Some news and notes for this morning:
Jones Much More Confident With O’Brien At the Helm
Breer, who has really come into his own at SI after leaving the Boston Globe and taking over for long-time writer Peter King following King’s departure to NBC, got the normally guarded Jones to open up a bit during the conversation, and it gave a nice glimpse of where he’s at heading into his third season.
One of the more difficult aspects for Jones has obviously been the adversity he’s faced, both in his first season and what ended up being a trying season last year. Losing was something he took personally in his first year, especially coming off an undefeated season and a National Championship at Alabama in his final year in college.
But any chance at redemption fell by the wayside in his second season after Josh McDaniels departed to Las Vegas, with Jones having to rely on coaches Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, who were each his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, respectfully.
Patricia didn’t have much experience in the role having been a defensive coach for most of his career, while Judge didn’t have much either. It was an experiment that, with someone like Jones, who is extremely intelligent and asks a lot of questions, just didn’t work.
Listening to Jones, it’s clear he didn’t seem to have much faith in what was going on, with the biggest issue seemingly being he didn’t get the information he needed when times were difficult.
One quote by Jones was notable, which came when Breer asked him about new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.
“He’s super real,” Jones told Breer. “He’s a straight-up guy, not only as a coach but as a person. He’s going to let you know, Hey, you’re not doing this right. Hey, you’re doing this really well. Some coaches will tell you, but then they don’t give you a plan to fix it. I think the coolest part is he gives you the plan, and then from there, you got to go out and execute it. Something might pop up in OTAs where I did something wrong. He’s like, Well, do this throw instead of that throw. Next thing you know, it comes up today at practice.
“It’s just little things like that. … I think the unit, most importantly, feels the same way as I do in that we have a lot of trust in him to work things out throughout the season.”
Being reprimanded without a solution isn’t fun for anyone in their professional career, so it adds a little more context to what he was dealing with last season.
He’s not the first person to mention that, with other players within the offense echoing that sentiment.
That definitely seemed to be something that was missing, and the trust between the players and the coaches seemed to erode as a result. Both Kendrick Bourne and Jakobi Meyers were among the most vocal, with Meyers departing via free agency this past offseason and reuniting with McDaniels in Las Vegas.
For Meyers, he’s back with the same guy who helped him have his best season as a pro, hauling in 83 catches for 866-yards and two touchdowns in 2021, while Mac begins a new chapter with someone in O’Brien who will hopefully allow him to get back to where he was during his rookie season.
Fortunately, unlike last year, it feels like the group is swimming in the same direction, with a lot more faith in the path they’re headed in.
That’s good news for a team that is up against some difficult competition both within their own division as well as on their schedule heading into the 2023 season.
Belichick sounded pleased with where his team was at on Monday. (PHOTO: Kassidy Hill / USA TODAY NETWORK)
Belichick Gets Candid About Tom Brady
Head coach Bill Belichick appeared on WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show on Monday and talked about a variety of topics, including the progress he’s seen from Mac Jones heading into his third NFL season.
Belichick, not surprisingly, said that the entire quarterback group has made a lot of progress, while also crediting his entire team for putting in the work this offseason.
“I think all the quarterbacks have made … I think the whole team has really made a lot of progress since we started in the spring and OTAs and minicamp and then training camp,” said Belichick. “We’re doing things a lot better than we did. We still have a long way to go. That’s everybody. Football’s a team sport, so whatever one person does, is affected by a lot of other people that he’s around, and he affects a lot of people as well.”
“It’s always a process of timing, coming together, communication, execution, and those things are definitely improving. We saw that this was a big week for us with the practice against the Packers that really helped us. But, I mean, we still have a lot of work to do. It’s a process. We’re getting there, but we’re definitely not there yet.”
Belichick went on to credit Jones for the time he puts in, with the head coach adding that that group overall has been pretty solid.
“Mac’s got a great routine, he works hard, trains hard, in here a lot, studies a lot of film, stays on top of things,” said Belichick. “That quarterback room, Trace [McSorely] and Bailey [Zappe] and Mac, they all … that’s a hard-working group. They put in a lot of time, a lot of effort. I respect that.”
He was also asked about what happened last week, which saw Belichick unload on Jones and the offense during one stretch where he wasn’t pleased with one portion of practice last Wednesday.
Jones later commented and said it was “my fault” and more or less dismissed it.
Belichick disregarded it as well, saying it’s just part of the process since sometimes he’s simply going to be vocal when things need to be fixed.
“I don’t think I put the heat on anybody,” said Belichick. “There’s things that we need to correct and work out, and that’s just coaching.”
Belichick was asked at the end of his segment – which for some odd reason was completely clipped off the end of WEEI’s YouTube portion of the interview – about the club honoring former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on opening night, and the coach felt one night wasn’t enough given everything Brady contributed to the organization.
“I’ve spoken to Tom a couple of times,” said Belichick. “Always look forward to seeing Tom, and what a great experience and opportunity it was for me to coach Tom. Tremendous appreciation for everything he did for me, did for our team, everything he gave us, and look forward to seeing him. Sounds like he’s moving on to a very successful career in broadcasting and whatever else he decides to do. He’s a pretty talented guy. I’m sure he’ll do well in whatever he chooses to do, whatever area that is.”
“So, look forward to seeing him, and I’m sure there will be a lot of excitement at the game, in the stands as there should be. He’s done an awful lot for this organization, this franchise, this city, the National Football League. I mean, one night’s probably really not enough, anywhere close to being enough for the appreciation for what Tom deserves.”
He was then asked if Brady deserved a statue at the stadium.
“Give him whatever he wants, yeah,” said Belichick.
Gillette Stadium Ranked Among Worst
The Athletic recently conducted a poll among their writers, asking them to rank their top five and bottom five in order and Gillette Stadium evidently didn’t do too well.
The home of the Patriots came in at #21 among the 30 venues that were ranked (both MetLife Stadium and SoFi Stadium each house two franchises), which is a drop from the #20 spot it held three years ago.
What was probably the most surprising wasn’t the fact it was ranked down the list (it’s now among one of the oldest in the league after opening in 2002), but that four writers apparently ranked it as the worst venue on their list.
That seems a little harsh, especially when you take into account some of the older stadiums like FedEx Field and Highmark Stadium, the latter of which was built in 1973 and has been mentioned by many as being a little rough compared to other stadiums.
The biggest issue with Gillette Stadium has always been the traffic and the infrastructure, both of which have been a problem going back to the days of the old Foxboro Stadium. While there were no comments to go along with the rating, it’s entirely possible that whatever writers ranked it in that spot potentially took getting out of there into consideration as part of it.
Anyone who has ever been there would also likely agree with that.
The venue isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The stadium is in the middle of another renovation that began this offseason and has included the addition of the largest video board in the league, as well as a reconstructed lighthouse that is larger than the previous one and includes an observation deck.
The latter portion didn’t appear close to being done a couple of weeks ago, and it remains to be seen whether or not it will be ready by opening night when the Patriots open the season at home against the Eagles on September 10th.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Albert Breer Bill Belichick Gillette Stadium Mac Jones Tom Brady