Some Patriots News and notes on this Tuesday morning:
– ESPN reporter Mike Reiss was on vacation over the July 4th holiday weekend but he spent part of it taking a visit to Gillette Stadium, where construction continues on the facility in the North End Zone. The venue is being reworked with a massive new lighthouse, along with a giant scoreboard that will be fitted onto an enclosed entertainment area at that end of the field. Judging by the photos, the construction crews are making progress but there’s definitely still a long way to go. As a result, barring a significant change, this will likely be something that continues heading into the season.
– Reiss stopped by the team’s Pro Shop and saw that Devante Parker jerseys have Julian Edelman‘s former #11 jersey number for sale, which likely means that will indeed be Parker’s number this season. The veteran wideout wore that number in Miami, and while he was already listed with that number on the team’s official site, the fact his jersey is already on sale in the Pro Shop essentially solidifies it. Some may be frustrated by the fact Parker is wearing Edelman’s number, but tight end Matt Sokol is wearing Rob Gronkowski‘s #87, so there are certainly worse parallels to be bothered about given that Parker will likely at least be an impactful player.
– Anyone hoping to see another Vinatieri kicking at Gillette Stadium this fall will likely be disappointed as former New England Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri saw his son, AJ, withdraw his commitment from UMASS last week. Vinatieri initially chose a scholarship at the University ahead of any walk-on offers at some of the bigger schools but posted a Tweet on Friday that said, “I have decommitted from the University of Massachusetts, and my recruitment is 100% open.” Prior to committing to UMASS, Vinatieri was also reportedly being recruited by Michigan, as well as Miami, Florida, and LSU. Where he’ll end up isn’t known at this point but it would have been fun potentially seeing his father back in New England rooting him on as UMASS plays their home games in Foxboro during the season.
– Patriots offensive lineman Joe Cardona took part in a guest column for Sports Illustrated on the Fourth of July, touching on a variety of topics including talking about his feelings about the reality of being a military personnel member as well as a player in the NFL. One thing that was interesting was the fact that in Cardona’s mind, things have definitely changed with football. He writes, “at its purest, it fundamentally mimics war. Offensively, one must simply advance through resistance to acquire new territory until you eventually reach the objective. And, defensively, it is your mission to slow the advance and push to take the offensive.” However, he also adds that football, “no longer mimics war or the values held close by our armed services.” He writes, “Today, football is not war; it is money.”
– One of his biggest points is that Cardona believes the amount of money players are paid vs the risks they undertake physically is similar to what men and women deal with in the military. While the numbers are obviously significantly different in the NFL in terms of salary, he feels the overall situation is similar when it comes to the disproportionate amount of money the players and soldiers take on compared to the amount of revenue the owners and government see at their expense. “The military members putting their lives on the line see pennies on the dollar compared to our major defense contracts in our $773 billion defense budget,” writes Cardona. “It’s much like the NFL, where most players do not see nearly the value of revenue generated at the expense of their physical and cognitive health because it goes to ownership, the league or a handful of players who command a disproportionate allocation of the salary cap.”
– Mac Jones was spotted last week getting some throwing in with Nelson Agholor and Tre Nixon, but photos showing his physique certainly show how far he’s come this offseason. Jones’ girlfriend, Sophie Scott, showed a photo in her Instagram story that showed Jones looking pretty jacked, which is a stark change from the pictures posted coming off of Alabama’s National Championship a year ago. According to the New York Post, Jones and Scott were recently in Bermuda for his sister’s wedding, with Scott sharing photos of the two dressed up for the event. It’s been a busy offseason for Jones, who has worked hard and had an impressive showing in OTAs as he appears poised for a big season. Oddsmakers are showing him in the mix for some of the best players in the league, with one site showing him in the middle of the pack for 2022 NFL MVP at +6000.
– The NFL Network did a breakdown of Buffalo’s upcoming season and it appears they have a little more faith in the Patriots than some fans in New England seem to. They believe that Bill Belichick‘s team will take care of business in each of their two meetings, beginning when the two clubs meet in Week 13 on Thursday Night Football. They also think the Patriots will complete the sweep in Week 18. They have Buffalo finishing the season 13-4, with obviously two of those losses coming against their AFC East rivals. On the sweep, they believe that the reason it happens is that by Week 18, the Bills will have nothing to play for and that even with the loss, the Bills will still be the top seed in the Conference.
– Some sad news coming off the death of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jalen Ferguson, who recently passed away. According to reports, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner released their findings and ruled Ferguson’s death an accident after finding fentanyl and cocaine in his system. Ferguson had worked hard over the offseason and his death left his teammates and the Ravens organization stunned. “We are profoundly saddened by the tragic passing of Jaylon Ferguson,” the club said in a statement after his death. “He was a kind, respectful young man with a big smile and infectious personality. We express our heartfelt condolences to Jaylon’s family and friends as we mourn a life lost much too soon.”
– Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford apparently didn’t throw at all during the team’s OTAs or minicamp, with the veteran QB coming off of an offseason that has seen him get an injection in his throwing elbow. There doesn’t appear to be much of a concern for his health heading into the season, but the fact he was limited and underwent the procedure is interesting. Stafford threw for 4,886 passing yards and 41 touchdowns during the regular season as well as posting a 108.3 quarterback rating in four playoff wins. His team obviously wasn’t concerned about the injury, as the 34-year-old was rewarded with a four-year, $160 million extension earlier this offseason.
– New Rams receiver Allen Robinson has spent time running routes with Stafford and even though the quarterback wasn’t throwing passes, Robinson said that going through the motions and finding out Stafford’s expectations was the priority. “One thing that I’ve learned is as a receiver, you want to make sure you’re on the same page as the quarterback,” Robinson said on NFL Network. “So for me, it’s being in constant communication with Matthew about what he’s seeing. Even throughout the spring with him not throwing, as we’re running routes, I’m asking him about certain timing, what he’s seeing with my routes, am I taking too long here? A little too much at the top? Just making sure we have a great, cohesive relationship and we’re seeing things through the same set of eyes and I’m on his timing.”
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Adam Vinatieri AJ Vinatieri Allen Robinson Baltimore Ravens Bill Belichick Buffalo Bills Devante Parker Gillette Stadium Jalen Ferguson Joe Cardona Julian Edelman Los Angeles Rams Mac Jones Matt Sokol Matthew Stafford Nelson Agholor Rob Gronkowski Sophie Scott Tre Nixon