Some New England Patriots news and notes on this Wednesday:
– With just over a month away until the start of training camp, the team announced the dates of when things will kick off next month at Gillette Stadium. Players will be reporting on Tuesday, July 26th, with the first public practice currently set for Wednesday, July 27th. Times have not yet been set, but the team announced that there will be four days of public practices running through Saturday, July 30th, with more to follow.
– The team also confirmed joint practice dates with the Carolina Panthers, with two days currently set for Tuesday, August 16th, and Wednesday, August 17th. Those practices will be held ahead of the team’s match-up with the Panthers in their second preseason game of the year. That game is currently scheduled for Friday, August 19th at Gillette Stadium with the kickoff set for 7:00pm.
– Joint practices are also expected with former Patriots offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels’ new team as the Patriots will face the Las Vegas Raiders the following week on the road. However, for anyone who may be considering hitting the road that week, those dates and times have yet to be announced. The game itself is currently scheduled for August 26th at 8:15pm ET.
– Rookie receiver Tyquan Thornton is still figuring things out after finishing his first OTAs with the team but it sounds like he got a little bit of mentorship from one of New England’s veteran wideouts. Nelson Agholor spoke to reporters last week and said he tried to give the former Baylor standout some advice to help him as he begins his NFL career. “I see a young player that works hard every day,” Agholor said via SI.com. “For me it’s just to be honest with him, give him positive feedback, and also give him feedback where I think he can grow.” Thornton looked as advertised in minicamp and also spent time as a gunner on special teams.
– Patriots defensive back Justin Bethel spent some time last week at his alma mater hosting his annual Beat All Odds Foundation 7-on-7 football tournament. He spoke to reporters about a variety of topics, including the fact he’s been working hard preparing for the season. “We are going to do what it needs to be done to win,” said Bethel via TheState.com. “We are going to work hard, study hard, practice hard. We know all that hard work turns to success on the field. We make sure everyone we are going to make sure it translates to winning on the field.”
– Mac Jones apparently keeps an eye on his alma mater’s social media. After his former college coach, Nick Saban, recently had a photo appear of him wearing a Yankees t-shirt, Jones is doing his best to try to bring Saban over to the right side of things. The Patriots’ QB hopped into the comments and let everyone know that he would be sending a Red Sox shirt Saban’s way. Jones has already adapted well to the Boston sports scene, having been spotted several times at Fenway Park as well as attending recent games for both the Boston Celtics and Bruins.
– Jones said last week that a lot of his time over the next few weeks is going to be on self-evaluation as he continues preparing for the season. “For me, it’s always focusing on the little things, whether that’s nutrition, my footwork, how can I get my arm stronger, what can I do better in the film room?” said Jones. “So it’s always a self-evaluation to get better and that’s always good to do when you have a little bit of time to sit back and do the evaluation. I’ve had a lot of time to do that and apply it in OTAs and then obviously the important part is applying that in the season and helping us win games.”
– Head coach Bill Belichick really looks re-energized heading into the season, with the 70-year-old looking about the same as he has over the last 20 years during the team’s recent minicamps and OTAs. One of the biggest things that stood out was how hands-on he’s been, which the players took note of and it’s obvious he’s still enjoying what he’s doing. “I enjoy coaching,” said Belichick. “There’s a lot of different elements to that, classroom, on the field, film, gameday, whatever it is I enjoy that. I try to contribute and help the team where I can.”
– While the Buffalo Bills are clearly a rival in the AFC East, it sounds like there’s potentially a cause for concern with co-owner Kim Pegula, with the 53-year-old reportedly dealing with “unexpected health issues” and undergoing medical treatment. Bills QB Josh Allen said the news came as a surprise and he voiced his support. “We’re all praying for them, and we appreciate everyone in the community praying for them as well,” Allen said. “She’s done so much for our organization, and we all love her so much. Again, as a team we’re saying our prayers, and we just ask that you guys do the same for us, please.”
– After skipping voluntary workouts, New York Jets offensive lineman Mekhi Becton was on hand for OTAs but spent time working on a side field with training staff this week. Becton, who suffered a knee injury that ended his season in 2021, is said to be also dealing with weight issues and will reportedly be battling George Fant – who stepped in for Becton last season – for the starting job. “That stuff always plays itself out,” said offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur via the NY Post. “We’ve got a lot of work coming in training camp again. We don’t have the pads on right now. We have two days of minicamp, which is really our OTA practices. There is no run game. That stuff will work itself out.”
– The media in New York continues giving high praise to quarterback Zach Wilson, who has performed well in recent practices and also has apparently bulked up quite a bit since last season. Wilson reportedly has gained 13 pounds, weighing in at 221lbs, and has appeared stronger as he looks to improve on his rookie year. The area that people seem to be talking about is the fact Wilson grew quite a bit at the end of last season after not throwing an interception in his final five starts while throwing three touchdowns. Whether or not he can save the Jets remains to be seen, but the optimism there continues to be unusually high.
– Fans are seemingly a little down here on the Patriots’ group of wide receivers but they should be thankful they’re not Chicago Bears fans. The Bears not only lost Allen Robinson this offseason but they’re heading into 2022 without four of their top five receivers from last year and they skipped on drafting any of the top names at that position entirely in April. The list of receivers currently on their roster includes Isaiah Coulter, Chris Finke, Velus Jones Jr., Darnell Mooney, David Moore, Dazz Newsome, Dante Pettis, Byron Pringle, Kevin Shaa, Tajae Sharpe, Equanimeous St. Brown and Nsimba Webster. If people are worried about who Jones has to work with, barring any major changes, second-year QB Justin Fields looks like he could be in for a long year.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: 2022 Patriots Training Camp Allen Robinson Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Byron Pringle Carolina Panthers Chicago Bears Chris Finke Dante Pettis Darnell Mooney David Moore Dazz Newsome Equanimeous St. Brown George Fant Gillette Stadium Isaiah Coulter Josh Allen Josh McDaniels Justin Bethel Justin Fields Kevin Shaa Kim Pegula Las Vegas Raiders Mac Jones Mekhi Becton Nelson Agholor New York Jets Nick Saban Nsimba Webster Tajae Sharpe Tyquan Thornton Velus Jones Jr.