Some news and notes for this morning:
Jack Jones Imploded on Thursday
It’s been a tough couple of months for Jack Jones, who after mistakenly bringing two loaded weapons into security ahead of a flight through Logan Airport, has already been facing a potentially steep penalty ahead of his court date on August 18th.
That has potentially put his future up in the air, with the embattled wideout spending most of his time playing among second and third-string players early on in training camp. However, something apparently happened on Thursday that sent Jones over the edge, leading to one of the more bizarre scenes that have happened in recent memory.
According to multiple reports, the situation started while Jones was facing off against wideout Kendrick Bourne, contesting a tight pass to the veteran receiver.
From there, the details appear to be a little murky. There was apparently a vocal exchange and then Jones walked off the field extremely heated, with many initially believing that the second-year defensive back may have been booted from practice.
As he left the field, he was escorted by Jabril Peppers, who had his arm around him seemingly trying to calm him down and talk to him on their way back to the locker room.
However, Jones later returned in full uniform, but was spotted on one knee on the sidelines as he was apparently forced to be a spectator from that point on. Director of Player Personnel Matt Groh was seen talking to him at one point, but that strange sequence of events ended the rest of his day.
For a player who may eventually find himself in front of a jury given the charges he’s facing, doing anything bizarre that could potentially make him appear unstable or provide additional ammunition for a prosecutor definitely seems unwise.
As a result, his situation remains a concern, with Thursday adding yet another reason to wonder about his future here in New England.
Thornton Sits Out
Second-year wideout Tyquan Thornton was present on Thursday but was again limited, spending the session down on the lower field.
With Kendrick Bourne slowly building momentum and both rookies Demario Douglas and Kayshon Boutte each starting to really perform well, Thornton’s absence is costing him some valuable snaps as the Patriots’ depth chart continues taking shape.
Factor in Tre Nixon, who has also come alive these past few days catching passes from both quarterbacks, and it feels like Thornton may starting to be squeezed out of the mix if he can’t get healthy.
It’s still early and a lot can change, but the former Baylor standout isn’t off to the start many were hoping for heading into his sophomore season.
Coaches Switch Things Up
Both quarterbacks were taken out of their comfort zones on Thursday as the coaching staff swapped receiving groups at one point during the session.
Mac Jones found himself working with the second group that consisted of Nixon, Douglas and Boutte, while Bailey Zappe found himself working with the likes of Kendrick Bourne, Devante Parker and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
It was an interesting exercise as the idea was clearly to change things up since either player could find themselves throwing to those guys, with Zappe’s opportunity being even more important in the sense that Jones already missed time last year, so being ready again certainly needs to be a priority. That and it allowed both players to build some extra chemistry during the session.
Both ended up with mixed results but it’s a reminder that change can happen at any time and getting the work in now definitely makes sense.
Jones Not Distracted By QB Talk
Bill Belichick’s comments earlier in the week about everyone competing, regardless of position, has been a hot button topic all week and it wasn’t a surprise that someone finally asked Mac Jones about it on Thursday.
Jones, who has clearly heard the noise, brushed it off and said that going out there and being both a good player and a leader has been his priority. His biggest concern is making sure he’s building confidence in the guys, with getting them to believe in him being the most important thing heading into the season.
“I think every year you have to have the mindset that you’re competing, not only against yourself, you’re competing against the teams you’re about to play, which is really important for me,” said Jones. “Understanding that it’s the NFL, and every week you’re going to go against a great quarterback. So, that’s my biggest concern and just trying to lead the team every day and bring everybody along.”
“You know, I’ve been fortunate to be in a lot of quarterback rooms that are really good. So, just trying to learn from everybody, obviously learn from Coach [Bill] O’ Brien, and Evan [Rothstein] and Coach Belichick.”
“At the end of the day, it’s all about improving each day. When you go out there on Sunday, you want your guys to be confident in you, and that’s what I’m trying to instill in them right now.”
The former Liberty wideout had another strong showing as he continues what’s been a terrific training camp.
Douglas had one route where he cut so quickly that he caused second-year defensive back Marcus Jones to fall down, which was a terrific example of how quick he is and how well he changes direction.
He received some praise from Jones, who has already given him a nickname.
“Pop Shotta. That’s my guy,” said Jones. “I’m going to call him Pop Shotta. Anyways, he’s a great kid, works really hard. I think a lot of the young receivers are really learning from the older guys, which is something that I think is really cool.”
With the team of needing an explosive receiver with elusiveness in the slot, Douglas has seemingly answered that bell to this point.
Again, there’s still a fair amount of time still left to go but if he can sustain this, it’s starting to look quite possible we could see more of him in 2023.
LB Hall Released
The team announced that they have parted ways with linebacker Terez Hall on Thursday, which comes on the heels of him missing the day’s earlier session.
After joining the club as a rookie free agent back in 2019, he’s spent the last few seasons on the practice squad, as well as seeing some game action, appearing in eight games while finishing with 50 tackles and two passes defended.
The club had initially signed him to a reserve/future contact back in January, but it appears his run in New England may have finally come to a close.
Odds and Ends
Cole Strange was present on Thursday but sat out practice. Strange was spotted with a wrap on his knee but the fact he was out there again remains a good sign … Trent Brown was also present but sat out as his uneven preseason continues … Atonio Mafi looked strong on Thursday, with the rookie seemingly settling in as he continues making a case for himself up front at guard. … There’s been a bit of buzz as of late on kicker Chad Ryland, who has reportedly looked solid early on. He hit seven attempts on Thursday and looks like he’s making a strong push at this point, which could potentially unseat incumbent Nick Folk … Bryce Baringer also appears to be doing the same at the punting position, which would be good news for a club that struggled in that area after Jake Bailey went down last season.
The club will hold its annual season-ticket holder in-stadium practice tonight beginning at 7pm at Gillette Stadium.
Posted Under: Patriots News