Some news and notes on this Monday:
1) Another point to consider heading into training camp as Cam Newton tries to secure the quarterback job was something Tom Curran mentioned in his recent podcast when it comes to the difference between Newton and rookie Mac Jones, which Curran believes could play a factor.
As Jones continues getting comfortable in the offense, Curran brought up the point that when if comes down between the two, Newton will likely have a key edge largely due to his size and athleticism. Curran feels that if they’re facing looks early in the season defensively that are tough to diagnose and they face pressure, Jones lacks the athleticism to take off and run, which Curran feels is another aspect that could play into the coaching staff’s decision over who will start the season at quarterback.
“When you get in against Miami and it’s 3rd-and-6, and you’re like, ‘holy crap, I have no idea what they’re doing’, and Cam gets to his third step and he’s thinking that, he can take off,” said Curran. “That’s something that Mac Jones is not going to be able to do. And that’s why I truly believe that unless you see an absolute knock-out performance by Mac Jones and you have a clear demonstration that Cam Newton is an impediment to the success of the offense, then Cam Newton is going to start.”
It makes sense. It’s a lot for any rookie to process and while the Patriots coaching staff pushed him hard over the final span before their final practice session, Jones still has a lot to learn. When you also take into account that it’s not just the offense he needs to worry about, there’s no substitution for experience, which Jones obviously lacks at the NFL level in terms of looking at more complex defensive fronts than he saw in college.
As a result, it’s probably going to take some time before Jones can easily recognize things on the other side of the football. With the goal obviously being to keep him upright and out of harm’s way, there’s not much of a reason to push the issue should Newton show up and take care of business next month. If the veteran can string together a decent month of practice, his athletic ability could be another reason why they’ll let Jones sit back and watch to begin the season.
2) What’s also interesting is the fact that, despite his efforts this offseason, Jarrett Stidham appears to have improved but it’s clear that the coaching staff already seems to have made up their mind on how they feel about him as a player.
In the same podcast, Phil Perry pointed out that that belief stems from the simple fact the coaching staff allotted far more reps to Jones and it’s clear that they believe long-term, he’s going to be the better option.
“The sheer number of reps that [Jones is] getting that Stidham is not getting is overwhelming,” said Perry. “It’s not anything that Stidham hasn’t done to this point. I think it’s just, they’ve seen what Stidham did over the first two years of his career and they have higher hopes for Mac Jones already. Maybe Jarrett Stidham can still compete for a roster spot, can still compete to be the backup guy here but it really, right now, is between Cam and Mac Jones.”
Curran believes that part of that reason is simply because of the fact the coaches have already seen what Stidham has done so far and that he’s still not where he needs to be.
“That’s what’s so funny when you think about it and you drag that forward into this conversation, ‘Well, why is Mac Jones ahead of Stidham?’ Because he already kind of knows what he’s looking at and Stidham still doesn’t,” said Curran. “His reactions and processing is difficult. So that being the case, that’s what’s going to be the determining factor for whether or not Mac Jones is out there. Not how often he puts it on a platter in front of James White and allows him to make yards after the catch. If Cam throws it at his knees but knows better what to do with the ball, Cam’s going to start. Really, I think that’s what it will be.”
3) Mike Reiss’ take on the Stephon Gilmore situation is interesting. Reiss wrote about the situation in his Sunday Notes and he seems to remain hopeful that the two sides will reach an agreement to extend the veteran, who wasn’t present for the club’s mandatory minicamp as his contract situation continues to drag on.
Reiss believes that Gilmore’s mindset is less “acrimonious” and that staying away was simply the best way to send a message to the team.
From his column:
Cornerback Stephon Gilmore didn’t report to mandatory minicamp, and while some holdouts can become acrimonious, my sense on Gilmore’s mindset is different. He seems to enjoy being a Patriot, is open to sticking around, and this was his least-expensive-but-most-decisive way of sparking more productive contract talks with the team, so he can feel better about being part of New England’s present and future.
Gilmore reportedly is seeking a multi-year deal and it’s tough to say whether it’s the dollar amount or the contract length that’s holding things up. With training camp just over a month away, this will obviously be a situation that everyone will be keeping an eye on as having Gilmore on the field in 2021 is likely going to be part of whatever success they’re hoping to have coming off of a 7-9 season.
4) Chris Roling of Bleacher Report offered up an interesting scenario as he looked at all 32 teams heading into training camp.
Roling proposed a handful of trades he believes clubs should make, with two directly affecting the Patriots.
The first is that he believes that the Pittsburgh Steelers should figure out way to acquire Chase Winovich, who seems to be at a strange place right now with New England and Roling believes would be a great fit in Pittsburgh and he feels a 4th round pick should be enough to get it done.
Another team that lost some big pass-rushing help this offseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers could still make some of that back with some savvy maneuvering on the trade market this summer.
As expected, the Steelers lost franchise player Bud Dupree on the open market. While his season was cut short by injury, he still had eight sacks over 11 games and continued to be a core piece of the defensive puzzle.
Looking across the AFC to a team like New England might be able to help fill that void a bit. Chase Winovich played just 58 percent of the Patriots’ defensive snaps last year but had 5.5 sacks for the second season in a row.
After a roster reset, the Patriots might be willing to let a versatile piece like that go for the right price. It’s the type of low-cost move the Steelers are capable of making into a big win on the field given the unit Winovich would join.
With the rise of Josh Uche and a defensive group that even without Winovich already seems formidable, it’s tough to say whether or not Belichick might look to move on from the former Michigan standout. Sending him off to an AFC contender while adding a chip on his shoulder doesn’t seem ideal, but it’s a reminder that this situation remains unresolved and will be something else to watch heading into training camp.
One other scenario Roling discussed was that he believes the Patriots should try and acquire receiver Anthony Miller from Chicago. He believes that Miller has a high upside but just hasn’t realized it yet, potentially due the quarterback issues they’ve had during his tenure there.
Miller does sort of fit the mold of what the Patriots tend to look for, a player who isn’t a big name but in the right system, could be productive.
The biggest knock on him out of Chicago on Miller seems to be a lack of commitment to the playbook, which is what even has him in the discussion as a possibility for the Bears to move on from him. With both Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor reportedly having trouble catching footballs during the team’s recent minicamps, there already appears to be some doubt about the position and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Patriots make a move to bring in another player.
However, should that happen, they’ll likely be looking for less risk and more reward, and it’s tough to say whether or not Miller would fall into that category.
5) We’ll leave you with this one. While Rob Gronkowski has obviously been known for doing some wild stuff, it seems another NFL tight end appears to be challenging him.
Former NFL tight end Bear Pascoe has moved on from catching footballs to becoming a professional steer wrestler, and it seems he couldn’t be happier.
According to Pascoe, it’s a passion he’s always wanted to follow and he’s enjoying it so far.
“When I was done I decided to dive right into (steer wrestling),” said Pascoe. “It was something I was always interested in. It excites me.”
Pascoe says that his experience going up against big defensive players has played a key role in the transition, which he says still makes him focus on his techniques as he competes in a different arena than the gridiron.
“(Blocking in football) is kind of the same idea of tossing a steer – being low, being stable being able to use your body and have good techniques,” said Pascoe.
Is he enjoying it as much as catching touchdowns? That appears to be the case and it appears he’s found something he truly enjoys doing now that his playing days are over.
“Back in the box and going back and bulldogging a steer I tell guys it gives me the same adrenaline I get when I go out and catch a pass or go out and score a touchdown,” said Pascoe.
Pascoe actually finished his NFL in New England after joining the club on July 27, 2016, before being released just shy of a month later on August 22, 2016.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Anthony Miller Bear Pascoe Cam Newton Chase Winovich Chicago Bears Jarrett Stidham Kendrick Bourne Mac Jones Nelson Agholor New England Patriots Pittsuburgh Steelers Stephon Gilmore