Some news and notes for this morning:
Red Area Work Continues
Thursday was another day down in the red area for the New England Patriots offense and once again, it was the defense that held the edge and made life difficult on the other side of the football.
Mac Jones had another tough day against them, with the third-year quarterback taking some chances while trying to make some tight throws. Kyle Dugger picked off Jones again on Thursday, with Jones attempting an ill-advised throw back across his body in traffic in the middle of the field that Dugger snagged.
Jones immediately dropped to the ground and did push ups following the miscue, but that’s certainly something you’d prefer to see in August and not when they begin playing meaningful games.
However, Jones did have some solid moments. He hit a nice throw to Hunter Henry and later followed that up with a touchdown pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster on a nice throw against rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez.
He also made several touch passes on thrown high on corner and fade routes that while they fell incomplete, were the type of throws that need to be worked on at this point in the year so they can potentially pay dividends down the road.
Jones has pointed out previously that this is the time of year where he’ll attempt some throws he wouldn’t normally make as this is the best time to take some shots as the offense gets its feet underneath it. The interception aside, that was apparent yesterday on several plays as he continues working with some new faces.
Overall, while things may have been a little inconsistent, they’re only two days in with plenty of time still left to work out the kinks.
Bourne Remains Quiet
One thing worth noting is that so far, Kendrick Bourne, who many believe will potentially have a bounce back season coming off of last year, has been relatively quiet thus far through the first two days.
Bourne has had limited targets so far, including just one on Thursday, largely due to the fact he’s apparently been having a difficult time getting separation during the club’s two sessions.
The veteran wideout had a busy offseason, with Bourne often posting his workouts on social media, which were frequent. But one thing that’s been a little concerning is the fact that he didn’t look quite as quick during several of those sessions compared to a year ago.
That was something that was easy to dismiss watching him just running routes in his videos, but the early reports haven’t seemed to be overly positive for the former San Francisco 49ers receiver.
While it’s still early, this will definitely be something to keep an eye on over the next couple of weeks as he’s potentially a big key to their season and they could be in trouble if he can’t begin turning things around.
Douglas Quietly Stepping Up
Rookie receiver Demario Douglas has been seeing reps with the first team so far during camp, with the rookie quietly emerging as a candidate to potentially land a spot on the Patriots depth chart.
Douglas has looked quick during camp early on and has had some nice moments, albeit he’s had limited targets during team drills. But so far, the shifty receiver out of Liberty appears to be as advertised, and he’s clearly caught the eye of the coaching staff to already be working with the top group.
How things evolve for him will be fun to follow, as he seems to be a player who could be a factor at the position in the coming weeks.
Notable Backup OLs Getting in Work
A couple of notable names were getting some work in with the second team on New England’s offensive line, which will remain something to keep an eye on.
Last year’s 2022 7th round pick Andrew Stueber got some work in at left tackle, while fellow 6th round pick Chasen Hines worked at left guard. Both of those players fell off the radar last year, so seeing them already getting in work early on is definitely encouraging.
Stueber is a huge player, with the former Michigan standout coming in at 6’7″ and he was expected to potentially be a factor last year but things didn’t quite work out that way. But the fact he’s been able to get some work in this early in the process is definitely good to see.
The same can be said for Hines, who is another big guy and he was a solid player at LSU with various scouting reports talking about his aggressiveness and the fact he plays with an edge.
Obviously, a lot of the discussion this offseason has centered around New England’s offensive line but it appears that they’re at least finally seeing what both of these guys can do, which is certainly a positive sign.
Meanwhile, 2023 5th round pick Atonio Mafi was at right guard, while Conor McDermott – who filled in for the club last season – was at right tackle. Fourth-round pick Sidy Sow also got some snaps with the second-team.
Kraft Takes a Step Toward the Hall
Patriots owner Robert Kraft certainly deserves to see his name end up in Canton and it appears he’s one step closer to seeing that happen.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame released the second round of voting on Thursday, with Kraft being included among the 29 finalists which includes 12 Coaches/Contributors up for consideration for the class of 2024.
Other names joining Kraft for consideration are Tom Coughlin, Mike Holmgren, Frank “Bucko” Kilroy, Buddy Parker, Dan Reeves, Art Rooney Jr., Marty Schottenheimer, Mike Shanahan, Clark Shaughnessy, Lloyd Wells and John Wooten.
Meetings to discuss the candidates will reportedly take place on August 22 when the Seniors Committee convenes. They’ll then be able to select up to three names for final consideration.
Belichick Quick Hits
- “Kyle’s a really good player. Yeah, he’s big, he can run, he can tackle, he can cover, he can blitz. Yeah, he’s great. These guys are great. That’s why they go high in the draft, premium for them and they end up getting a lot of money. That’s what they bring.” – Belichick on Kyle Dugger.
- “Great. Good. Really good. One of our best.” – Belichick on Hunter Henry’s offseason.
- “I mean obviously great. All of the coaches that have been here, Claude [Julien], Bruce [Cassidy], Jim [Montgomery] now, everybody’s raved about him and what he’s meant to the team, the organization, just in all the things. It sounds like he was kind of their Devin McCourty, just did everything right. A great leader and player, so congratulations on a tremendous career.” – Belichick on the retirement of Bruins legend Patrice Bergeron
Posted Under: Patriots News