Some Patriots news and notes on this Monday:
– A quick note here as my family and I have been battling COVID over the last week. Having been both vaccinated and received one booster, I can only imagine how my wife and I would have fared otherwise considering it’s been beating both of us. However, I’m hoping after what is now day six, we’ll turn a corner but it’s been rough to this point and it’s the first time in a while that something has knocked me down like this. My 23-year-old son seems like he’s on the upswing, which is good. But my wife is still battling and I’m doing the same, so I’ll be glad whenever we get past this. Otherwise, barring any setbacks, I’ll hopefully be back at it and I’ll try and catch things up a bit here as we head into the first full week of training camp.
– According to reports, the Patriots have reached an extension with punter Jake Bailey, which will keep him in Foxboro for the foreseeable future. Bailey has reportedly agreed to a four-year, $13.5 million deal that Adam Schefter reports includes $6.5 million fully guaranteed. Bailey’s done a solid job during his tenure in New England, often times playing a big role in shifting field position when the offense has struggled, as well as pinning opponents back deep and setting up better starts offensively. That’s an area where he doesn’t always seem to get a lot of credit and the fact he’s now under contract for the coming years is certainly good news.
– The team hit the field on Monday morning for their first full-padded practice of camp, which is when things will likely heat up. Bill Belichick emphasized how important this portion of camp is given that it’s the only true way to make evaluations once contact begins, with offensive and defensive linemen finally being able to really compete, as well as the linebackers. Defensive line and linebacker remain two of the biggest question marks, with both groups experiencing a fair amount of difficulty down the stretch in 2021. Considering the fact not a lot of help was brought in as both areas are seemingly mostly being addressed from within, this next week should hopefully give us a better glimpse of what to potentially expect.
– So far, Josh Uche has received positive reviews with his speed in coverage but how he gets off blocks and makes tackles will be an area to keep an eye on. Another player to watch is going to be fellow linebacker Mack Wilson, with initial reports seemingly indicating that we’ll potentially see him end up with a bigger role with his new team this season. Wilson’s reports so far through camp have been positive, but he’ll certainly be in the spotlight now when the competition begins for real this week and we hopefully start to get a little more clarity there.
– Mac Jones has had a strong start to camp, with part of last week seeing some focus down in the red area. That portion saw Jones build some chemistry with DeVante Parker, who reportedly looked impressive and showed why the Patriots targeted him this offseason. The veteran made some impressive grabs in tight situations, which is hopefully just a glimpse of what to look forward to this season.
– Tight end Jonnu Smith has also had a good camp, with the veteran tight end looking a little more comfortable than he did in his first season. Smith went up against Kyle Dugger several times on Saturday, which included a couple of touchdowns. With what we’ve seen already from Parker, seeing Smith put some added pressure is definitely a good thing, with Hunter Henry recently noting that success like this takes the pressure off of everyone and opens things up tremendously.
– Brian Hoyer was absent on Saturday, with Bailey Zappe seeing a fair amount of snaps. The rookie fourth-round pick struggled, getting picked off twice on the afternoon and looking uncertain with the football. Zappe had multiple moments where he ended up pulling down the football and improvising with his legs, which shows that he’s still not quite comfortable with things. He did have a few nice throws, but he’s still definitely got some work ahead of him.
– From a kicking standpoint, Nick Folk has looked solid so far. He’s been consistent and as accurate as ever, which is good to see. Folk had seemed to have been battling some things injury-wise the last couple of years but reports on him early on have been promising and he’s coming off of a solid year. While Folk may not have the biggest leg, his consistency remains on display and he appears primed for another productive season.
– Reports have been good early on for Shaun Wade, who has seen some additional snaps as Jonathan Jones remains on PUP. Wade has been working hard and he’s no stranger to going after the football with receivers and even broke up a pass with Parker where the receiver appeared to have it, only to see Wade rip it away from him. New England’s secondary is obviously another area with a lot of questions but the first few days have been competitive in this area and the heat should get turned up even more now that the pads have come on.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Bailey Zappe Bill Belichick Brian Hoyer Devante Parker Hunter Henry Jake Bailey Jonathan Jones Jonnu Smith Josh Uche Kyle Dugger Mac Jones Mack Wilson Nick Folk Shaun Wade