Some news and notes for this morning:
All Eyes on Hopkins
DeAndre Hopkins is reportedly in town meeting with the New England Patriots today, with head coach Bill Belichick and his staff likely feeling out the veteran receiver to see just how well he might fit in with this year’s 2023 football team.
Clearly, adding a player of his caliber would be big for the Patriots. Coming off of an embarrassing playoff defeat in 2021 and then the debacle that was 2022, Belichick finds himself in an unusual place for the first time in his coaching career. He’s got a talented team that needs to jump back into the fray both within its own division, as well as figuring out a way to be a factor in the conference in January.
Hopkins would certainly help with that.
While many will talk about how the club has fallen behind the AFC East, one reason stems from the deficit of talent compared to other teams who have been in contention.
One recent segment pointed out that some of the top quarterbacks around the league, including Josh Allen and Tua Tagovailoa, all saw their quarterback rating increase by 20+ points when adding an elite target to their receiving corps.
Obviously, that would be an ideal scenario for Mac Jones here in New England.
Now the only question is whether or not the team can both convince the veteran to come to Foxboro, as well as make the financial portion of things work.
According to the Athletic’s Jeff Howe, there’s optimism the two sides can find a way to reach an agreement, citing a source with knowledge of the situation.
Needless to say, it should definitely be an interesting couple of days.
There was plenty of admiration shown between the Belichick and Hopkins prior to last year’s meeting in Arizona.
With both now in their final years in the NFL given their respective ages, this would absolutely be the perfect time for them to get together and try to make one last run at a ring.
Let’s hope they can make it happen.
No Animosity Between Hopkins and O’Brien
One of the storylines this offseason when it came to Hopkins would be whether or not he’d even consider the Patriots given that his former coach, Bill O’Brien, was here in New England running the offense.
According to ESPN’s Diana Russini, that’s apparently not an issue.
Russini reported on Wednesday that sources told her, “there’s no animosity at all” between the two, which should cross that off among any items of concern about the two being able to work together.
O’Brien traded Hopkins from the Texans back in March of 2020, with the then-Houston head coach and GM citing money as the reason behind making the move.
“I would say the deal with Arizona was a deal that we felt was in the best interest of our team,” O’Brien said at the time during a conference call for Texans season-ticket holders. “DeAndre Hopkins was a great football player here. He made so many plays for us. We love DeAndre Hopkins. But he had three years left on his deal and he wanted a raise. And we weren’t going to be able to go in that direction. We felt like we had a great offer from Arizona that involved picks. That involved an excellent three-down running back who is hungry and humble and just can’t wait to get started. David Johnson is going to be a great addition to our football team.”
It didn’t end well, as O’Brien ended up being fired after barely making it through September of that season.
Now, both have an opportunity to do something special elsewhere and hopefully, should things work out, the two will each get a chance for a little redemption this season.
Offensive Tackle Remains a Concern
Left tackle Trent Brown wasn’t on hand during OTAs and reportedly took part in just one period of minicamp before leaving practice this week.
That leaves New England with a big question with one of their starting tackles, and the overall position appears to still have plenty of questions.
With Brown out of the mix, it had been Calvin Anderson at left tackle and Connor McDermott at right tackle, neither of which make you feel overly comfortable heading into the season.
Behind McDermott is Riley Reiff, who the Chicago Bears parted ways with this offseason after dealing with their own offensive line issues in 2022. Reiff had reportedly been working with the top group during OTAs, but that apparently changed during minicamp.
Instead, Reiff seemed to slide down the depth chart and has been working primarily with the second group behind McDermott, which is a little surprising given that he was also expected to be a factor on the left side and shows that he’s still potentially got some work ahead of him.
Rookie Sidy Sow is another player who, while he played guard in college, there have been reports that Sow could possibly become a factor at tackle. That would add some additional competition at the position next month heading into training camp.
“Sidy Sow, the rookie fourth-rounder out of Eastern Michigan. He played primarily guard for four of his five years in college, but he has tackle ability,” said Phil Perry during he and Tom Curran’s recent podcast. “They like his athleticism, they like his length, he does have some experience there, he played some, I believe it was at the NFLPA Bowl, he played some tackle and they liked what they saw. So that’s where he’s been. He’s been at right tackle also.”
Perry also pointed out that given the question marks, that the Patriots should definitely continue exploring their options both ahead of next month and during roster cutdowns.
The good news is, there’s still plenty of time to get things figured out. If Brown can at least get back to where he was and make it through another season, that would help. But it doesn’t change the fact that they’re heading into camp with limited pieces, especially if it means relying on a player who, so far, doesn’t exactly appear to be “all in” heading into a 17 game regular season and potentially beyond.
In the meantime, it’s definitely still one of the club’s biggest concerns, and it will remain something to keep an eye on next month.
Battle at Placekicker Ahead
Belichick was asked about the kicking position this week, with incumbent Nick Folk going against rookie draft choice Chad Ryland.
When asked what will ultimately make the decision, the Patriots coach cited performance as the obvious one, and that they’ll let things play out.
“Their performance,” said Belichick. “We’ll see how it goes, field goals, kickoffs, consistency. It’s very competitive. We know what Nick can do. Chad’s got a good level of talent, too. It’s competitive like a lot of other spots on our roster. It looks pretty competitive, we’ll see how it goes.”
Belichick also added that if it comes down to carrying more than one of them on the roster depending on how things go, given that they’ve done it in the past, he’s certainly open to that.
“We did last year,” said Belichick. “We had two active or brought one up, so yeah, it’s possible.”
Posted Under: Patriots News