Patriots Camp Battles, Godchaux Extension and Morse’s Morsels
Camp Battles to Watch
- Offensive Line Battles – Can Trent Brown stay healthy and will he move to Left Tackle? Consequently, will Isaiah Wynn move to Right Tackle or can Yodny Cajuste or Justin Herron push to start and make Wynn expendable? The only way the Patriots can recoup Wynn’s outrageous salary is to trade him. Need to watch the progress of Strange as the starting LG. The backup C position is open. Will Kody Russey take advantage of this opportunity? What will they get from Drew Desjarlais, the Canadian Football League all-star and two-time Grey Cup champion?
- Cornerback – This will be a concern all season long. Mac Jones should tear them up in practice. Who will emerge as the boundary corners? Does Malcolm Butler have anything left? Terrance Mitchell was brought in but not sure if he is any better than playing the rookies. Marcus Jones should contribute as a Punt Returner and perhaps a slot corner by the end of the season. Jack Jones impressed without pads on. How will he fare in the big test against two other teams in joint practices? I have never been a fan of Jalen Mills.
- Linebacker – The Patriots lost Donta Hightower, Jaimie Collins, and cut Kyle Van Noy. They are being replaced by young linebackers with little or no experience. Raekwon McMillan, Cameron Mitchell, and Afernee Jennings are coming off injuries and we don’t know what we will get from them. Mack Wilson was acquired for Chase Winowich, in a swap of disappointing and underperforming players.
- Edge – Matt Judon played like a man with his hair on fire the first half and was a non-factor in the 2nd Part of the reason for that decline was there was no pressure from the other side and opponents keyed on stopping Judon. Josh Uche needs to have a good camp. Ronnie Perkins is coming off an injury and will be like a rookie out there.
- Wide Receivers – Which player will emerge as Jones’s favorite target? How will Davante Parker mesh with Mac Jones? Concerned about Tyquan Thornton’s slender size and his development. Is he a one-trick pony with his outstanding speed? Will Nelson Agholor live up to the contract he signed? Was the late-season surge by Kendrick Bourne a sign of his development? Can Tre Nixon show enough to make the team?
Danny Amendola Retires
Amendola was a fan favorite and made many clutch catches, especially over the middle. He had 617 career receptions for 6,212 yards receiving and 24 touchdowns and also 11,761 all-purpose yards. He started his career with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2008, and has also played for the Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams, New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions, and Houston Texans.
Amendola went undrafted in the 2008 draft and was signed by the Dallas Cowboys. His attempt to make the Cowboys was featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks. Dallas cut Amendola and then re-signed him to the Practice Squad. Philadelphia signed him immediately after the 2008 season and he ended up being cut again at the final cutdown. Amendola would be re-signed to the Eagles Practice Squad for three weeks before being poached by the St. Louis Rams. He played for the Rams for four seasons 2009-2012. During the 2011 season, he played for Josh McDaniel as the Rams’ Offensive Coordinator. He was signed as a Free Agent by the Patriots in 2013. According to Tom Curran, Amendola actually signed his 5-year contract before Wes Welker left the Patriots. In 2018 Amendola signed with Miami, then with Detroit for 2019 and 2020. In 2021 Amendola played for the Houston Texans. In his two Superbowl victories with the Patriots, he had 10 and 11 catches in both games. The second was the memorable Superbowl LI in 2017 versus the Atlanta Falcons. Amendola was pivotal in that game and caught a TD pass in the epic comeback. According to Bill Belichick at his opening press conference Tuesday, “Love Danny. He was a very good player for us. Very smart, tough, dependable. Great hands. Concentration. Good football player. Glad we had him here.”
Bill Murray to Play Some O Line
According to Mike Reiss, DT Bill Murray will work out with the O-line. Murray has spent the last two seasons on the Practice Squad. It would make a great story if the well-liked Murray could make the switch.
Crowd Down at Camp
I don’t know if the recent heatwave had any impact but the crowd was notably smaller for the opening of Training Camp. The crowd filled in and was enthusiastic. I don’t know if this is a reflection on how the fans perceive how the team will be this season. Most fans that were interviewed had a positive view of the team and wildly optimistic predictions for the win total.
83 Players – 7 Short of the 90-Man Limit
The Patriots released C Darryl Williams the day before the start of practice. That brings the total number of players to 83. The Patriots aren’t good enough to bring just 83 players to camp. They could use another QB to take the passing load off the QBs. They might also have a QB on the Practice Squad. Chatting with Patscap Miguel Benzan last night he surmised the Patriots are so close to the cap they don’t want to fill those positions because they are afraid one of these players that have little chance of making the team would get hurt and the Patriots would have to pay them for the season.
No Coordinators Named
“We are not big on titles here” according to Bill Belichick. However, the real reason may have to do with two factors. The first is that if Matt Patricia or Joe Judge were named coordinator, the Lions or Giants may not have to pay them. The second factor might apply to Steve Belichick and Jerod Mayo not being named so they could promote them to the coordinator if another team comes calling for them.
Matt Patricia Calling Plays
During the initial 7-on-7 goal line, Matt Patricia is using the Walkie-Talkie and calling the plays into the QB’s helmet.
Davante Parker snatches two quick TDs in Red Zone play
Parker was very animated with the crowd after the second catch. Let’s keep it in context though, he beat rookies Marcus Jones on the first then Jack Jones on the second. Welcome to the NFL rookies! Parker had three on the day.
Davon Godchaux Signs Lucrative Extension
The deal is a two-year extension for $20.8M, $17.85M fully guaranteed. $10.5M is the signing bonus. That’s damn good money for a player that I thought was pretty ineffective. Godchaux had 65 tackles last year playing 59% of the plays on Defense. Obviously, the Patriots liked what he did! NFL Network’s Mike Giardi had this to say in a tweet, Liked by teammates. Worker. However, just reached out to an AFC pro personnel guy and his response: “That’s a lot. Weren’t they poor vs. the run last year?” Exactly! Also by Girardi, “Ran this by a source. Said Godchaux was “not the problem” vs the run last year. “He’s way better than he got credit for”. And they rewarded him for it”. Miguel Benzan pointed out that Godchaux missed his playing time incentive by 10 plays and that this deal is a way of paying him back while getting about $1.5M in savings against the cap this year. Miguel hasn’t got the numbers yet so his number is just a spitball estimate. Patscap also points out they need to free up another $10M in cap space for the season.
Trent Brown seems comfortable at Left Tackle
I think it’s a good thing that he made it through the 1st practice, Pre-camp condition run, and running the hills after practice. Brown was sounding like Clint Eastwood’s character Gunnery Sergeant Highway in the movie Heartbreak Ridge. Brown’s quote was slightly re-arranged as he told the gathering after practice what it’s like playing on the O-line in the NFL “you Adapt, Improvise and Overcome”. He also went on to say that “Everybody came ready to go”.
Streamlined Pre-Snap Process
Evan Lazar tweeted “Thought it was interesting that Mac Jones and Kendrick Bourne brought up a more efficient pre-snap process as an emphasis with “streamlined” terminology. The Patriots had nine delay of game penalties last year, tied for second-most in the NFL.”
Kraft and Kilroy named Finalist in Contributor Category for 2023 Hall of Fame
Congrats Mr. Kraft and Bucko Kilroy. Both are among the 12 finalists the committee has to choose from during their August 23rd meeting. The Veterans committee did not choose Stanley Morgan as one of their 15 finalists. I really can’t understand the omission of Morgan who averaged over 20 yards per catch for his 1st 6 years. No Wide Receiver has done that since (Including Randy Moss). Morgan’s career average is 19.2 YPC.
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