Some Patriots news and notes on this Tuesday:
– The New England Patriots were back on the field yesterday as they get set for joint practice sessions against the Carolina Panthers, which will be starting today. This should hopefully be a productive week as it gives both the offense and defense extended live reps against an opponent as both sides continue preparing for the season. With both Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold on hand for Carolina, that should also add another interesting twist to the next couple of days as both players are battling for a starting role and this could be a critical period for the veteran quarterbacks. According to reports out of Carolina, the two are expected to split the reps evenly as the Panthers continue evaluating both players.
– The Patriots quietly dealt with a few injuries coming off of Thursday night’s game against the Giants, but it appears one is season-ending. Defensive back Joejuan Williams reportedly suffered a shoulder injury in the contest that will sideline him for the year, which could be his final one in a Patriots uniform. Williams was in the final year of his rookie deal and was in need of a solid season to potentially set him up for either another stint in New England or elsewhere. Instead, Williams has been inconsistent in camp and didn’t exactly have a strong showing against the Giants. He appeared to be a long shot to make the roster and now he’ll instead avoid that designation. The bad news is, it’s probably safe to say the former 2019 second-round pick, who will be a free agent after the season, will likely be looking for a new team this offseason. With Wiliams sidelined, rookie Marcus Jones – who didn’t play in the preseason opener – got some additional reps.
– Offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn was sidelined again on Monday, with the Patriots also dealing with some injuries along the offensive line. Justin Herron, who committed two false start penalties Thursday night, was injured in the fourth quarter during the team’s final touchdown drive and was also not at practice Monday. With both Wynn and Herron sidelined, that saw Yodny Cajuste get some extra reps but the fact they’ve got two injuries at that position will remain something to monitor over these next couple of weeks.
– Also missing was Malcolm Butler, who looked a little rusty Thursday night as he continues getting ready for his first NFL season in two years. Butler finished the night with one tackle and a fumble recovery, but he had a notable missed tackle early in the contest that ended up being a reminder that he’s not quite yet back to where he should be. This is obviously a critical period for Butler, who could use the reps and any type of extended absence would definitely be detrimental, especially given what’s already a shortened preseason. Butler’s absence opened the door for additional reps for rookie Jack Jones, who had a strong showing during his exhibition debut.
– Wide receiver Nelson Agholor had a strong day on Monday, hauling in a couple of one-handed grabs that included one against Jonathan Jones, who had fairly tight coverage against him. The veteran receiver has appeared more comfortable in his second season and so far has had a solid training camp. Despite the continued trade rumors, Agholor still appears poised for a roster spot and, barring a trade offer that would be too good for Bill Belichick to pass up, it would be a surprise to not see him with the team to start the season.
– Belichick talked about the benefits of joint practice on Monday, saying that the opportunity to go against another team adds “less predictability” for the players and it amps up their concentration. “There’s so many things,” said Belichick. “The individual matchups are good. We’ve been working against each other for a long time, so new individual matchups, schemes are different. We’ll see some different x’s and o’s, but also maybe techniques on the way guys pass-rush or route-running or things like that. And, I would say, less predictability of practice. We kind of know what’s on the other side of the ball and what we can and can’t do. Some things we aren’t going to see from the opposite side of the ball. With a new team, everything’s kind of new, so it keeps you on your toes and forces more communication and more awareness, and we need that.”
– Another interesting bit that came out of yesterday’s press conference was the fact Belichick had some praise for sixth-round pick Sam Roberts, who surprised fans after seeing some action early in the game and making the most of it. He was disruptive and even helped set up a sack and so far has quietly been a player who has done some good things. “Sam, like a lot of our rookies – I think you could really say this about just about all of them – he’s fast, he’s certainly had some good moments and good plays,” said Belichick. “It’s a big jump for him: the level of competition, scheme, everything else. He was one of the best where he played, and that’s flipped now. He’s a talented guy, he works very hard. He’s improved a lot. He’s got a lot of room to grow. His fundamentals and his recognition and obviously experience in the league – he has a long, long way to go on that. But, he’s better every time he steps onto the field, he’s been healthy, he’s been on the field, he’s gotten a lot of reps, which is how you improve. I like working with him, but we’ll see how it goes. He’s got a ways to go, but he’s making a lot of progress.”
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Baker Mayfield Bill Belichick Isaiah Wynn Jack Jones Joejuan Williams Jonathan Jones Justin Herron Malcolm Butler Nelson Agholor Sam Darnold Sam Roberts Yodny Cajuste