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Bowl Game Reports and Morse’s Morsels

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
1 month ago at 6:00 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots News

Bowl Game Reports and Morse’s MorselsVasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

A recap of the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine game practices

Both games are in the books and we have learned about several players we have not seen play.  The practices leading up to the games were more important than the game itself.  The Patriots coaching staff got a huge advantage coaching the West Team in the East-West game.   The coaches got to observe how the players took coaching and criticism, up close and personal.

Senior Bowl Practice Players of the Week

The important thing about these awards is that the opposing peers make the selection.  The Offensive Line Player of the Week is selected by the Defensive lineman they dominated all week.

American Team

QB: Max Duggan, TCU

RB: Eric Gray, Oklahoma

WR: Dontayvion Wicks, Virginia

TE: Cam Latu, Alabama

OL: Darnell Wright, Tennessee

DL: Zacch Pickens, South Carolina

LB: Dee Winters, TCU

CB: Darius Rush, South Carolina

SAF: Jammie Robinson, Florida State

ST: Alex Ward (SN), Central Florida

National team

QB: Jake Haener, Fresno State

RB: Chase Brown, Illinois

WR: Jayden Reed, Michigan State

TE: Payne Durham, Purdue

OL: Cody Mauch, North Dakota State

DL: Adetomiwa Adebawore, Northwestern

LB: Ivan Pace, Cincinnati

CB: Kyu Blu Kelly, Stanford

SAF: J.J. Skinner, Boise State

ST: Bryce Barringer (P), Michigan State


Consensus Top 10 players

Tyjae Spears RB Tulane – He was listed on all six top players list.  What I liked about Spears was his pass blocking and receiving.  His route running was terrific.  He stands 5’ 10”,204 lbs,  and runs an estimated 4.47 40-yard dash.   The video of him blocking Aubrey Miller LB, Jackson St is terrific.

Dawand Jones OT Ohio St – He is massive at 6’8” and 350 lbs.  He played RT at Ohio St but some believe he can play LT in the NFL.

Darnell Wright OT Tennessee – Wright had a terrific week of practice and was named American Team practice player of the week.   He is 6’5” and 342 lbs.  He was a three-year starter in the SEC, two at RT and his senior year at LT.

John Michael Schmitz C Minnesota – at 6’4” and 320 lbs Schmitz can play either G or C.   He is a 6th year senior and will be 24 at the start of the 2023 season.

Keeanu Benton DT Wisconsin – 6’4”, 317 lbs dominated the line in the Senior Bowl practices.  Plays the NT position and eats up space in the interior.  Had 10 TFL and 2 PBU to go along with 4.5 sacks.

Nate “Tank” Dell WR Houston – 5’8” 165 lbs.  He is small but lightning-quick.  He consistently beat CBs at the line of scrimmage and again at the top of his routes.  Expected to run in the 4.3s.

Will McDonald Edge Iowa St. – He was mentioned in 5 of 6 reviews.  6’4” 241 lbs and an estimated 4.62 40.  Impressed with his pass drop as well as his one-on-one pass rush moves.

Daiyan Henley LB Washington St – 6’1” 230 4.53 40  He is one of that new breed of smaller / faster linebackers.  His speed was evident all week.  The question was could he hold up over the course of a season playing at that weight?  He is smaller than Patriots Safety Kyle Dugger.

Jayden Reed WR, Michigan St  – 5’11” 190lbs 4.42 40 He was the most consistent Wide Receiver all week in practice.  He was named a Practice Player of the week and showed up in 2 other reports.

Darius Rush CB South Carolina – 6’ 2” 196 lbs 4.52 40 He is another big corner that is popular with the scouts.   He was also voted practice player of the week by his peers.  He showed up on 2 of 6 reports.


East West Shrine Game Re-Cap

The biggest takeaway from the East-West game was the Patriots’ coaching staff participation.  Bill Belichick took that to mean hands-on coaching as he gave several of the West Stars tips.  Troy Brown was the winning coach in what was a boring game.  Jake Moody K from Michigan was the Offensive MVP with 4 FGs, 2 of those from 51 yards.  Trey Dean, S Florida was the Defensive MVP with an interception and several key tackles.  Dean is big at 6’3” 210 lbs and still runs a 4.5 40.  The word out of the game is that the Patriots coaches are enamored with a pair of Defensive players Mohamoud Diabate LB Utah and Isaiah Moore LB NC State.   I liked Michael Turk P Oklahoma.  He boomed punts all week, especially his hang time.  Turk was also the holder for Moody.  I have the Patriots selecting both Moody and Turk with late-round picks.


Patriots coaching staff coming into focus

Will Lawing, a former member of Bill O’Briens coaching staff will be joining the Patriots.  It was unknown what position he will be coaching, but it appears that he may be filling the spot vacated by Nick Caley, the former TE coach.  Caley left to join Kyle Shanahan in LA to coach their TEs.  Caley did not sign a contract extension last year and was passed over for the Offensive coordinator position.  He was blocked from leaving with Josh McDaniels last year and I am sure there are some hard feelings over that.

The new Offensive line coach appears to be Adrian Klemm.  The former Patriot #1 pick leaves the Oregon Ducks where he led them to the #13 rushing offense in 2022.  The official announcements have not been made.


Morse’s Morsels 

Cole Strange was not as bad as we thought

Strange allowed a QB pressure on 4.1% of the times he dropped into pass coverage snaps in 2022.  Now that number isn’t great, but it was the best of any rookie Offensive Lineman.  Put into that context, Strange wasn’t quite as bad as we thought.  In fact, he allowed only 1 QB pressure in the final 2 games.


HBCU Legacy Bowl Feb 25th

The annual Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) Legacy bowl features players from the HBCU conferences.  The game is sponsored by the NFL Players Association and features up-and-coming black coaches.  This gives the players and coaches exposure they wouldn’t normally get.  The game will be at 3:00 on the NFL Network.  A combine-like workout will be held on 2/20 for these players.


Trent Brown on the cutting Board

One player that I would consider cutting would be OT Trent Brown.  He commands an $11M salary and does not play up to that number.  According to PatsCap Miguel Benzan, cutting Brown would create $7.5M in Cap Space.  Brown would have $4.25M in dead money if cut.  If another team were to sign him, the Patriots could recoup up to $3M on the 2024 salary cap.

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    1 month ago

    LA coach is Mcvay, and not Shanahan

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