Some news and notes for this morning.
Garafolo High On Jones
While the Patriots remain longshots to contend in the AFC East among the experts, there are some who are beginning to climb on the bandwagon ahead of training camp.
Greg Rosenthal appeared along with Mike Garafolo on the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football program on Tuesday, and after suggesting Mac Jones could make a Kirk Cousins-type of leap this season, Garafolo agreed, and he believes that type of step forward would definitely be good enough to get New England back into the mix.
“Exciting, because that’s what Mac Jones was his rookie year. 3,800 yards, 22 touchdowns,” said Garafolo. “At home, he was sensational. 16 touchdowns to 7 interceptions. He had that game where Brady came in and he kind of hung with him. The game against Dallas where they were kind of going back and forth, that was a fun game. Remember that game?”
“Remember we how fun Mac Jones used to be? Remember we were saying things like, ‘I can’t believe the Patriots, after having Tom Brady for 20-years, just fell right into Mac Jones here, and nobody jumped ahead of them in the draft to take him away? We weren’t saying these things in 2022. We were saying them back in 2021.”
“So if Greg Rosenthal is correct and Mac Jones makes the Kirk Cousins-type leap, which feels sort of like a backhanded compliment, right? A little bit? But I get what he’s saying, and if he gets to Kirk Cousins’ level, that’s good quarterback production because we’ve seen it from Kirk over the years. We’ll start saying those things that we were saying back in 2021 again. That’s what it will mean.”
Should the Patriots find themselves back in postseason contention, the biggest question will also be how Jones responds on the big stage. That may be the area where he could differentiate himself, considering that Cousins has seemed to fold in those situations.
Cousins has played in five playoff games during his career, finishing with just one victory, which came against New Orleans back in 2020.
He was beaten this past January by the Giants’ Daniel Jones in January in the Wild Card round, with Cousins throwing for just 32 yards in the final 15 minutes, as well as throwing well short of the sticks on their final offensive play of the game on fourth down.
That type of result won’t be acceptable to a Patriots franchise that is used to being a contender. While Jones lost his one playoff game back during his rookie season, it also came before New England’s defense morphed into the faster and more dominant form it’s now become.
Many of those moves likely stemmed from the 47-17 beating they suffered that postseason against a Bills team that was far more athletic, and the Patriots have since closed that gap substantially on that side of the football.
Jones having success in 2023 and leading them to playing meaningful games next January is going to be key. How he performs will also likely make or break his chances of how they approach next offseason when they’ll have to make a decision on whether or not to pick up his fifth-year option.
McDaniels Talks About Belichick’s Influence
After a great interview last week with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, there was another solid interview recently by the 33rd Team, with Rich Gannon sitting down with Raiders coach Josh McDaniels.
During the interview, Gannon asked McDaniels about what it was like to work with Belichick on game day, and what that experience was like for him.
McDaniels’ answer provided some great insight, which will be something worth taking into account as Bill O’Brien gets set to take over the reigns this season.
“The things that I remember most on game day is how in control and in the moment he always was,” said McDaniels. “He was very good about letting me call the game and he knew when to say something and really, a lot of times, when to not ever say anything. You know, as a play caller, you get into a rhythm and you’re kind of going, and all the rest of it, and he knew the right times to sneak in a reminder or a heads up about the situation we were entering into or something like that. He was great about doing that.”
“Mostly, he let me do my job and then after the series, he might have a question or two. He was a great listener. We never did anything because he was the head coach and he just wanted to do it because he was the head coach, you know what I mean? He had an idea or a thought and he might ask for your input on it, and if your idea was better than his, then we were going to do the right idea. And obviously, mostly, they would be his.”
“But he was tremendous for me. Learned a tremendous amount about how to interact on game day. Keep your poise. Be calm. Understand the situation. See the bigger picture. And make the right call, the right adjustment at the right time. But he was tremendous for me for a long, long time.”
Bills Stadium Capacity In Question
One interesting note behind the Buffalo Bills’ new stadium is the fact that the fan seating capacity is reportedly only going to be about 60,000, which means that with a season ticket list that is apparently 63,000, something is going to have to give.
According to a recent article by the Buffalo News, the prices for the new seats are expected to be higher and the Bills are also reportedly planning on selling personal seat licenses, which could potentially reduce the number of people who can afford those seats.
The PSL costs are expected to be anywhere from $500 to as much as $16,500. PSLs are also reportedly required for at least 50,000 seats for season ticket holders.
There’s also expected to be a substantial number of luxury boxes, which are set to replace the areas where one level of seating would have normally been.
So for now, for a region with mostly blue-collar fans supporting the club, it certainly feels like they’re about to push out a lot of the people who have cheered them on over the last two decades despite many years of frustration.
“They’re going to have to give me a number and I’m going to have to look at my checkbook to see if I can do it,” Kathy Swanekamp, a Bills season ticket holder since 1993, told the newspaper.
“I am still interested in keeping my tickets at the new stadium but I still haven’t heard a number for the PSL,” she said Monday. “Without a figure, it’s hard to make a decision one way or another.”
It’s definitely a difficult situation. Given the coming changes, the Bills may find that their fans will definitely find it a challenge to afford seats, which is slowly becoming more difficult for most fans around the NFL’s various cities.
Unfortunately, money continues to be put ahead of the people who support their teams on Sundays by a league that is making boatloads of it, and it’s likely not going to get any better until the bubble eventually bursts, whenever that might be.
Posted Under: Patriots News