Daily Patriots News and NFL Notes: 5 Things to Know – 6/16
Some news and notes for this morning:
1) Probably the best way to describe Mac Jones so far seems to be that he’s simply consistent. The approach doesn’t seem to change and the accuracy and attention to detail have been two of the key things that have stood out thus far for the rookie.
He reportedly had another solid day on Tuesday, outperforming the other quarterbacks during the practice session despite the fact the coaching staff decided to push him a little more. Even against veteran defenders coming at him with blitzes, for the most part, Jones showed no fear in executing his throws and continues to impress as we close in on just over a month until training camp opens.
It wasn’t all perfect, as Jones was picked off twice toward the end of the day. The first came against linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who the rookie tried to float a throw over. Unfortunately, he underestimated Hightower’s ability to go up and snatch it out of the air and the linebacker picked it off. The second came on a tipped ball at the line, which Kyle Van Noy hauled in.
But the key thing is that for the majority of the time, Jones just keeps doing his thing. He goes out each day, throws the ball accurately and on time, getting it where it needs to be. There’s no hesitation (Newton was said to hold the ball a little longer than he should under pressure during recent sessions) and Jones looks like a player who is already fairly comfortable in the offense.
With Newton being a little erratic and still struggling at times, it’s hard not to wonder if whether or not the consistency by the rookie might sway the coaching staff by the time the season starts.
Newton was asked if he was upset or if the selection of Jones changed anything for him heading into this year, but the veteran – as usual – said the right things and believes the club made the right decision by bringing the rookie he’s dubbed “Mac and Cheese” into the fold.
“Absolutely not,” said Newton. “I didn’t feel any type of way because he was the right pick in my opinion. He was the best player available, and that’s what the NFL Draft is for.”
“As far as having any chip on the shoulder, you’re stating the obvious,” continued Newton. “I don’t need too much to get myself going. It’s no disrespect to Mac. It’s no disrespect to Bill [Belichick] and his decision. I support it 110%, because you still have to do what’s right for the organization, for the long haul.”
Again, there’s still a month to go, but it certainly feels like Jones just keeps going out every day and doing all the little things that could make him a starter sooner than later.
2) Newcomer Matt Judon has seemed to be settling in pretty well, with the former Ravens linebacker continuing to get immersed in New England’s defense.
After piling up 34.5 sacks in five seasons with his former club, the hope is that his production will continue with his new team and considering the group they’ll be putting out there this season, there is definitely enough talent for them to be competitive.
Right now, Judon said he’s focused on working to make sure he understands what he needs to do and knows that execution is going to be key to their success this season.
“I’d love to say that we’re gonna be the best pass rush, but if we don’t go out there and execute, we don’t execute,” Judon said. “So we’ve got some guys that know how to rush the passer. But we’ve all got to go out there and – first of all, I’ve got to just do my job. Do my job, whatever the call this on that snap, I’ve got to execute, and sometimes the ball might get out early, I just want to be effective in every play. We’re gonna see when the Sundays come.”
3) Dont’a Hightower reportedly spoke to reporters yesterday and was asked about the retirement rumors that swirled during his time off last season after deciding to opt-out due to COVID.
The veteran didn’t know where they came from and simply dismissed them, telling reporters that he’s here now working and that’s all that matters.
“I don’t know what y’all want for me to say, man. I’m here,” said Hightower. “I’m working. I’m in minicamp, bruh. I’m not here to write a story for you, dawg. I’m here to work, man. I’m here. I don’t know what else y’all want me to say. If I wasn’t here, then I think that would be something to talk about. But I’m here. Hopefully, that knocks all those questions out.”
Hightower has looked noticeably lighter in camp, which considering all of his past injuries, hopefully, helps him stay a little healthier moving forward as he continues getting ready for the 2021 season.
4) Out in Denver, they’re still trying to put together a new offensive identity, having gone out and acquired quarterback Teddy Bridgewater along with selecting running back Javonte Williams in the second round earlier this offseason.
The addition of Williams adds a little pressure on incumbent Melvin Gordon, who has clearly heard all the whispers in the media about the battle looming heading into camp.
“I’m going to go out there, do my job and compete, and wherever the cards fall, they fall,” Gordon said. “I can’t worry about [the positional battle] too much, even I know that’s kind of the talk right now. The media is making it Javonte versus Mel, who’s going to start, this and that.”
“But it’s not really about that. It’s about us winning football games and finding ways to compete… I’m trying to put the Broncos (back) on the map and keep us on the map.”
As for Bridgewater, he’s been buried out in Denver a bit by all the rumors surrounding Aaron Rodgers potentially going there, but he’s been settling in and getting more comfortable each day. The veteran, who is in a battle with incumbent Drew Lock for the starting job, also recently told the media that he’s finally in a good place both physically and mentally and he’s excited for the season.
“Right now, I’m just at that point where I feel really good,” said Bridgewater. “[I] feel good mentally, spiritually, physically. Every day I come here, I have a smile on my face. [The] energy is positive here, and it’s first class. So being in that type of environment, you have no choice but to feed off that energy. I’m feeling like … if you want me to say I feel like 2015, then I do. I’m just a couple years older, and it takes a little longer for me to get warmed up. I feel pretty good.”
5) In Chicago, the quarterback situation sounds like it’s going to be Andy Dalton to start the season, which means that it may be a while before Bears fans get an opportunity to see Justin Fields start a game, with the first-round pick expected to be a spectator to begin the year.
Head coach Matt Nagy told the media that while the team is excited to have Fields in the fold, they’re excited to see what Dalton does for them this season.
”Our coaches understand that we all get excited about Justin Fields,” Nagy said. ”We’d all be lying if we said something different. With that said, we’re excited about Andy Dalton, too and we know that if we stick to this plan that we have, that everything is going to be just fine.”
Nagy went on to say that they’ll continue evaluating the quarterback position heading into training camp, but the plan will be to start Dalton and then see how things play out from there.
”When you go through OTAs, when you go through training camp, when you go through preseason, the only goal that we have is to put the best quarterback out there and Andy Dalton is our starter, Justin is our No. 2 and Nick (Foles) is our No. 3,” Nagy said. ”And we’re going to play that out and make sure they’re all competing. And that’s as simple as that.”
If Dalton remains “the guy” to begin the season, he’ll be on display in front of the entire country as the Bears open the season on the road against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday Night Football on September 12th.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Bill Belichick Cam Newton Denver Broncos Dont'a Hightower Mac Jones Matt Judon Melvin Gordon New England Patriots Teddy Bridgewater