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Daily Patriots News 5/26: Five Things to Know

Ian Logue
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1 month ago at 11:07 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots News

Daily Patriots News 5/26: Five Things to KnowRich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Some news and notes for this Thursday:

1) Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was recently asked who the best trash talker in the league was and a member of the New England Patriots apparently took that category.

Burrow revealed during a recent episode of the Full Send Podcast that Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon holds that honor, which actually made Burrow become a fan.

While Burrow has yet to face Judon as a member of the Patriots, it was a meeting that came against the Ravens, Judon’s previous team, during the quarterback’s rookie season that stood out after going against him.

“Matt Judon – Patriots. Best trash-talker in the league,” said Burrow. “I only played Baltimore one time my rookie year because I got hurt. He – I mean even if it’s not a play that he did anything – I mean, he’s talking. And I love that.”

“Unfortunately, we stunk that year, so I couldn’t really say anything back. But I think we play the Patriots this year, so that’ll be fun. … (Quarterback Mac Jones) just fit right in to what they were trying to do.”

The two players will meet up in what should be a key match-up on Christmas Eve in Week 16 at Gillette Stadium.  At that point, depending on their respective records, it’s entirely possible that the game could have potential playoff implications for both clubs.

That game is currently scheduled for a 1:00pm start.

2)  With Mac Jones entering his second season, it was interesting to go back through some of the statistics from his rookie year to see exactly how he fared against his peers.

Jones finished the regular season completing 352-of-521 for 3,801 yards with 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, with his yardage total ranking him 13th in the NFL and 6th in the Conference.

What’s impressive about that is the fact that Jones was actually limited through much of last season, with New England instead largely relying on their ground game and that total also includes one game where Jones attempted just three passes in that crazy game out in Buffalo.

He was among some notable names on the leaderboard in the AFC, finishing behind Burrow (4,611 yards) and Josh Allen (4,407 yards), with the likely focus this season hopefully seeing his touchdown total increase.

Jones finished the 2021 campaign tied with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for 7th in the AFC in that category:

  1. Justin Herbert (LAC) 38 TDs 15 INTs
  2. Patrick Mahomes (KC) 37 TDs 13 INTs
  3. Josh Allen (BUF) 36 TDs 15 INTs
  4. Joe Burrow (CIN) 34 TDs 14 INTs
  5. Carson Wentz (IND) 27 TDs 7 INTs
  6. Derek Carr (LV) 23 TDs 14 INTs
  7. Mac Jones (NE) 22 TDs 13 INTs
  8. Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) 22 TDs 10 INTs

From a yardage standpoint, Jones was ranked right up there with some of the top names in the game.  He wasn’t that far behind Kirk Cousins (9th in the NFL at 4,221), Aaron Rodgers (10th in the NFL at 4,115), Matt Ryan (11th in the NFL at 3,968), and Jimmy Garoppolo (12th in the NFL at 3,810).

When you take into account how much he was held back in year one, along with the fact he had one game where he didn’t throw at all, the numbers could certainly have even been a little better.

Again, while not playing it up too much, the simple fact is that the rookie obviously showed enough in his first season that he could be poised for a big year if he improves even a little.  With much of last year’s offense having a full season of working together under their belt, that likelihood should be fairly strong.

When you also take into account all the work he’s been putting in since the season ended, it’s hard not to get a little excited about what type of year he might be able to put together in 2022.  It should definitely be fun to watch.

3) NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport Tweeted a memo from the league regarding practice squad changes agreed upon between the NFL and the NFLPA, which includes some notable adjustments for the 2022 season.

Here are a few notable changes:

– Players who are on injured reserve must now sit out at least four weeks.  The previous restriction was three weeks.

– Eight players can return to the active roster after being placed on injured reserve.  An individual can return from IR a maximum of twice per season, with each time counting against the club’s allotted eight designations.

– The number of times players can be moved from the practice squad to the active roster has been increased from two to three times per season.

– Practice squads have also been increased from 14 to 16, with six veterans now being permitted to be included in them.

Matt Judon and Sam Darnold
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

4) Down in Carolina, barring a trade, Sam Darnold appears to be the favorite to get another chance at redemption in 2022.

The former Jets quarterback started off last season in terrific fashion.  The Panthers went 3-0 to start the year but Darnold began to struggle and Carolina then lost four straight.

Over that span, there was some cause for patience as the Panthers lost the first three games during that streak by 8 points or less (36-38 at Dallas, 21-18 vs Philadelphia, and 34-28 vs Vikings).  But the 25-3 loss on the road against the Giants was seemingly the one where Darnold really began losing the confidence of the coaching staff.

They did beat the Falcons 19-13 the following week after Darnold completed 13-of-24 for 129-yards with no touchdowns but he didn’t turn the ball over.  However, the game against New England the next week sealed his fate after Darnold was picked off three times and was beaten by a rookie quarterback in Mac Jones during a 24-6 blowout loss at home.

That saw Cam Newton rejoin his former team, with Newton finishing out most of the season, although he didn’t fare a lot better as the Panthers lost 9 of their final 10 games.

Newton has gone unsigned for much of the offseason, but one report said the door is open for him to return as long as he’s willing to accept less money and be O.K. with knowing he’s not entering training camp as the starter.

As for Darnold, he seems to be entering into a do-or-die season, with all the competition having motivated him.  They drafted Matt Corral in the third round last month, but Carolina has also been among the teams rumored to potentially be in the mix for either Baker Mayfield or Jimmy Garoppolo.  But the fact they’re pondering bringing Newton back could mean they’re about to close the door on any potential trades.

Likely knowing that this is probably his last real opportunity to hold onto being an NFL starter, Darnold’s been putting all he has into getting better.  He’s reportedly improved a lot of his mechanics and has looked strong early on, with head coach Matt Rhule seemingly happy with what he’s seen.

Rhule said that one of the most notable changes is the change in the veteran quarterback’s approach, which Rhule credits new offensive coordinator, Ben McAdoo, for helping Darnold improve his confidence.

“I think Sam is having a really good offseason so far,” Panthers coach Matt Rhule said via the Charlotte Observer. “I think he’s really, really developing technically. So I’m pleased with where he’s at so far.

“He’s completely bought into Ben’s way of doing things. I think you see a calmness now.”

Whether or not it translates into real success in 2022 remains to be seen, but there’s still a long way to go as Darnold tries one more time to live up to his potential.

5) The Raiders are apparently potentially looking at bringing in a back-up quarterback and the name they’re discussing is obviously grabbing some headlines.

Former Patriots offensive coordinator and Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels brought in Colin Kaepernick, who reportedly worked out with the club on Wednesday.

There haven’t been any details that have surfaced yet of how things went, but the fact he was even given that chance is obviously a positive for him.

Should Kaepernick get an opportunity, it could see him potentially join a group that has starter Derek Carr, followed by Nick Mullens and Jarrett Stidham, who was recently acquired from New England.

The 34-year-old quarterback hasn’t played football in the NFL since 2016.  But his chances appear to be improving and the fact the Raiders made good on their promise to bring him in could potentially open the door for him to eventually make his way back onto an NFL roster.


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