Some Patriots news and notes on this Wednesday:
– Mac Jones apparently put on quite a display on Tuesday as the New England Patriots kicked off their first day of mandatory sessions. According to reports, Jones was razor-sharp on Tuesday and at one point hit 23-straight passes as he finished the afternoon 14-of-14 in 7-on-7 drills and 11-of-12 during the 11-on-11 portion of practice. He reportedly looked comfortable but also in command and definitely seems like he’s off to a great start.
– The contrast between the quarterbacks was even more notable because both veteran Brian Hoyer and rookie Bailey Zappe each struggled. Hoyer was reportedly erratic during the practice and was also picked off at one point by Kyle Dugger. Zappe was also inconsistent. He finished 6-of-7 in 7-on-7 drills but was just 1-of-4 during his reps in the 11-on-11 portion of practice. It’s still early, but it definitely shows the difference of the level Jones is at right now compared to the two.
– While reports last week suggested that there definitely appeared to be differences, Bill Belichick admitted during his press conference on Tuesday that there have indeed been adjustments to the offense. However, he said one of those changes included making the terminology a little easier. “We’ve had a lot of changes offensively in the last couple of years. It’s a good time to streamline things,” said Belichick. “We did that defensively a couple of years ago and felt like this was a good time to do it offensively. There’s an element of that every year.”
– Belichick was pressed on if the changes they’ve made mean that we’ll see a completely new offense compared to past seasons. He simply quipped, “I mean if you’re asking if we’re going to run the Veer Offense, no that’s not what we’re doing,” said Belichick. “I’m not really sure what we’re talking about here.”
– Knowing the influence that former quarterback Tom Brady had offensively, Belichick was asked about Jones’ role in the process. He told reporters Jones is the priority, and that they’re definitely making sure he’s good with things. “We’ll do everything we can, really, to make it as good for him as we can,” said Belichick. “He’s our quarterback.”
– There was a notable player missing from yesterday’s session, with Kendrick Bourne among the players that were absent. Belichick told reporters prior to practice that there were “a couple guys that have excused absences due to other situations” but he wouldn’t elaborate on who those players were. Rookies Chasen Hines and Andrew Stueber were reportedly also not in attendance.
– Also absent were both Patriots kickers Nick Folk and Quinn Nordin. The club reportedly had kicker Tristan Vizcaino in for a tryout yesterday, who reporters spotted out there during Belichick’s press conference. Belichick was asked about it but simply said they’ll “have some tryout players here” but he also said there haven’t been any changes to the roster.
– There was one notable change on Tuesday that saw Isaiah Wynn in a new spot on the offensive line. Trent Brown was reportedly limited during the session, which saw Wynn spend time at right tackle in his absence. Yodney Cajuste lined up at left tackle during that span, while Wynn did eventually shift back over when Brown came back onto the field.
– While Mike Reiss made the suggestion of N’Keal Harry potentially asking about moving to tight end, so far, that hasn’t been the case. The embattled receiver was on hand Tuesday but saw limited reps. What makes that situation even more curious was the fact that Bourne was absent and Jakobi Meyers was limited, which opened up opportunities that Harry wasn’t really a part of. As a result, it looks like barring a major change, things don’t seem to have changed on that front.
– Tre Nixon took advantage of the extra reps he got on Tuesday and at one point hauled in an unbelievable throw from Jones that went for 40-yards. What was more impressive was the fact he made it against Jonathan Jones but the throw was put where only Nixon could get it. “Amazing,” said a smiling Nixon when asked about Jones’ throw. “Can’t complain. You know, he put it right on the money. Whatever the team needs to make a play, I want to do it.”
– Nixon was Ernie Adams’ final draft pick last year before Adams retired. Adams was reportedly on hand yesterday and saw Nixon’s big play and his overall strong performance. While it’s a crowded receiving corps, Nixon appears focused on trying to potentially earn himself an opportunity and certainly got off to a strong start.
– Rookie Cole Strange is a player whose former coach said went hard on every play and Strange may have gone a little too far on Tuesday. He reportedly got mixed up with Matthew Judon when Strange tackled Judon after the linebacker recovered a fumble by Nelson Agholor, who was stripped by newcomer Terrance Mitchell. The two apparently got into it and had to be separated.
– Josh Uche and Ronnie Perkins were two players who reportedly stood out. Uche was active yesterday and said he’s focused on working hard and doing whatever is asked of him. “Whatever coach needs me to do I’m going to do it to the best of my ability,” said Uche. Perkins was also busy during Tuesday’s session, with the former Oklahoma standout admitting that after primarily being a pass-rusher in college, he’s being asked to do a little more here. “I like it, it’s fun,” said Perkins. “I like being in space. [The] first time doing it, it was kind of off, like anybody the first time doing anything, but now, I’m comfortable.”
– Matt Patricia reportedly got the lion’s share of the play calling duties ahead of Joe Judge during the session. Reports say they did radio in the calls through the QBs’ helmets during the session and everything appeared to go fairly well. Obviously, there’s still a while for things to play out but it seems like there seems to be some weight behind the recent reports that said things were “trending” in Patricia’s direction.
– Rookie cornerback Marcus Jones is reportedly recovering from shoulder surgery and was among the players who were limited yesterday.
– Tyquan Thornton reportedly spent some time as a gunner on the punt team, as did Nixon. Jack Jones also spent time working as a kick returner and had a pass break-up on defense, so he appears to be off to a strong start.
– DeVante Parker was also among players who came up with a nice play, with reports indicating he hauled in a deep ball behind Jalen Mills on a play where he went up and over Mills to make the reception. Again, he seems to be filling the role many hoped Harry would ultimately settle into which obviously hasn’t happened.
ODDS AND ENDS:
Undrafted free agent LaBryan Ray appears to be standing out and reportedly held his own and looked impressive Tuesday … We may be headed toward another punter battle as fellow undrafted free agent Jake Julian got an equal share of punts Tuesday with veteran Jake Bailey, although Bailey apparently held the edge overall … With such a young group of linebackers and guys like Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, and Jamie Collins all not on the team, Perkins admitted yesterday that he and his younger teammates need to step up. “We can’t lean on those older guys anymore,” said Perkins. “It’s time to step into their shoes.” … Damien Harris, who is in the last year of his rookie contract, seemed to be in good spirits yesterday and was happy to be back with his good friend and QB, Mac Jones. “I just feel very fortunate to share the field with Mac,” said Harris. “He does a great job of just coming out every day with that mentality of working hard, doing his job, and that’s the mentality that we’ve all got to have.”
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Andrew Stueber Bailey Zappe Bill Belichick Brian Hoyer Chasen Hines Cole Strange Damien Harris Dont'a Hightower Ernie Adams Isaiah Wynn Jack Jones Jake Bailey Jake Julian Jakobi Meyers Jamie Collins Joe Judge Jonathan Jones Josh Uche Kendrick Bourne Kyle Dugger Kyle Van Noy LaBryan Ray Mac Jones Marcus Jones Matt Patricia Matthew Judon N'Keal Harry Nelson Agholor Nick Folk Quinn Nordin Ronnie Perkins Terrance Mitchell Tom Brady Tre Nixon Trent Brown Tristan Vizcaino Tyquan Thornton Yodney Cajuste