Some news and notes for this morning:
1) Cam Newton’s hand injury was bad news for a player who is trying to take a step forward in his second season with the team, but his time away from the field apparently did benefit one player.
While Mac Jones obviously saw an increased workload, the same can be said for Jarrett Stidham and it sounds like he took advantage of it.
According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Jones had moments where he wasn’t quite as sharp as he needed to be and that allowed Stidham to stand out. Reiss pointed out that Stidham was sharp during 11-on-11 drills, delivering “a few impressive throws” that included some high-velocity ones where he said, “there might as well be smoke coming off the football.”
That’s good news for Stidham, who has started making a little noise as he appears to be battling harder than he did at this point last year. With a crowded quarterback room and the Patriots’ future QB already in-house, he faces an uphill battle.
The early reports on Newton’s hand are promising with what’s being called a “bone bruise”. He was also spotted smiling in the locker room and is expected to be OK heading into training camp.
As we know, anything can happen between now and the end of preseason, so the fact Stidham’s coming on strong will only see his stock continue to rise, and that certainly isn’t a bad thing.
2) Speaking of Newton, one of the things that worth mentioning is that when it comes to accuracy, he’s still not quite there when it comes to the little things.
Tom Curran pointed out during his recent podcast last week that the issue that stymied the Patriots offense last year with Newton hasn’t quite worked itself out yet, as he’s still trying to improve on his touch throws. Phil Perry brought up the fact that it appears that Newton’s size as a player is still holding him back, preventing him from having a smooth throwing motion. Curran took it one step further and cited the team’s bucket drill, which brought that issue to the forefront.
“When we talk about Cam’s inaccuracy, you saw it last week during the first OTA when they were doing the bucket throws,” said Curran. “Yes, of course, a guy who plays quarterback in the NFL for a living is going to be around the bucket. But his misses were profound misses relative to the Brian Hoyer, Jarrett Stidham and Mac Jones misses. I mean, he was 8-10 yards off on some of them.”
“So while we can find instances where Cam Newton is with momentum stepping into a pass, having a motion that doesn’t bring the ball down by his quadriceps, and his feet are on point, eventually…here’s the thing, it’s not going to be 8 or 9 out of 10 on those, it’s going to be 6 out of 10 and under duress, it’s probably going to be 5 or 4 out of 10 where it looks like that. Then you’re inviting in that inaccuracy that can put the offense underwater.”
3) For anyone hoping to see Julian Edelman pull off a Rob Gronkowski-esque return to football and come back in a limited role, it doesn’t sound like that’s going to be an opportunity for him.
Edelman revealed during a recent appearance on Chris Long’s podcast that it’s a risk he’s not willing to take given where his knee is at.
“Right now I have no thoughts of going back,” said Edelman via the Boston Globe. “I can’t. My knee is pretty jacked up. I could go out and run right now and it would feel great, but if I would compound five days a week, two weeks, three weeks . . . I don’t feel like dealing with that. I’ve gone past the fence.”
As for whether or not coaching might be in his future, it doesn’t sound like that’s going to be in the cards, either. Edelman pointed out that the time commitment is more than he’s willing to make, especially given the time away from family that coaches sacrifice.
“I put 14 hours a day in as a player, then you see coaches that probably put in another five hours,” Edelman said. “When you’re leaving the facility and you’re seeing the coach in the parking lot with his family in his car, who had to come see him at his little dinner break before they have 9 o’clock [meetings]. I’ve seen guys playing catch with their kids in the parking lot.
“I can’t do that, and that’s why you tip your hat to guys in New England that have put in so much time.”
4) Julio Jones going to the Titans will certainly have an impact on the Patriots, who will face Tennessee in Week 12 at home at Gillette Stadium.
The Titans acquired him in a trade over the weekend, adding to a pretty talented Tennessee team that finished the 2020 season 11-5 before getting knocked out by the Ravens in the Wild Card round.
The deal cost Tennessee a 2022 second-round pick as well as a 2023 fourth-round selection. Atlanta did include a 2023 sixth-round pick to the Titans in exchange for the receiver, who will have to undergo a physical to complete the trade. According to SI’s Albert Breer, the Patriots were apparently never in the mix, with Breer reporting that the club “never showed real interest to Atlanta” for his services.
When healthy, Jones is definitely dangerous and he’s been tough for the Patriots to defend. In their previous meeting in 2017, Jones caught 9 passes for 99-yards including a touchdown in a match-up at Gillette Stadium, and many will obviously recall the game during the Super Bowl comeback win over Atlanta where he also caught 4 passes for 87-yards.
He’s a dangerous player and we’ll see how well they’re able to deal with him this time around. However, it doesn’t change the fact that the transaction added a bit to the level of difficulty the Patriots are already facing heading into 2021.
5) Peter King was asked by someone about the fact that people like Bill Belichick and other coaches who have brought family members into their staff, which is making it tougher on minority coaches (and non-minority candidates with more experience) to land a position.
King pointed out that since most teams are family-owned, it’s not that difference from many other businesses that are made up that way.
First, I’m not applauding Belichick for having his sons on the staff. I’m simply acknowledging that Belichick would probably feel good about being able to get them started in a business they both want to work in. Whether they succeed or fail ultimately will be up to them. You could argue—and many would—that it’s unfair for a head coach to put his kids on the coaching staff. But Don Shula’s kids, Bill Belichick’s kids, Mike Shanahan’s kid, Pete Carroll’s kids, Mike Zimmer’s kid—they all get an unfair edge. For lots of team owners, it becomes a family business, just like family businesses outside of sports.
Isn’t that the way of the world? Don’t law firms look kindly on the law school-grad kids of their partners? Did John David Washington get his foot in the door in Hollywood because he’s the son of Denzel? Don’t many universities open the admissions door wider for legacies? In politics, the Romneys, Bushes and Cuomos all have been able to smooth the way for their sons into politics. The NFL for years has had a nepotism problem when it comes to coaches. But because in most places the head coaches control the makeup of the coaching staff, and because owners don’t feel it rises to an offensive level, they just let it go.
Again, it remains to be seen long-term if Belichick’s children will be able to both prove themselves and maintain the level needed in the NFL, but the fact they’re both on the staff isn’t exactly a surprise. While the argument can be made as to why they shouldn’t be there, the results, for now, speaks for themselves.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Atlanta Falcons Baltimore Ravens Bill Belichick Brian Hoyer Cam Newton Jarrett Stidham Julian Edelman Julio Jones Mac Jones New England Patriots Tennessee Titans