Some Patriots news and notes on this Monday:
– Mike Reiss of ESPN made an interesting suggestion on Sunday that’s creating some discussion regarding New England Patriots receiver N’Keal Harry, who he believes may have an avenue to potentially stick around. Reiss broached the topic in his Sunday column, writing, “Harry’s best chance might be to ask about a possible switch to tight end to compete with [Devin] Asiasi and [Dalton] Keene as TE3 behind Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith.”
– The situation with both Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene is certainly frustrating. Both were selected in the third round of the 2020 draft and neither has been able to establish a role with the offense. Asiasi seemed to suffer a setback last week after reportedly injuring his left hand, which affected his ability to catch passes. Meanwhile, Keene had been thought to possibly establish a role as a potential H-back in the offense but so far, things just haven’t panned out. Both have been disappointments and it remains to be seen how or if they’ll fit into the team’s long-term future.
– Moving Harry to tight end is an interesting notion, but it’s sort of a double-edged sword. On one side, seeing him thrive in that role would be good for the offense. But removing Henry or Smith from the field for the sake of giving Harry snaps feels counterproductive. Barring the team putting a 3rd tight end on the field, Harry wouldn’t – and shouldn’t – see very many opportunities. However, if he emerges as someone who is better than the remaining players below them, obviously it’s still worth considering.
– The nightmare scenario would be for Harry, who is in the final year of his rookie contract, to emerge into a productive player at this stage and essentially use that to cash in elsewhere next offseason. That would definitely be frustrating given how things have gone to this point. This isn’t the same as Devin McCourty struggling at cornerback and moving to safety. McCourty never demanded any trades and has been a model player and teammate. Harry, by all indications, hasn’t and seeing him ultimately benefit despite Bill Belichick’s patience and tutelage would be incredibly irritating.
– While the Patriots still have some work to do financially, Matt Bowen of ESPN looked at the remaining free agents in a recent column and believes that one of the best fits would be for the club to reunite with Trey Flowers. Bowen writes, “Flowers played his best and most disruptive football under Bill Belichick, so a return to New England makes sense.” Bringing Flowers back would be good to see, but the club still needs to make a decision and clear additional cap space before Flowers, or anyone else, could be considered.
– Jeff Howe of the Athletic reported over the weekend that offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn will reportedly return this week after skipping the early portion of OTAs. Wynn, who saw his fifth-year option picked up this offseason, has stayed away to this point. The veteran has been inconsistent over the past couple of years and has been the subject of potential trade rumors, although, for now, that feels unlikely due to the club’s lack of depth at the tackle position.
– Howe also reported that Matt Patricia appears to be the front-runner to be the play-caller based on how things have transpired so far. While Patricia has handled the run-based periods and Joe Judge has run the passing portions of practice, Howe writes that things are “trending in Patricia’s direction” for the play-calling duties.
– Peter King pointed out a reminder of something to watch this season in his Football Morning in America Column. “Sometime in October, Belichick will likely move into second place on the all-time coaching wins list (regular- and post-season). With four victories this year, Belichick will pass George Halas and be looking up at only one man in history, Don Shula. As of today, it’s Shula 347 with wins, Halas 324, Belichick 321. It took Shula 526 games to record his 347 wins, and it took Halas 506 to get his. Belichick, 70 and looking 55, has coached 477 games in his NFL head-coaching career.” It’s yet another fun storyline to look forward to the upcoming Patriots season.
– The Miami Dolphins are taking some heat after some recent revelations by DeShaun Watson‘s lawyer that are causing an issue. Watson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin said recently that the Dolphins wanted Watson’s 22 cases settled and non-disclosures signed, or they wouldn’t make the deal. That contradicts GM Chris Grier‘s previous mention of that being “absolutely and categorically false” and that “it pisses me off.” That’s the first lie they’ve now been caught in, which Dave Hyde of the Sun-Sentinal believes could be an issue as things get deeper into the Brian Flores lawsuit.
– Sean McVay has had plenty of success in his young career but whether or not he’ll come close to some of the best coaches in the game in terms of win totals seems unlikely. He recently said as much. “If you said, ‘Do I have a desire to try to chase like Belichick or Don Shula in wins?’ — I really don’t.” McVay said, “Hell yeah” he’d like to eventually be a Hall of Fame coach but in terms of longevity, that doesn’t seem to be something he’s interested in.
– People are talking about Wynn here in New England but the Jets have their own issues. Tackle Mekhi Becton also skipped the voluntary portion of OTAs and remains a massive question for them at left tackle heading into the 2022 season. Becton was taken 11th overall in the 2020 draft by the Jets and has had two injury-plagued seasons, which has made him a disappointment and he’s in need of a better year to get himself back on track.
– Zach Wilson has reportedly struggled with accuracy issues at OTAs, which obviously isn’t good news for them. Mike Kaye of ProFootballNetwork.com wrote last week after watching Wilson during a Wednesday session that things didn’t look good. “I got a close look on Wednesday during OTAs at the team’s facility, and I came away with a shoulder shrug of sorts,” wrote Kaye. “Wilson got off to a rough start in team drills as his first four passes were as follows: a throw behind Corey Davis, a throw that hovered over everyone, a clear throwaway after being flushed out of the pocket and another bad misfire.” A couple of analysts have suggested the Jets might overtake New England this season. So far, with Mac Jones off to a good start, that appears to seem unlikely.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Bill Belichick Chris Grier Dalton Keene Deshaun Watson Devin Asiasi Devin McCourty Don Shula George Halas Hunter Henry Isaiah Wynn Joe Judge Jonnu Smith Mac Jones Matt Patricia Mekhi Becton Miami Dolphins N'Keal Harry New York Jets Sean McVay Trey Flowers Zach Wilson