Good morning; here are your weekly Patriots news 08-14 and some NFL notes this week. Training camp has finished its second week, and the first preseason game is in the books.
One of the first things we learned is that the team’s offense, while still having a long way to go, was far from the abject disaster that many had believed was the case. And speaking about the offense, the transition to the Shanahan system was, for the most part, not used on Thursday night.
Many of the rookies and 1st-year players played significant roles and played well against the Giants. While we’re not going overboard on things just yet, the fact that they were playing well was certainly preferable to the opposite.
This week with the Panthers coming in for joint practices and preseason game #2, we should have a much clearer picture on how the team and individual players are progressing.
Patriots 53-Man Roster Projection 2.0:
We thought back in June that the Patriots will have some tough decisions to make, especially on some players that they’ve invested in for the 53-man roster to begin the season. After two weeks of training camp and a preseason game, that becomes even harder.
There are always inevitable injuries and mysterious cases of the “Foxboro Flu” during camp, but we’ll go with what we have right now and try to get in the minds of the coaches.
Quarterback — (2)
Mac Jones, Bailey Zappe
PS: Brian Hoyer
No big surprises here. Zappe got a lot of valuable reps in camp with Hoyer out with an illness, and it showed. While he’s the backup QB of the future, right now, Hoyer, who isn’t going anywhere, will go to the practice squad to save a valuable roster slot.
He can then mentor both young QBs and provide a valuable sounding board to each. There remains the risk that another team would claim him on waivers, but that is one way to save some other younger players.
Running Back — (4)
Rhamondre Stevenson, Damien Harris, Ty Montgomery, Pierre Strong
PS: JJ Taylor, Kevin Harris
Harris and Stevenson remain excellent options as the 1a-1b options at running back. With James White retired, there comes the question as to who is the third down option. Montgomery has outperformed Taylor thus far. Pierre Strong, who is the White heir apparent, missed significant time early in camp. While he isn’t going anywhere, he’ll have to wait his turn.
With Damien Harris in a contract year, the Pats will stash Kevin Harris on the PS
Wide Receiver — (5)
DeVante Parker, Tyquan Thornton, Tre Nixon, Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne
Trade: Nelson Agholor PS: Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Kristian Wilkerson
With the Patriots having more depth at WR than previously in years past, they have to make some tough decisions at WR. Right now I’d put Nixon slightly ahead of Wilkerson, but he’ll have to be more consistent.
Humphrey is an interesting case; while he’s shown he can play, the feeling here is he’s well behind Nixon. However, Paul Perillo of Patriots.com made an interesting comment the other day, and it could be with neither the 3rd or 4th TEs making a case to stick, Humphrey may have the size to be the 3rd (move) tight end.
Tight end — (2)
Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith
Cut: Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene, Matt Sokol
The Patriots invested in Asiasi and Keene a few years ago in the draft and have gotten very little in return of either one. They are quickly running out of time, and the feeling here is, right now, they’re on the outside looking in. (See Humphrey above)
Offensive Line— (9)
Trent Brown, Cole Strange, David Andrews, Micheal Onwenu, Isaiah Wynn, Justin Herron, Yodny Cajuste, James Ferentz, Arlington Hambright
IR: Chasen Hines, Andrew Stueber, Cut: Darryl Williams, Will Sherman, Kody Russey, Bill Murray
No big surprises here other than Hambright, who endured a lot of name-calling by fans when he was signed but has been playing well. They moved him from RG to LT on Thursday night
Defensive Tackle — (6)
Christian Barmore, Lawrence Guy, Davon Godchaux, Deatrich Wise, LaBryan Ray, Carl Davis
Suspended: Daniel Ekuale PS: Sam Roberts Cut: Henry Anderson
Anderson has been playing well; with him Davis, Wise, and Ray, it is going to come down to the final two PS games, but for now, I’m going with youth and Ray
Outside Linebackers— (4)
Matt Judon, Josh Uche, Ronnie Perkins, Anfernee Jennings
Cut: DaMarcus Mitchell, Nate Wieland
No change from our earlier roster projection. Jennings, who was out on many projections, showed on Thursday why I remain so high on him
Inside Linebackers — (4)
Ja’Whaun Bentley, Mack Wilson, Cam McGrone, Raekwon McMillan
Cut: Harvey Langi, Jahlani Tavai, Nate Wieland
No changes here either.
Cornerback — (6)
Malcolm Butler, Jalen Mills, Terrance Mitchell, Jack Jones, Marcus Jones, Jonathan Jones
Cut: Shaun Wade, Joejuan Williams, Myles Bryant
No changes here but either Wade or Bryant could supplant Butler here due to his lack of top-end speed
Safety — (5)
Devin McCourty, Kyle Dugger, Adrian Phillips, Jabrill Peppers, Joshuah Bledsoe
Bledsoe makes the roster this time around, and the way he’s been playing should see the field, even in this deep group
Special Teams — (6)
Matthew Slater, Justin Bethel, Jake Bailey, Joe Cardona, Nick Folk, Brenden Schooler,
Cut: Cody Davis, Tristan Vizcaino, Ross Reiter, Jake Julien
Davis is the surprise cut here, but Schooler is the young guy who will replace him, and it appears that he’s making really good progress.
Quick Hitters For the Patriots and the NFL:
James White: The Patriots lost a great player on the field and an even better person off of it. White retired after suffering a bad hip injury last season after spending his entire eight-year career with the Patriots.
“James White has always been one of the most reliable and dependable players on the field,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said. “He’s a soft-spoken leader who has led by example … As great of a player as James has been for us, he’s an even better person. He is a man of great character and integrity and earned everyone’s respect through his work ethic, professionalism and positive daily demeanor.”
White was immense in the Patriots’ big Super Bowl LI comeback against the Atlanta Falcons. White set three records in that game: most receptions (14), most points scored (20), and most touchdowns (3).
Former Patriots QB Tom Brady posted kudos on his Instagram page: “Teammate, champion, football player through and through. Congrats on the perfect career @sweetfeet.”
White, in his thank you note, said it was ‘an honor to represent the New England Patriots. A red jacket awaits him in five years.
Tua Tagovailoa: The Dolphins QB is caught in another storm, not of his making. Miami was fined, and lost draft picks for tampering with QB Tom Brady while he was a member of the Patriots and the Bucs.
Tua knows with the additions the team made this offseason that the onus is on him to put it all together. And he also knows that the team has tried to find someone else to lead the team. To make matters worse, he had to share the field with Brady and Bucs this week at joint practices. And while he’s saying all the right things, the fact that the team isn’t sold on him is hardly news. One has to wonder how much pressure he is feeling this year.
Tom Brady: Speaking of Brady, he is going to be missing from the Bucs for the next several days. But apparently, the reasons are not health-related. “Tom Brady is fine, and the team is on board with his reasons for being absent,” NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport posted on Twitter “But it’ll be a little bit before he’s back.”
Patriots 4th & 2 Podcast: If you haven’t checked out our PatsFans.com podcast, “Patriots 4th & 2”, in a bit, please check it out. Derek, and I looked at the first preseason game and who stood out, be sure to check it out.
Russ Francis/Chuck Fairbanks: The former Patriot tight end and head coach both should be in the Patriots team Hall of Fame, and the fact that especially Francis isn’t is an absolute travesty. Francis and the Raiders’ Dave Casper changed the game with how teams used the tight end position…this will be on our Sunday posts until it happens.
“James defines the term consummate professional,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in a statement. “His dependability, consistency, unselfishness and performance under pressure are elite. Combining great intelligence, quickness and elusiveness, James was a perfect fit for our pass offense. While soft spoken, he brought exceptional leadership and competitive toughness to the team. He was a multi-year team captain and one of the most respected, best team players I have ever coached.”
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on RB James White who announced his retirement this week.
“So, how was your week?”
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Posted Under: 2022 NFL Draft
Tags: 53 Man Roster Projection Anfernee Jennings Bill Belichick Damien Harris Mac Jones Miami Dolphins New England Patriots NFL Patriots Tom Brady Tyquan Thornton