Daily Patriots News 5/24: Five Things to Know
Some news and notes on this Tuesday:
1) The New England Patriots were back at work on Monday, with Bill Belichick holding a press conference prior to what was their first session open to the media so far this minicamp.
Belichick touched on various topics during his press conference, with one of the biggest discussions still centering on the play-calling duties. Belichick skirted various questions on the matter, saying that any decisions are still “months away”.
“We’re going to coach the team, coach the players, we’re going to get them ready to go,” said Belichick. “We’re going to game plan when we have to game plan, we’ll play call, we’ll do all the things that we need to do and compete in games. But we’re months away from that.”
When pressed further, he also wouldn’t give a timetable on a decision and admitted that any type of scenarios or simulations of calling plays for whoever might end up with the role would likely come in training camp.
According to reports, Joe Judge was the one who spent the most time with quarterback Mac Jones on Monday, with Matt Patricia also spending some time with him. Belichick was also involved during several drills, with the team still seemingly working some things out as they begin life in the post-Josh McDaniels era.
For now, during a practice that did look different than past years, it seems like they still have some decisions to make offensively in general. Otherwise, the focus was on getting a look at the players who will ultimately factor into any decisions they’ll eventually make, but it’s clearly way too early in the process to make any judgments.
2) Speaking of Jones, he looked sharp in his first outing, with the second-year quarterback looking notably slimmer than his rookie year.
Teammate Kendrick Bourne said as much to the media on Monday, saying that the belly Jones had as a rookie is gone and that he looks to be in great shape.
“He’s in the best shape of his life,” receiver Kendrick Bourne said Monday. “I think he’s been here all offseason with Moses [Cabrera – the team’s strength coach]. He looks really good. His stomach is gone, and he looks really good.”
“He’s definitely a pro’s pro now. When you’re a rookie, you just don’t know it until you go through it for a year. So he’s definitely a lot more in shape than he ever was. He’s just dominating in conditioning and it’s just dope to see. He’ll just be able to endure more in the game and go through more.”
Jones admitted that this offseason has been an adjustment. Coming off his rookie season, he said he took a hard look at things and spent a lot of time focusing on taking better care of himself.
“I think every year you want to do like a self-diagnosis of how you felt for the games, your body fat and all that stuff,” said Jones. “For me, it was just cleaning up my diet and I’ve learned more this offseason than I probably ever have about nutrition, sleep, wellness, all that stuff.”
Jones said part of that plan includes not just getting his weight down, but also eating the right things while trying to make sure he maintains a healthy enough playing weight. Jones added that the goal has been to find the right balance to help him endure the hits he’ll be taking over the course of the season.
“I’m kind of taking what I’ve learned that I feel will help me, and apply it,” said Jones. “And obviously listening to Ted [Harper – the team nutritionist] and everybody, just following their plan, eating healthy, taking out a lot of the things that are bad for my diet.”
“But, at the same time, I need to maintain my weight and be able to take hits, so there’s a fine balance for every player. Every player’s different and for me, I’ve definitely trimmed down on the body fat a little bit and I’ll get a chance to bulk back up before the season starts and be able to absorb the hits.”
Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
3) Another area Jones reportedly spent some time working on during the offeason was getting outside and throwing in various weather conditions, which he said was something he made a priority.
As we know, the conditions as the season goes on will usually shift quite a bit here in New England, as well as on the road. Jones said that trying to be ready to deal with them was something he focused on.
“I tried to throw in the offseason in all conditions and increase my knowledge on that, and just go out there and get a feel for it and understand the wind, the rain, snow, whatever it may be,” said Jones. “So I’m ready to go and it’s a learning experience – being the quarterback here, you have to be able to play in those elements, you have to be able to complete passes in those elements. So, I challenge myself with that and every day there’s a new challenge.”
Jones also said that he’s also been working on all aspects of his game, which included spending time working with throwing coach, Tom House, over the offseason.
“I got a chance to work with a lot of different people. It was a good experience for me,” said Jones. “Like I said, any throws – short, intermediate, or long, you want to get better at, you want to have people that have knowledge of the game. He did a great job helping me there.”
“At the end of the day you’re out there by yourself. You’re the quarterback, and that’s what you want to be able to do is go out there and feel comfortable doing what you want to do and continue to grow.”
4) Rookie offensive lineman Cole Strange caught the eyes of media members who were on hand Monday, with Strange’s athleticism definitely standing out.
There were several plays where the team had Strange blocking at the second level and it was obvious it’s a solid skill that he has, which should make him dangerous.
Since they weren’t wearing pads, Strange didn’t really get tested beyond that. However, how he moved for someone his size was impressive and it should be interesting to see how he does once the lineman get to work.
The rookie reportedly spent the majority of the session at left guard next to veteran Trent Brown, who was at left tackle due to an unexplained absence by Isaiah Wynn, who was notably missing from practice.
5) Rookie defensive back Jack Jones was another player who caught the eye of various reporters yesterday, with Jones looking comfortable out there during the club’s session.
His scouting reports talked about how fluid he was and he’s apparently as advertised, looking smooth and holding his own during the drills he was observed in yesterday.
The former standout from Arizona State also saw time during the end of practice working on special teams, including returning punts. He also got some coaching from Bill Belichick during the period.
Overall, while the one knock against Jones seems to be that he needs to add some bulk heading into camp, he’s a player who showed off why the team drafted him. Other than that, the early reports definitely appear positive and for a secondary that could use some youth, that’s definitely good news.
The team’s next session that’s open to the media is scheduled for next Tuesday, May 31st.
Posted Under: 2022 Patriots Offseason
Tags: 2022 Patriots OTAs Bill Belichick Cole Strange Jack Jones Joe Judge Kendrick Bourne Mac Jones Matt Patricia Moses Cabrera New England Patriots Ted Harper Tom House