Good morning, and a very Happy Easter/Passover/Ramadan weekend from all of us at PatsFans.com. It is a rare occurrence that happens about once every 30 years. Here are our Sunday Patriots news and notes.
First of all, congratulations to Dante Scarnecchia, who Robert Kraft announced in being inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame. It is much deserved…details are below.
As it is draft season, rumors are swirling everywhere, and as usual, many rumors are circulating around the Patriots. Did/are the Patriots shopping Mac Jones? If they are, are they interested in signing a veteran QB? They could be looking for a veteran QB as insurance, similar to what they had in Brian Hoyer, who also was paid to go away (to Vegas) under his own rumors.
Are they truly looking for “a blue chip” running back (Bijan Robinson, Jahmyr Gibbs) early in the draft, as in late 1st early 2nd Rounds?
We’ll dive into these rumors and try to sort out the wheat from the chaff. It is an old biblical reference…hey it is Easter/Passover/Ramadan.
Quick Hitters For the Patriots and NFL News:
Blue Chip RB? Not Necessarily: One of the latest rumors surrounding New England has been the reports that they are interested in adding a “blue chip” running back in the draft later this month. That would probably be either Texas’ Bijan Robinson or Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs.
Both could go in the late 1st or early 2nd round. Gibbs played for Bill O’Brien at Alabama, who knows his value. Gibbs is a tremendous change of pace back who will stretch the field horizontally as a runner and vertically as a pass catcher. He ran a 4.36 in the 40 with a 1.52 10-yard split. He runs excellent routes, has great hands, and is a mismatch in the passing game.
The only caveat is that the team already has five running backs (Rhamondre Stevenson, Pierre Strong, Kevin Harris, newly signed James Robinson, and Ty Montgomery) on the roster. They drafted Strong last year to fulfill the change of pace role. While drafting Gibbs may not be a necessity, it would definitely bring a familiar and good weapon to Bill O’Brien.
And they have several other holes to fill. But he is a dynamic player. Whenever ‘Bama was in need of a boost offensively last year, they turned to Gibbs, who rushed 151 times for 926 yards (6.1 avg), with seven TDs in 12 games. He added 44 receptions for 444 yards, 10.1 per catch, with three TDs, and returning kicks 13 returns for 258 yards (19.8-yard avg).
Veteran QB Addition: Former NFL Network reporter Mike Giardi reported that the Patriots were open to adding a veteran QB, as Mac Jones is entering his 3rd year and Bailey Zappe in his 2nd.
However, the feeling here is that it is just that, a veteran presence but not as a starter to replace Jones as some have suggested. But crazier things have happened.
Cool Stuff, At Least to Me: Ian Logue sent me this, and I thought it was a cool bit. The XFL apparently allows double-forward passes behind the line of scrimmage. While I don’t see it becoming a rule in the NFL, imagine the possibilities.
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 spoke about free agency moves and needs. Our pre-draft series will start this week.
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. (See below for more thoughts on this)
Dante Scarnecchia Named to Team HOF, Next Stop Canton —
The Patriots recently convened the team’s HOF committee, and as they were meeting, team owner Robert Kraft appeared and made a surprise announcement. Long-time assistant coach Dante Scarnecchia would be added to the Hall as a “lifelong contributor to the franchise.” Scarnecchia is a member of the committee.
This act by Kraft forgoes the unnecessary act of Scarnecchia being nominated and then voted upon by the fans. As the owner, Kraft can put someone in as being such a contributor. Scarnecchia, as reported by ESPN’s Mike Reiss, who is also a member of the committee, was “stunned” by the news and received a standing ovation.
“Dante Scarnecchia is recognized as one of the greatest assistant coaches of all time,” Kraft said in a statement. “He is the first Patriots assistant coach to receive this honor and I can’t think of a more deserving person.”
“He earned the respect of his fellow coaches and players, many of whom credited Dante for making them the best they could be,” Kraft added.
“I am proud that his legacy will be preserved in our Hall of Fame forever.”
Scarnecchia becomes the fourth “contributor” of the honor. Billy Sullivan, Gil Santos, and Tracy Sormanti were the previous honorees.
Coach Scar was also recently awarded the NFL’s honor of The Awards of Excellence program, launched by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2022, to honor those who positively impacted individual teams and the sport of professional football.
Scarnecchia first began coaching with the Patriots in 1982. He left for a time with the Colts with Ron Meyer in 1989 and 1990 before returning in 1991. He remained with the Patriots until a brief retirement in 2013, returning again after a two-year hiatus and staying with the team from 2016-2020, this time retiring for good.
Scarnecchia is one of the best positional coaches ever in the NFL and should one day reside in Canton. He made a habit of turning OL who weren’t highly regarded in the draft into very good linemen. Always stressing fundamentals, his offensive linemen were instrumental in the Super Bowl appearances and the six wins.
Other Quick Thoughts on the Patriots Hall of Fame —
The Patriots committee for the Hall has done their voting, and as nearly every year, there will be three players from the modern era on the ballot. But it does a disservice to the players who came before them.
Contrary to what is often repeated in the region, the Patriots weren’t terrible every year from their inaugural season to 2001. There were several very good teams and many outstanding players in those years. On Friday, I wrote on Twitter that, “The Patriots need to convene the Senior Committee and get some of the greats from years ago: Russ Francis (ridiculous that he’s not in), Chuck Fairbanks, Julius Adams, Mosi Tatupu, Darryl Stingley…the list goes on.”
Granted, most of the voters weren’t alive when many of these players were active; that’s why the senior committee needs to convene. But apparently, all is not lost in that regard. Butch Stearns, the excellent sports anchor from Fox 25, responded that the senior committee was supposed to meet every other year, but COVID interfered. They are supposed to meet next year.
Another Take On Mac Jones Being Shopped —
Doug Kyed, formerly from NESN and PFF, had some good information on the supposed Mac Jones being shopped story. Kyed was doing a podcast with Michael Hurley and said this:
“Actually, first Rotoworld posted about it, and then Mike Florio did, and then I was like, all right, I should probably reach out to some people about it, see if there actually is [tension]. And the first person I talked to actually was like, ‘Yes, there’s 100% tension. There’s tension on both sides, this is real.’ And that person casually mentioned that Bill Belichick had tried to trade Mac Jones. And I was like, yeah, that’s kind of crazy, I don’t know.”
“People say things like that all the time. This is a reputable source and everything like that, but it was just like, kind of out of left field, something I would have to confirm from a few other people or whatever. And then literally five minutes later, because I had reached out to someone else about it, literally five minutes later Florio tweets this out. I’m like, ‘What the Hell?’ It’s been five days since this story first broke. I decide to finally get off my ass and do something about it 10 minutes ago. I found out this piece of information, which I was like I’m probably not going to do anything with this because I doubt that I’ll get it confirmed on the team’s side, and then Florio posts it.”
“So, really, I wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable putting that out there. The one thing I would put out there that I did get from more of the team’s side is that, ‘well, we haven’t gotten anything that we’d take.’ That doesn’t mean anything that they’ve gotten anything, that there have been trade discussions, basically just, ‘We haven’t moved him yet.’ I don’t know exactly where I stand on this.”
So, while I was/am skeptical, I may have been wrong on this. It wouldn’t be the first time.
Draft Profile – Riley Moss, CB, Iowa —
I recently saw several mock drafts that had the Patriots selecting Iowa CB Riley Moss in the middle rounds, so I decided to do a quick draft profile on him. He tips the scales at 6’1, 193, and has played over 2,600 snaps during his college career.
The Patriots need a bigger boundary CB who can match up with bigger WRs with the speed to stay with them down the field. He could eventually move to FS, a la Devin McCourty. He has terrific range and a nose for the football.
– Has the size and length that you’d want in the position
– Has outstanding ball skills with speed and quickness
– Moss is very instinctive and had 11 INTs with 3 Pick-sixes
– He is experienced and very good in man coverage or zone
– He had some injuries in Iowa, which may be a concern
– Inconsistent working through blocks in the running game
– Needs to get a little stronger
What his Role Will Be:
Moss will probably inherit the Patriots’ left CB role during training camp
Will His Role Change from Year 1-to-2?
Yes, if he develops well, he could be the next free safety
How Many Downs Can He Play?
Four, he should be a core special teamer
What Current Player on the Roster Will He Replace?
Jalen Mills, who we believe is moving to safety, possibly McCourty down the road
What is his ST Value?
Good, he should be a core special teamer
Moss is an often-overlooked cornerback because he’s one of the few white corners, which leads many to believe that he is neither fast nor athletic, but that assumption is wrong. He is indeed athletic and aggressive and excels at both man and zone coverage.
Moss ran a 4.45 at the Combine, with an excellent 1.48 10-yard split, a 39-inch vertical and a 10’7 broad jump. He is an instinctive cornerback with good size and play strength, who can be found in the middle rounds.
Video highlight reel from the Big Ten Network:
“Did the Texans call Bill and say, ‘Are you going to move Mac?’ and he said, ‘What do you offer?’ Because every player is available, right? But not every player is being shopped. So the idea that he’s shopping Mac is that’s against everything he would do,” Lombardi said. “First of all, he’s the most secretive person in the league. He’s not going to tell you anything he’s doing. Even some people in the organization don’t know.
“But if somebody comes to him and says, ‘I’ll give you a (first) for Mac.’ I mean, OK, does that mean he’s shopping him? No, that just means somebody asked the question.”
“I’ll say correctly, he’s not being shopped. The report’s erroneous,” Lombardi said. “… Belichick is way smarter than I am… He’s not saying, ‘Hey, I’m going to trade Mac Jones.’ He knows the repercussions of it. But now can he stop somebody from asking? Of course not.
“I mean, if I called Andy Reid and said, ‘You going to trade Pat Mahomes?’ He’s gonna say, ‘no,’ right? But that does that mean he’s shopping Pat Mahomes? Of course not.”
Michael Lombardi, a close friend of Bill Belichick, was quoted by Mark Daniels on how he believes that Mac Jones isn’t being shopped.
“So, how was your week?”
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