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Patriots News and NFL Notes: 5 Things to Know 5/18

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4 months ago at 10:31 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots News

Patriots News and NFL Notes: 5 Things to Know 5/18Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Here are this morning’s headlines:

1) Raise your hand if you had forgotten all about Brian Hoyer up until last night.

The club re-signed the veteran to a one-year deal on Mondy night, bringing him back to Foxboro for at least one more season.

Hoyer has spent much of the offseason in limbo, becoming a forgotten man given all the quarterback talk prior to the draft.  The veteran QB fell out of favor here last season, with his stock completely plummeting thanks to a rough outing in Kansas City last season.  Many remember what was a nightmare of a game for Hoyer, with the quarterback making some bad decisions in critical moments, most notably at the end of the first half of that game.

Despite the defense keeping them in the game to that point, Hoyer cost his team points twice after taking a strip-sack on one drive and then followed it up on the final possession of the half by taking a sack when they were out of timeouts.  Worse yet, Hoyer attempted to call a timeout, clearly signaling he wasn’t aware of the situation.

That game pretty much sealed things for the veteran, who was later replaced by Jarrett Stidham to finish the contest.  Stidham also then moved ahead of him on the depth chart for the remainder of the season.

That essentially left Hoyer on the outside looking in this offseason, with the Patriots seemingly ready to move on from him.  The veteran QB didn’t seem to draw much interest in free agency, having visited the Jets back at the beginning of April along with previously being rumored to possibly land in Miami.

But neither of those two scenarios materialized and it looks like Bill Belichick opted to give him yet another opportunity back here in New England for one more season.

The one red flag from Hoyer’s signing may be the fact that since the likelihood of them bringing four quarterbacks into the season seems unlikely, this could be bad news for Stidham.

One possibility could be that if Stidham plays well enough, given Belichick’s past history, it’s hard not to wonder if he could end up being dealt at some point.  Needless to say, it will be another storyline to follow during what’s already been an interesting offseason.

2) The Patriots made a couple of signings prior to the start of their offseason activities on Monday.  The club reportedly added some depth on their offensive line, bringing back James Ferentz while also adding Alex Redmond.

Ferentz has been with the team since 2017, having appeared in 24 games during that span, including two last season.  He was originally an undrafted free agent with the Texans back in 2014 for two seasons, while also playing in Denver prior to coming to Foxboro.

He’s also been part of two Super Bowl Championship teams, winning one during Peyton Manning’s final season in Denver, as well as winning one here during the 2018 season.

As for Redmond, the former standout from UCLA is also a previously undrafted player who began his NFL career in 2016 having spent his first five years with the Bengals, appearing in 32 games with 24 starts, which included 7 in 2020.

3) One interesting note I came across was the fact that Tom Brady’s return to Foxboro wasn’t necessarily a given for NBC to carry the game on Sunday Night Football, despite being what you would have thought should have been an obvious choice by the league.

According to the Athletic, NBC really wanted to carry the game, with Sunday Night Football executive producer Fred Gaudelli having made that match-up a priority for the network this offseason.  He put together a convincing PowerPoint presentation and presented it to Roger Goodell, to try and convince him that Sunday Night Football would provide the best way to showcase the contest, ahead of both Monday Night Football or a potential Thursday Night game.

“The slides showed what we could do to amplify it and give it even greater exposure,” Gaudelli said. “It wasn’t that formal a presentation. We had a two-pronged approach. I took Howard [Katz – the senior VP of broadcasting and media operations for the NFL] through it and Pete [Bevacqua – chairman of NBC Sports] took Hans Schroeder [executive VP and chief operating officer of NFL Media] through it. And then they presented it to Roger.”

That presentation apparently happened well before the schedule was officially announced by the NFL, with Gaudelli and his team apparently not finding out they had the game on their network until the day it came out.

When he got the news, he and his team were thrilled.

“I just kept saying I’m optimistic, but I don’t know,” Gaudelli said. “Right after I get the schedule, I send it to Mark [Lazarus – the chairman of NBCUniversal television and streaming] and Pete and we got a text chain going. They were ecstatic.”

Most expect that game to draw big numbers, with Gaudelli comparing it to “The Manning Bowl”, which drew 22.6 million viewers back in 2006.  One would have to believe that if both teams are playing well heading into Week 4, this one should easily shatter that number.

NBC is definitely the right choice.  Of the primetime broadcasts, it remains the most well-produced of the three and it will definitely be one of the most anticipated games of 2021.

4) Speaking of that match-up, New Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon did an “Ask Me Anything” with Bleacher Report and he had a little nugget on going up against Tom Brady.

When asked about which quarterback was the toughest to sack, Judon said Brady was far and away the most difficult, but not for the reasons you might think.

“Tom Brady is the toughest just because he intentionally grounds the ball every time,” said Judon. “Every time I’m about to get a sack on him, he throws the ball away. My favorite, I don’t think I have a favorite. Obviously, Ben Roethlisberger. That rivalry runs deep. Any sack I can get, I will take.”

As a result, keep that one in the back of your mind for that meeting this season.  It should be fun to keep an eye on.

5) Some good news for Juantarius Bryant, following up yesterday’s news after we found out he had been tricked into showing up in Atlanta for a tryout that he actually wasn’t invited to and was turned away from.

This time, he’s been invited to a HUB Football camp on May 23rd, which is a league that agent Don Yee founded to help provide players a potential path to the NFL.

Good luck to Bryant, as hopefully, he’s motivated and ready to work.  We’ll have to keep an eye on him and see if he potentially lands on someone’s Training Camp roster in the coming months.


Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Alex Redmond Bill Belichick Brian Hoyer Cincinnati Bengals Denver Broncos Houston Texans HUB Football James Ferentz Jarrett Stidham Juantarius Bryant Kansas City Chiefs Matthew Judon New England Patriots Peyton Manning sunday night football Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tom Brady


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