Some news and notes on this Tuesday:
1) There’s been a lot of discussion following the draft about the selection of Bailey Zappe, with some wondering if it could be a bad sign for Mac Jones. However, looking back at things historically, that’s probably not the case.
While we’ve already discussed at length the fact that Jarrett Stidham is likely the one who should be worried, it’s worth noting that we already have some history when it comes to how Bill Belichick handles the quarterback depth chart.
We saw it after Tom Brady’s Super Bowl winning season in 2001. Belichick selected LSU’s Rohan Davey in the 4th round that offseason, adding a young quarterback behind Brady. With New England trading Drew Bledsoe that offseason, that left them with Brady, veteran QB Damon Huard, and Davey on the depth chart.
However, Brady had a solid 2002 season but he suffered a brutal shoulder injury to his throwing arm late in the year against Tennessee, which he injured further in the season finale against the Dolphins.
That year, after losing two out of their final three games, New England finished 9-7 and narrowly missed the postseason but according to reports at the time, the damage he sustained in that final game was apparently so severe that he may not have been able to come back for the postseason.
As a result, Belichick drafted a QB again that offseason, taking Texas Tech quarterback Kliff Kingsbury in Round 6 of the 2003 NFL Draft.
Fortunately, he recovered over that offseason, although he played through pain that year but still led them to back-to-back championships.
After winning their second-straight Super Bowl in 2004, Belichick again drafted a quarterback, selecting Matt Cassell out of USC in the 7th Round in 2005. Despite winning a championship in two out of the last three years, success didn’t stop him from continually bringing in young arms, but Brady kept things business as usual.
Two seasons later, Brady went out and helped the offense run the table with Wes Welker and Randy Moss, guiding the club to an unbeaten regular season and nearly a perfect year had it not been for the loss to the Giants in the Super Bowl. That offseason, the club added San Diego State’s Kevin O’Connell in Round 3 in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Meanwhile, the move to add Cassell ended up being a wise one because Brady was lost early in the season opener in 2008 to a season-ending injury that saw Cassell have to play the entire season. He guided the club to an 11-5 record and they missed the playoffs due to losing a tie-breaker to the Dolphins (also 11-5), who won the Division by one game with a better AFC Conference record.
That offseason, they traded Cassell to the Kansas City Chiefs in a deal that also included linebacker Mike Vrabel.
After a solid return by Brady in 2009, the Patriots drafted Zac Robinson out of Oklahoma St. in Round 7 in 2010 and followed that up in 2011 with taking Ryan Mallett in Round 3. Mallett was traded to Houston during the 2014 preseason, following the club’s decision to select Jimmy Garoppolo that year in Round 2.
The selection of Garoppolo seemed to really be the first time we heard Belichick start to question Brady’s future. In a press conference after the draft, Belichick addressed the fact that Mallett was in the final year of his deal, while Brady, who was 37 at the time, was also only under contract through 2017.
“We know what Ryan [Mallet]’s contract situation is,” said Belichick. “We know what Tom’s age and contract situation is. I don’t think you want to have one quarterback on your team. I don’t think that’s responsible to the entire team or the organization.”
Obviously, there were whispers about the Garoppolo pick and whether or not that created an issue internally, with Belichick seemingly planning to potentially move on from Brady back then. But the club won a championship in 2014 and the looming Deflategate fiasco saw them draft Jacoby Brissett in 2016. Brissett’s addition ended up being a good move after Garoppolo made it through the opener in Arizona to lead them to a 23-21 win, but lasted just a handful of plays into the next game before suffering a shoulder injury that sidelined him the next two games.
Brissett suffered a fairly severe thumb injury to his throwing hand during the game against Houston, which affected him badly the following week as New England ended up being shut out 16-0 against Buffalo.
Brady returned in Week 5 and that was essentially it for Garoppolo, who sat out the rest of the season as the team won another title. He was eventually traded to San Francisco midway through 2017.
The club drafted LSU QB Danny Etling in 2018, and followed that up with Jarrett Stidham in Round 4 in 2019.
Needless to say, drafting quarterbacks has been part of Belichick’s approach throughout his career and despite seemingly having their QB of the future in Jones, the plan is always to have someone at the ready in case of disaster.
Brady kept playing at a high level and it was only his age that seemed to affect his future as the starter. Jones obviously doesn’t have that problem, and as long as his upward trend continues, the only thing he’ll see is the nameplate change around him as that QB carousel continues to spin over the course of his career.
2) Taking another look at Patriots fourth-round pick, Jack Jones, he had a solid finish to his career at Arizona State but it will be what he does in the coming months that will certainly set the stage for his future as he begins his NFL career.
Jones has definitely had his fair share of personal challenges during his journey to get to this point. Academic issues cost him his first opportunity at USC, while an arrest after the University dismissed him nearly derailed his college career.
Fortunately, his agent helped get him back on the right track and Jones worked hard to get himself into ASU and back on the field where head coach Herm Edwards went the extra mile to help him turn his life around.
It worked out. Jones emerged as one of the best coverage cornerbacks in the Pac-12. Sun Devil defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce said following the team’s win in the Territorial Cup that Jones’ journey had been one that really impressed him.
“He’s a guy I’m proud of,” Pierce said at the time. “Been around him since he was 13 years old. We’ve had our ups and downs but more importantly, man, he’s going to graduate from college, got a chance to make some money and do what he did tonight, stamp the history of this rivalry.”
One of the things that really stood out is the fact that Jones has great instincts and is a player who was always around the football. He had a big moment in that game where he recorded a strip-sack, and then later had an even bigger one when he had an 87-yard pick-six.
He did make a mistake after that play, launching the football into the stands which resulted in a 15-yard penalty. Fortunately, Edwards pulled him aside but instead of yelling at him, with a three-touchdown lead, he reminded him that in the NFL doing so would result in a $7,000 fine.
“He makes a great play and he had a great game,” Edwards said. “I’m not mad at him. I love him.”
But moments like that came as no surprise to Pierce, who knowing how Jones plays the game just pointed out the type of player he is. Said Pierce of Jones, “He’s a closer.”
He’s a guy who has a knack for being around the right place at the right time and seems to do things the right way. Hopefully, we’ll see a similar type of player in the coming months as he begins his career here in New England.
3) It sounds like Tom Brady might be moving to the broadcast booth once his career comes to an end.
After quickly nixing his retirement plans this offseason, Brady apparently has lined up his post-football plans and is reportedly set to join Fox Sports as a lead NFL analyst when he hangs up his cleats.
Adam Schefter reported the news early on Tuesday, with Brady reportedly set to take over the sport calling games that was previously held by Troy Aikman, who left to take on a role with ESPN earlier this year.
Brady will reportedly join Kevin Burkhardt, who took over Joe Buck’s role with the network. Buck also left Fox Sports this offseason after moving on to his role calling games on Monday Night Football on ESPN.
The Buccaneers quarterback confirmed the news on his own Twitter account, saying he’s “Excited, but a lot of unfinished business on the field with the Buccaneers” that he’s worried about first.
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) May 10, 2022
4) In New York and Los Angeles, each market is supported by two teams, and it sounds like there might be an additional market that might someday join them.
The suggestion comes following the Mayor of Dallas, Eric Johnson, tweeting that Dallas is the city most deserving of an NFL expansion team. He wants the city to add an AFC club, giving AT&T Stadium two franchises that would call it home.
“We need an AFC team that plays in Southern Dallas,” Johnson tweeted. “It would never want for a fan base or attendance or support from the City of Dallas. Who wouldn’t want to see a Dallas versus Dallas Super Bowl…in the City of Dallas?”
He makes the argument based on the fact that the city was just recently rated as the #3 metro in the US, passing Chicago. That essentially makes them the largest US metro without two teams and he even believes they would sustain two clubs better than both New York and Los Angeles.
The answer is Dallas. Why? We are about to pass the Chicago metro and become the #3 metro in the US, which would make us the largest US metro WITHOUT 2 teams. Football is king here. Dallas needs an expansion team and we would be able to sustain 2 @NFL teams better than LA or NY. https://t.co/ikG0oeZq4T
— Mayor Eric Johnson (@Johnson4Dallas) May 5, 2022
The other suggestion for a city by ProFootballTalk.com that could potentially be the next with two teams could be Chicago, expanding the league from 32 to 34. That is, of course, unless another city potentially gets involved, but the Windy City would be an interesting possibility.
For a league that is already pushing to expand the season to 18 games, adding two expansion franchises, regardless of where they ultimately end up, would certainly be the biggest step it could make in order to get itself one step closer to that becoming a reality.
Either way, Dallas’ mayor made a bold statement that will probably get some key people within the league talking. The argument so far seems to be about how Jerry Jones might feel about it, but it seems like a big opportunity. Becoming a landlord where he could take on a team and make even more money in the stadium he paid well over a billion dollars to build seems like it would be a big win.
We’ll see if this one gains any legs, but we all know the expansion of the league is coming. It’s just a matter of when and the fact Johnson brought up a potential where should make this story an interesting one to follow.
5) Former Patriots RB Sony Michel appears to be headed back to the AFC East, with Miami apparently set to become his next landing spot.
Michel, who was traded by New England last preseason to the Rams, found himself as the odd player out in Los Angeles but did enough during a recent visit to earn an opportunity for a 1-year deal with the Dolphins.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the deal is worth $2.1 million.
He joins a backfield that includes Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds, along with Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed. But Michel’s consistent play and performance clearly made an impression, with the former Georgia back now set to be yet another player the Patriots may potentially have to deal with next season.
He’s coming off a solid performance in 2021 where he finished the season carrying 208 times for 845-yards and 4 touchdowns until Cam Akers eventually returned for the postseason en-route to the Rams’ championship.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Bill Belichick New England Patriots