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Thursday Patriots Notebook 8/3: News and Notes

Ian Logue
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2 months ago at 5:00 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots News

Thursday Patriots Notebook 8/3: News and NotesEric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Some news and notes for this morning:

Strong Day For Jones, Zappe

Both Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe had good days against New England’s defense, with the offense seemingly getting an edge against a defense that had been making life difficult on them recently.

According to reports, Jones was 13-of-15 during the competitive portion of practice, with Zappe finishing 12-of-14 during his portion of the session.

Jones had a couple of nice throws, including two impressive connections to JuJu Smith-Schuster and DeVante Parker, with the third-year QB clearly building chemistry with his receivers.

Zappe had the biggest throw of the afternoon, hitting Tre Nixon on a 40-yard toss over Jack Jones that got fans excited as Nixon came down with the football.

Both players appear to be gaining confidence and the group as a whole seems to be much farther along from a comfort level than they were just a few days ago.

Hunter Henry also had a solid showing, with teammate Matt Sokol also having some good moments.  Gesicki also continues to impress, with the newcomer continuing to get his timing down with Jones just one week into training camp.

Tyquan Thornton reportedly was limited during the session but Kendrick Bourne finally started to put together some good reps after his slow start.  That’s good news, especially with the team just one week away from its first preseason game next week at Gillette Stadium against Houston.

Meanwhile, Trent Brown was limited on Wednesday and that saw Reilly Reiff get some work in at left tackle, while Conor McDermott continued taking snaps at right tackle.

One bright spot was the fact Chasen Hines returned to practice, which comes after he had suffered an earlier injury.  Rookie Sidy Sow also continued getting work at right tackle as he transitions to that spot.

Stevenson’s Status Being Driven by Coaches

Rhamondre Stevenson’s workload appears to have been limited so far this preseason, with the New England Patriots running back seeing some time off for what some reports have said to be precautionary reasons.

He appeared on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak and Bertrand on Wednesday, with Stevenson saying during the interview that his status is being determined by the coaches, not by any requests on his part.

“It’s my coaches plan,” said Stevenson.  “Straight my coaches plan.  I have no say in that.”

Stevenson admitted that last year’s 17 game season was tough, but he spent time this offseason trying to ensure he’s better prepared this time around.

“It was kind of taxing but just doing my work in the offseason and just being proactive about injuries and things like that,” he said.  “I think that will help me a lot this year.  I was prepared, but it was a lot on my table.”

The veteran was banged up at the end of last season and it appears like the club is being cautious in their approach with him ahead of the regular season.

It certainly makes sense, as one would have to believe he’ll again be a key part of the offense now that former teammate Damien Harris has departed to Buffalo this offseason.

That leaves both Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris competing for playing time behind him, as well as any other potential free agent they may add between now and the start of the regular season.

Lack of Interest in Fournette Explained

Former Tampa Bay running back Leonard Fournette visited with the club this offseason a few weeks ago, with the running back ultimately ending up without a contract following his meeting.

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the two sides had planned to stay in touch, but nothing has materialized to this point.

One reason why Fournette may have not ended up a Patriot was revealed earlier this week by’s Paul Perillo, during an appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak and Bertrand on Monday.

Perillo believes that a lack of conditioning by Fournette may have been the issue.

“Leonard Fournette I think has had some problems with size,” said Perillo.  “I think that there’s probably a good chance that maybe he came in, talked to Bill, and they were like, we’ll revisit this in three weeks when you get yourself in shape.”

Running back remains an area of concern and it’s pretty well known that Belichick has had an affinity for the free agent back.  However, the club appears comfortable enough to continue being patient while seeing what it has in Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris, who have both made some progress through the first week of training camp.

WR Lee Released

The Patriots made a roster move on Wednesday, with the club parting ways with rookie receiver Ed Lee.

The former standout from Rhode Island originally joined the club back on June 5, 2023 and had been battling for a spot at the bottom of the receiving depth chart.

Unfortunately, it’s been a tough run for Lee after both Demario Douglas and Kayshon Boutte have each stepped up thus far in camp, with newcomer Thyrick Pitts having been claimed by the club following Jalen Hurd’s retirement yesterday.

That apparently left Lee as the odd man out, which ends his potential shot at playing for the hometown team.

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