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Patriots News October 17, Joe Andruzzi on Mac Jones, Players to Watch

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
October 17, 2021 at 5:00 am ET

Patriots News October 17,  Joe Andruzzi on Mac Jones, Players to Watch(PHOTO: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
Posted: Oct 17, 2021 05:00
🕑 Read Time: 11 minutes

Good morning, here is your Sunday Patriots news 10-17, and AFC East Notes.

Gameday, the Patriots have a big game later this afternoon against the Dallas Cowboys that will be the nationally televised late afternoon game on CBS. Dallas is on a roll, winners of four in a row and have been averaging 200 yards per game during the winning streak. 

This is a good measuring stick on where the current rebuild is for the team. With the opportunity to even their record at 3-3, with a home game against the Jets next week, it would signal a big step forward for the team. 

Have you checked out our sortable stats for the Patriots? It is a great resource for all of the players on the roster.  

Quick Hitters For the Pats, and the NFL: 

Robert Kraft: ESPN’s Mike Reiss and Todd Archer spoke with Patriots owner Kraft and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones about their relationship through the years. Just after purchasing the Patriots for a then-record $175 million, Jones invited Kraft to Atlanta to sit in his owner’s box during the Cowboys’ Super Bowl XXVIII appearance.

Kraft spoke about how he and Jones share a commitment to building the league, business-wise. 

“When Jerry bought the Cowboys five years earlier, he introduced a new and aggressive way to market his team and maximize the revenue in his market. He shook the norm and changed the way NFL owners do business. The Patriots were last in the league in revenue when I bought the team. I was motivated to change that. 

“And Jerry was blazing a trail for new owners like me to follow. I have always enjoyed talking with Jerry. He is passionate about his Cowboys and has great vision for building a brand. I have been on a number of league committees with him over the last three decades which have given us each ample opportunities to discuss league business and the future of the NFL.”

Leaked NFL Emails: The NFL headquarters is a sieve when it comes to securing information on some issues and tighter than Langley on others. However, when it suits the league, they’ll leak information out in a New York second. 

When the subject of John Gruden’s vile language about NFL PA head DeMaurice Smith in his emails first surfaced, the Raiders and owner Mark Davis didn’t act fast enough for Park Avenue. So, it was no surprise when more emails were leaked, with this time, Gruden using homophobic, misogynistic, as well as racist comments. So, Davis accepted Gruden’s resignation (as he should have), but it all ignores a very important fact. Gruden wasn’t the target of the NFL’s investigation. They collected 650,000 emails in a probe into the Washington football team and owner Daniel Snyder in the case of sexual misconduct inside the front office of Washington towards cheerleaders and women employees.

Of course, Park Avenue denied leaking emails about Gruden who was obviously a sacrificial lamb while nary a word was breathed about Snyder and Washington. Gruden is far from innocent here, but it is interesting that the league conveniently “forgot” about Washington once they had their guilty party…Follow the money and the league protects its own, especially after the fallout from Carolina a few years ago. 

As for Washington, all of a sudden they decide at the last minute to retire the deceased Sean Taylor before the game today? Talk about deflection. It is a stain on Taylor’s memory and disrespectful for the team to do this to deflect from their own misdeeds.

Team President Jason Wright tried to spin it but that is total bull…hockey.

Revis’ Latest “No-Fun” Player:  Patriots’ former CB Darrelle Revis who played one season (2014) for New England and won a Super Bowl after languishing for the Jets for most of his career, said he did not enjoy playing for the Patriots and Bill Belichick. 

 “When you deal with the things up there, it’s a little bit strenuous and nobody likes it in the locker room,” Revis said. “That’s to be honest — nobody. Nobody likes it!”

4th & 2 Podcast: If you haven’t checked out our podcast, “Patriots 4th & 2” in a bit, please check it out. Derek, Russ, and I spoke about the Texans game and the upcoming game against Dallas.

Russ Francis/Chuck Fairbanks: The former Patriot tight end and head coach both should be in the Patriots team Hall of Fame…this will be on our Sunday posts until it happens.

Tailgate Food: What’s everyone eating for their pre or post-game tailgate/home feast today? Today seems like a reverse-seared steak and hobo potatoes on the grill type of day…

Former Patriot Joe Andruzzi Chimes in on Mac Jones:

The former Patriots offensive lineman spoke with at length about how he views Mac Jones and his development as well as Tom Brady. is a very good sports site located in England and they have shared the interview they conducted with Andruzzi with 

What do you think of Mac Jones’ start so far as QB1?

“He has a big future in Foxboro, he was my pick. He fits the Patriots mold and he has those leadership qualities that some quarterbacks in this league don’t have.”

“You have to be that leader on and off the field, control those other 10 guys on offense and reflect that on defense when you’re not in the huddle. Mac does have those qualities and you’ve seen that in the first three weeks. They’re not giving up, they’re playing every play so I think there’s going to be a big upside for him here.

“I’m not usually a fan of rookie quarterbacks but he did play at a big-time program (Alabama), so he has experience with the media and all of the other fun stuff that comes with NCAA and NFL.

“If Cam (Newton) was able to nurture him and bring him along, I’m sure Bill would have decided to go for something like that because we all saw what Bledsoe did to Tom. Drew brought Tom along in 2000 and 2001, unfortunately, he got hurt but he still stood by Tom by being a friend and helping him through the offense.”

Players like Cassius Marsh and Lane Johnson have accused the Patriots of having a culture that isn’t “fun”, is there any truth to this?  

“It’s a different day and age now compared to when I played. There are a lot more rules but the culture is hard work and dedication.

“That hard work and dedication wasn’t just Brady, it was everybody. We brought our lunch with us to work.

“In 2000/20001, we were a bunch of nobodies. In comes a quarterback that nobody knew of, he barely was a starter at Michigan, when he came into the huddle we had to slow everything up in order to take a step back to move forward.

“I remember back then (2000’s) we were doing two-a-days. Full pads, twice a day in the first two weeks of camp. During the season, there was always a question mark on whether we’d have pads on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and Fridays were shells. Nowadays, they can only do full pads once a week, if that. 

“They’re preserving their bodies now, that’s why my body is all messed up. You see Tom is still out there, they’ve made a lot of rules for quarterbacks over the years. It’s amazing to look back and think of someone like Steve Grogan who was a quarterback that wore a neck collar, he was getting clotheslined and beat up. Tom’s learned to take a hit but no one trying to take his head off because they know they’re going to get a penalty.”

What hopes do you have for the Patriots this season?  

“In that division, they still have a chance to make the playoffs.

“I’m sure Bill and other coaches are telling the players to ease up and take it one game at a time, stop thinking of the playoffs and situations like the Gilmore scenario. It’s up to the 53 players that are healthy and ready to go to do their job.

“You want the players to go out there and not think about the playoffs as it’s way too early, you want them thinking about that next game.”

You can count Brett Favre and Tom Brady as your former teammates- how did the two compare in terms of personality and attention to detail? And are there any other teammates that stuck with you after you retired?”

“A lot of guys I played with had that competitiveness, determination, and drive.”

“Brett and Tom had many similarities. Brett was a first-round pick but he had that drive and intensity, he was like a big kid out there on the field. We had a great center in Frank Winters and he made a lot of the calls. Brett listened to him, that was his leader out there. Brett also made calls himself and took things into his own hands sometimes.”

“It took quite a few years for Tom to do that but Tom is like another offensive coordinator out there while running the offense. Tom’s another great competitor, they both have that driving force and the leadership skills on and off the field. 

“Being able to go out there week in and week out and still do it after 21 years is pretty amazing and I cheer him (Brady) on every day. He was a great teammate and friend, still helps out my foundation with signing things we auction off to raise money for cancer patients and families.”

Were you surprised at the way Brady was able to win the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay during his first year? 

“No, not at all. His drive, determination, and competitiveness were a reflection of the whole team, and it started here in New England. He can’t go out there and win the game himself but the leadership skills that he had here (New England) reflected on the team for 20 years.”

“He went to Tampa Bay last year and they jumped on board. I’m sure he has a little say in the offense down there, I hear some calls that are very similar to the ones in New England, I get some flashbacks! I’m sure he puts his two cents in whenever he can.”

Tell us about the intensity of camps and training at New England in the early 2000s- do you have any good stories about your time there with so many big personalities around the place? 

“We had fun, we were a bunch of guys from all walks of life. Bill (Belichick) and Scott Pioli at the time were trying to build a big jigsaw puzzle and they draft a kid in the 6th round, they pick me and others up off the streets. They were trying to build a team of smart hard-nosed football players.

“My biggest memory during that era was 9/11. I have three brothers that are New York City firemen, we were very close to losing one, in Tower One, he was one of the first responders.

The team came together and they’d always ask about me and my family. It was a tough grueling season but at that time, coaches and players were all by my side. It (2001) was a good season plus we were able to win the Super Bowl which was the icing on the cake for me because I got a great photo of my whole family holding that trophy up on the field.”

Your career was tragically cut short in 2007 due to cancer, which you defeated. How is your health now, and how much has your foundation raised since opening?  

“I was released by the Browns going into my 11th year, I had calls from Miami and New York. As I was going to visit them, I wasn’t feeling good, my stomach was hurting so I went to the doctor. An hour later, the doctor informed me they had found a large mass in and around my colon.

“Week and a half later, I was on a plane to Boston. I found out I had a rare form of cancer called Burkitt’s Lymphoma, it’s a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s and I had to battle for my life.

“God works in funny ways, I was raising money for brain cancer research for three years, raised half a million dollars with my wife Jen, then here we are calling a doctor for my own health a year later, ironically.

“We were able to come back to Boston for some of the best care around and had a fun stay in the hospital for 50+ days. It was tough on everybody, myself, my wife, and my four kids at the time. Since then I’ve had another.

“The days in the hospital, they mess with your body and mind. Most patients lose their hair, skin tone, and more and I had that too. I lost my eyebrows and eyelashes.

“My wife (Jen) started the Joe Andruzzi Foundation by my bedside and when I got back on my feet we launched the foundation in May 2008. Since then, we’ve helped over 30,000 families and individuals.

“Somebody recently told me ‘I loved what you did on the field, but I love what you do now more.’ that’s great to hear from a stranger.”

Patriots Players to Watch Today:

Every week we look at the game within a game. Here are our players to watch from a Patriots perspective today. 

Mac Jones —  The Patriots’ rookie QB, as we wrote in our pregame keys earlier this week, will have to wear his big-boy pants today against the Cowboys. The Patriots’ coaching staff has taken a very cautious approach with Jones, but if they’re going to win today, he’ll have to be able to be aggressive. Dallas’ offense is very prolific and settling for field goals is a recipe for losing. He’ll have to step up. 

Matthew Judon/Jamie Collins — Judon has been the Patriots’ best player on defense this season and arguably on the entire team. He’s garnered 6.5 sacks already and has been nearly unblockable when rushing the passer. He also has been excellent at setting the edge on the running game. Collins returned to the Patriots and in just three snaps last week got a sack himself. 

Collins was a huge part of the Patriots game against Dallas in Foxboro two years ago. He and Judon will have to really step up their games against the Cowboys this Sunday if the team earns the upset. 

Jonnu Smith/Hunter Henry — The Patriots’ tight ends should be a huge focus on the offensive game plan this week. Dallas has had issues covering tight ends through the first five games ranking 31st in the league in that aspect. Henry and Smith are still finding their way in the offense and finding chemistry with Jones. Although Henry had a very nice game a week ago. 

This week we look for Jones and the offense to attack the seams of the Cowboys and as we wrote, they have to find a way to get Smith the ball, either in the passing game or on jet sweeps. 

J.C. Jackson — The Patriots’ corner had a rough game against the Texans a week ago and this week draws either the Cowboys’ Amari Cooper or Cee Dee Lamb, which is a tall task. He’ll need to be on his A-game this afternoon and can’t have the kind of game he had last week. The injuries are piling up in the secondary, Jackson is the top coverage corner in the secondary, and he’ll have to play like it. 

Rhamondre Stevenson — The rookie RB got back on the field last week and was tentative at first, focusing on ball security. But with Damien Harris limited with a rib injury, and possibly out today, Stevenson is another player who will have to step up his game this week. 

Week 6 Predictions:

The slate of games for Week 6 and my predictions for this week.

Thursday Night Football
Tampa Bay over Philadelphia  1-0

Sunday –
Jacksonville over Miami (London)
Green Bay over Chicago
Cincinnati over Detroit
Indianapolis over Houston
LA Rams over NY Giants
Kansas City over Washington
Carolina over Minnesota
LA Chargers over Baltimore
Cleveland over Arizona
Denver over Las Vegas
Dallas over New England
Sunday Night Football
Pittsburgh over Seattle
Monday Night Football
Buffalo over Tennessee

Last Week:        13-3
Season:             52-28

Last Season:   169-86-1

2019 Season:   162-93-1

Eastbound and Down AFC East Notes:

Ex NY Lt Governor: Bills New Stadium Can Get Done:

The Buffalo Bills’ current lease at their stadium runs out in 2023, and they’ve been trying to find a way to finance a new home for the Bills, despite playing in one of the smallest markets in the NFL. 

“It will not bankrupt the state or county or team,” said Robert Duffy who was the Lt. Governor in the Cuomo administration. He added that “if that money is not spent on that project, it will be spent somewhere else”, but the Bills have a tremendous following and the feeling is, that it is going to get done. 

A new stadium in the Buffalo area will no doubt require that the state put up $1 billion of a proposed $1.4 billion dollar venue. But Duffy believes “A billion dollars is a lot of money anywhere. But when you look at the entire state budget and revenues and project it over years, it is manageable. There is bonding, and ways to make this happen with the state and with the county, and they will work together,” he said to the Buffalo News.

Miami Activates Tua, WRs Isaiah Ford, Kirk Merritt: 

The Miami Dolphins are in London for a “must-win” game against Jacksonville today and they’ll have QB Tua Tagovailoa back and he’s expected to start against the Jaguars. His rib injury isn’t 100 percent healed but Tua said he’s 100 percent ready to play and get back on the field.

With Devante Parker out, the team activated WRs Isaiah Ford and Kirk Merrit. Preston Willams is questionable as well, so the WR core is impacted. 


“KB (Kendrick Bourne) has got some good energy. He brings that out to the practice field every day. It’s fun to have that type of personality and energy interjected into the team. He works hard. Some of the things we’ve asked him to do, I feel like he’s really improved with. He’s got some good skills. Good quickness. He’s got length. Good target. Catches the ball well. He’s quick. Good skillset and is a guy who’s continued to work hard and get better every single day. I have a lot of respect for the way he approaches the game and his work ethic on the practice field..”

Bill Belichick’s comments when asked about how the energy that Kendrick Bourne brings to the table. 


“So, how was your week?”

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

Listen to our Patriots 4th and 2 podcasts on Stitcher and Streamyard as Russ Goldman, Derek Havens, and myself from discuss the latest Patriots news and game analysis.


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About Steve Balestrieri

A former US Army Special Forces NCO and Officer, Steve has been following the Patriots since their days at Fenway Park. Steve has worked in the film industry and wrote as an Military Editor at, as a reporter for the Millbury Daily Voice, Millbury-Sutton Chronicle, and the Grafton News. He's also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Devin McCourty Dont'a Hightower Jamie Collins Joe Andruzzi Mac Jones Matthew Judon Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York Jets NFL Patriots Patriots edge rushers

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