and there wasn’t much time last offseason for the coaching staff to really evolve from that.
From Breer’s column:
Brees’s injuries the last two years actually made the offense more flexible. At one point, I mentioned to Payton how I’d always heard the Patriots’ offense became bastardized over the years—really morphing to be Tom Brady’s system, more than New England’s system. As I brought that up, Payton knew where I was going, and jumped in to say that, yes, it was fair to say that had happened in New Orleans to a degree as well.
But then, he mentioned how the Saints—because Brees went down for a month in 2019, with Bridgewater coming in for him, and down for another month in 2020, with Hill coming in for him—have already had to reckon with how an offense made to fit No. 9 like a glove would do with another set of hands at the wheel.
“Those were stretches of five and four weeks,” Payton said. “There are certain things that you begin to do and you take for granted, and then when you go back through it all, each year, there’s a little evolution to what you do offensively. Drew played a big part in that, relative to us building on it. And that five-game stretch with Teddy, it was, Hey, let’s not just try to just throw it out there. We treated it differently.
“The offense was the offense, the communication, the system. It’s no different than an iPhone and an Android. So there’s terminology that stays constant; there’s all of that. But it’s trying to look at what the player’s strengths are and how can we try to win each game. The one thing, having gone through that, clearly, Drew is someone who’s a winner and he understands and appreciates what it takes.”
That may be true, but it’s doubtful anyone here is really disappointed about the multiple championships they won prior to being in this situation. The Saints, meanwhile, can’t say the same.
5) Patriots fans lost an icon recently, with Janie Ritchie of the team’s “End Zone Militia” passing away.
Ritchie was part of the iconic group fans have seen each Sunday at Gillette Stadium celebrating touchdowns, which also included her son, Chris.
The team acknowledged her passing on Friday on Twitter.
According to her obituary, she passed away on March 31st, although no details on her death were provided.
She was clearly a larger-than-life personality and was known by all of the players, who enjoyed seeing her each Sunday. There’s also a terrific column about her by Steve Buckley that ran in the Athletic back in 2019, which really painted an unbelievable picture of who she was.
Edelman once said that she was one of the things he looked forward to most each Sunday.
“She makes my day,” Edelman said. “She comes out, she has a smile on her face, and they’re a big part of what we are, and the whole history of the Patriots.
“We’ve all shared a lot of special moments.”
Our thoughts go out to her friends and family.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Bill Belichick Jacoby Brissett Janie Ritchie Jarrett Stidham Jason McCourty Jimmy Garoppolo Josh McDaniels Julian Edelman New England Patriots New Orleans Saints