Some Patriots news and notes on this Monday:
Onwenu Still Recovering
After not missing a snap through sixteen games last season, Patriots offensive lineman Michael Onwenu is among players still trying to get healthy this offseason. According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Onwenu is still recovering following offseason ankle surgery, which is expected to keep him out of the team’s upcoming OTA’s.
The veteran New England Patriots tackle reportedly suffered the injury during the final game of the season, with Onwenu ending up with Bills defensive lineman DaQuan Jones landing on the back of his legs on the second play of the fourth quarter.
The play happened on a 1st-and-10 from the Bills’ 45-yard line, which also saw David Andrews get called for a holding penalty, adding insult to Onwenu’s injury.
With Onwenu sidelined, the Patriots did manage to finish off that drive with a touchdown pass from Mac Jones to DeVante Parker, which got them back within striking distance at 28-23 with 11:37 left to go in the game. However, Buffalo pulled away on the ensuing drive thanks to the 49-yard pass from Josh Allen to Stefon Diggs, and the Patriots went on to lose that one 35-23.
Following the injury, Onwenu remained on the sideline, missing the final six offensive snaps of the game. That snapped what had been perfect attendance for the veteran up to that point and it appears he’s still on the mend.
James White Has Advice For Mac Jones
Former Patriots running back James White appeared with Tom Curran on his recent podcast and talked about a variety of topics, including what his advice would be for quarterback Mac Jones heading into 2023.
“Move forward,” said White, who played with Jones during his rookie season in 2021 before getting injured. “I mean, obviously, everybody is going to bring up last season and what they saw. Some people are going to be wanting [Bailey] Zappe to be the starting quarterback, but, move forward, put your blinders on, come in the same way you did your rookie season, put in the work, earn that trust of your teammates once again.”
“I mean, everybody in the locker room who’s got the opportunity to be around him or play with him knows what type of player he can be, and I think if he just goes out there and earns the trust of his teammates once again, I think he’ll be just fine.”
Curran then touched on the obvious difficulties Jones faced last season, which led White to elaborate on his comments about having to earn “trust” among his teammates.
“I guess I shouldn’t really say re-earn the trust, I think just kind of go out there and show them in a sense. I think they all trust him, but go out there and show it in practice and show it week in and week out during the game, because otherwise, obviously, they got a little taste of somebody else who is behind him.”
“That’s kind of what this generation is now, everybody is looking for, ‘What’s the next best thing?’ I mean, Zappe played like, what, two games or whatnot, and they saw a few flashes of something good, and there like, ‘Oh, I need some more of that.’ They haven’t seen a full season of Zappe so they don’t really know. If they put Zappe in there, he may not necessarily be ready, and they’ll be calling for Mac. I think Mac is a guy that can come in confident this upcoming season. I think he’s the guy that’ll lead them to the most victories that they could possibly get.”
Cajuste Drawing Interest
If the Patriots have any plans about potentially bringing back recently released offensive lineman Yodney Cajuste, it appears they might have some competition.
According to the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Cajuste reportedly has visits set with the New York Jets and New York Giants on Tuesday, with the departed tackle seemingly drawing some interest.
The club waived him last week, which saved them over $2 million on their salary cap. His release saw the team part ways with the last remaining pick from the 2019 draft, with 3rd round pick Damien Harris having also left after signing with Buffalo this offseason.
Jim Brown Passes
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the passing of NFL legend Jim Brown, who reportedly passed away on Thursday night at the age of 87.
The former Browns running back played nine seasons in the league, having retired at the end of the 1965 season before going on to appear in quite a few movies over the remainder of his life off the gridiron.
He appeared in a variety of films, including his debut “The Dirty Dozen” in 1967, as well as many others over the years including 1999’s “Any Given Sunday,” which saw him appear with an all-star cast that included Al Pacino, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quad, and James Woods.
But what Brown was most known for was his involvement in the community, which saw him put in an enormous amount of work for various causes. He was extremely committed to making a difference, which eventually led to the league establishing the “Jim Brown Award,” which was founded last year in recognition to his commitment to off-the-field initiatives and social justice issues.
“It’s hard to think of a player who has impacted the game and society as much as Jim Brown,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell following the announcement. “His legendary accomplishments on the field were matched or exceeded only by his lifelong dedication to many off the field initiatives, including social justice issues, which have inspired generations of players that have followed him.”
“I saw first-hand the high regard players have for Jim a few years ago while attending a meeting with current players. The room was loud…until Jim entered. Then the room instantly grew silent, which was every attendee’s way of paying respect to one of the greatest players of all time. This award is our way of ensuring that recognition of Jim’s impact on the NFL and society continues forever.”
Las Vegas running back Josh Jacobs was the first recipient of the award in 2022.
Brown is survived by Monique and their two children, as well as three other children from his first marriage.
“To the world, he was an activist, actor and football star,” Brown wrote on Instagram. “To our family, he was a loving and wonderful husband, father and grandfather. Our hearts are broken.”
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