Some news and notes on this Friday:
1) The work continues down in Florida for Mac Jones and the Patriots receivers, and it looks like the quarterback decided to share some of what’s been going on with the fans.
Jones posted some footage on his own Instagram page, following up on footage already shared by teammate Kendrick Bourne as the group gets some work in early in this offseason.
The second-year QB appeared to be in good spirits, connecting on some big throws in the video which included a caption of “Got to keep working. Let’s Roll.”
You could see a fair amount of intensity from Jones, who was throwing the ball well and already looks a bit stronger compared to his rookie season.
Some extended footage from this week’s Patriots throwing sessions, via Mac Jones’ IG. pic.twitter.com/lIvohZ036h
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) April 8, 2022
He’ll be looking to build on a 2021 season that saw him finish with 3801-yards and 22 touchdowns, along with 13 interceptions while completing nearly 68% of his throws.
2) Given how much they liked him during his college days, there’s been a fair amount of buzz recently in Arizona about the potential of seeing the Cardinals possibly strike a deal with the Patriots to bring N’Keal Harry back to the desert.
When you take into account the talent Arizona already has offensively, the notion of bringing Harry in as a potential third receiver is one that appears to be intriguing to those who believe a change of scenery could potentially see Harry show glimpses in the same area he excelled during his career at Arizona State.
Obviously, that would require the Patriots to finally be willing to part ways with Harry, which at this point hasn’t happened. Some speculation has pointed to seeing them possibly make a move during draft weekend, and the recent addition of DeVante Parker does seem to signal that an end is coming.
Arizona is apparently dealing with their own disappointment in receiver Andy Isabella, who was selected by the Cardinals in the same draft as Harry in the second round. Isabella has just 31 receptions for 426 receiving yards and three touchdowns in 36 games.
According to an SB Nation report, what’s scary is that the Patriots reportedly also had a pre-draft interest in Isabella. So, it appears they at least dodged that bullet.
As for Harry, whether or not a change of scenery will be the answer for the embattled receiver remains to be seen. But should Arizona be willing to give Bill Belichick a late-round pick to get a deal done, it’s probably safe to say very few people here in New England would be disappointed.
3) With the new additional areas coming thanks to the new renovation project going on at Gillette Stadium, that means they’re going to need more parking spaces to accommodate those additional people.
According to a report on NECN, the club is apparently looking to add additional parking, with the goal of adding about 3,000 new parking spots across from Gillette Stadium. However, local residents who live near the stadium are putting up resistance after learning about the proposal.
Their concerns center on the fact that the project would include the removal of trees, which they feel would increase the noise level from an area that they believe is busy enough as it is.
“It is an ongoing issue,” Dawn Freiberger, who lives in South Walpole told NECN. “And it’s not just Patriots game. It’s all the events at the stadium, concerts…”
“They all impact us as at some levels and the closer they are, the more it will impact us,” she added.
She’s apparently not the first person to say something, as the club has already made modifications to its initial proposal, which has since included the addition of adding a berm near some of those areas.
The goal of adding the spaces is to try and make things more efficient getting fans in and out, which will reportedly include delayed exit parking. That means fans would be required to wait 75 minutes following an event to leave in exchange for free parking.
For now, while they’ve taken the concerns into account, Dan Krantz of the Kraft Group said that they still need to try and move things forward to try and also accommodate fans who visit the stadium.
“We believe we’ve taken these comments into consideration,” said Krantz. “We do however need to maintain control of our parking and the operations thereof, so it’s an important matter for us, for future development of ours.”
4) Anyone who remembers the early days of the Patriots likely recalls the name Terrell Buckley, who was a solid defensive player for Belichick during their early championship runs.
It sounds like Buckley is going to be getting quite the opportunity as Aaron Wilson reports that the former NFL player is set to become the new head coach of the XFL Orlando franchise.
He’s already spent time in the coaching ranks, having started his coaching career back in 2007 at Florida State, which is also where he played in college.
Buckley played well during his time with the Patriots, including a memorable moment in the Super Bowl in 2001 against the Rams where he picked up a fumble that was forced by safety Antwan Harris, returning it deep into St. Louis territory to set up the eventual touchdown by the late David Patten.
The former defensive back admitted that after looking at the film, he could have – and should have – scored on that play.
“Our whole game plan was, if they caught it, we were going to be very physical with them,” Buckley told gulflive back in 2012. “When I watch the tape, I see now that I cut the wrong way. … I cut right back into a Rams player. If I had cut the other way, I would have walked in for a touchdown.”
Buckley spent two seasons with the Patriots, playing for the club from 2001 to 2002.
The XFL is reportedly set to begin playing games in 2023.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
5) While doing some digging, I came across this bit from a piece I posted a year ago, which highlighted a terrific article from Boston Globe writer Nicole Yang on then newcomer, Kendrick Bourne.
Yang spoke in depth at the time to Bourne, who admitted that he had grown quite a bit as a player and as a person since working his way from an undrafted free agent to quietly becoming one of the better receivers in the league.
He went on to tell her that one of the challenges Bourne has dealt with along the way is a similar problem most young players go through, which is dealing with the responsibility of suddenly experiencing an influx of income.
As a rookie, Bourne received a $5,000 signing bonus along with a salary of $465,000, which he admitted went out as soon as it came in.
He admitted to Yang that he “almost went really broke”, which was definitely a learning experience. Since then, he’s hired a new agent, Henry Organ, who has helped Bourne start making better budgetary decisions. He’s set him up with a financial adviser, who helped him set up an investment fund. Organ also has access to his accounts and keeps an eye on anything concerning Bourne might do, and keeps him honest.
He’s also pushed Bourne to become a better player, which has seen him get into a better workout routine. Instead of working out more causally, Bourne works out each day to help him reach the level he wants to be. Now he’s hoping it pays off in New England.
“I would just go to the field one day here, one day there,” Bourne told the newspaper. “But I’m trying to be a 1,000-yard guy, 10-touchdown guy, 100-catches guy, so I have to do everything it takes rather than just a little bit. That’s the main thing I want to show.”
He finished his first season in New England with 55 receptions for 800-yards and 5 touchdowns so he already appears to be well on his way. We’ll see if he can take the next step when he takes the field again this September.
Posted Under: 2022 Patriots Offseason
Tags: Arizona Cardinals Gillette Stadium Kendrick Bourne Mac Jones N'Keal Harry Terrell Buckley