Some news and notes this morning:
Patriots Inquired on Keenum
After a tough finish against Tennessee where Bailey Zappe played 76% of the offensive snaps and was out on the field into the fourth quarter, it definitely was clear that the New England Patriots left him out there because they were looking for their backup quarterback to finish on a positive note.
Having fumbled three times, including twice on back-to-back drives in the fourth quarter, it wasn’t exactly the former Western Kentucky quarterback’s best night. And whatever they saw on tape over the weekend must have been significant enough that a decision was made to try and improve their depth at that position.
To most Patriots fans’ surprise, Zappe ended up among players who were waived last week. With Mac Jones reportedly getting banged up during their match-up against the Packers several weeks ago and Zappe not playing well down the stretch, New England seemingly decided to switch gears and go in a different direction on their QB depth chart.
That led to both Zappe and Malik Cunningham hitting the waiver wire while the Patriots looked for a more experienced player to put behind Jones. Both quarterbacks made it through and onto New England’s practice squad, but neither appeared to be in their immediate plans to back up Jones.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, there was apparently some due diligence done before the Patriots ultimately snagged Matt Corral off the waiver wire from Carolina. Breer reports that prior to getting Corral, New England inquired with Houston about a trade for Case Keenum, as well as pondering signing Colt McCoy after he was let go by Arizona.
With Corral, they apparently looked into him prior to the now-former Panthers QB being waived, and instead jumped on that opportunity when the Panthers gambled and tried to sneak him through to their practice squad.
The Panthers seemingly had every intention of trying to keep him, with head coach Frank Reich having praised Corral just last week. His conversation with reporters sounded very similar to what Belichick said about Zappe. Sometimes, decisions like these come down to numbers, and the priority was to do what was best for the team.
“We’re happy with the progress that Matt made,” said Reich on Thursday. “As we’ve talked about really the whole offseason, there’s a lot of complexities, a lot of moving parts to putting together a roster. Everybody understands that the sole motivation is to do what’s best for the team. We’re trying to get as many players on the roster, and in that locker room on the 53 and on the practice squad as we can, that can help us win this year. So those are tough decisions.”
He also added, “I don’t mind saying, I would love to Matt back. We think he’s done very well. We’d like to see him continue to progress.”
For now, his loss appears to be Bill Belichick’s gain. Whether or not Corral sees the field in 2023 remains to be seen, and it will ultimately come down to either Jones’ health or his play on the field.
Either way, it certainly changed the dynamic at the position heading into Sunday’s opener against the Eagles. Hopefully, Jones rebounds and these moves end up being just a footnote and not part of a key storyline months from now when we look back at this season.
Eagles Still Looking at Punters
The Eagles still appear to be unsettled at punter, with last year’s NFC Champs working out yet another one on Monday.
According to KPRC 2 Houston’s Aaron Wilson, the Eagles worked out former Steelers punter Braden Mann on Monday, which adds to a list of players Philadelphia has looked at as they try and settle on someone ahead of this weekend.
The overall sentiment in Philadelphia appears pretty negative when it comes to incumbent Arryn Siposs, who remains on the club’s practice squad.
Siposs’ postseason play the last two years, including a big miscue in February against Kansas City, appears to have done him in, and it feels like it’s just a matter of time before his tenure comes to an end.
He sounded like a guy that’s still relatively shaken from the shanked punt he hit in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. That kick set up a Chiefs’ 65yd punt return, which put Patrick Mahomes and company in business at the Eagles’ 5yd line.
Three plays later, they scored, and it put Kansas City back in control of the game.
Siposs hasn’t forgotten that play and he admitted a couple of weeks ago that he needed to try and move on from it.
“I have to own that. And I do,” said Siposs. “That’s something that I have to live with for the rest of my life. But if I don’t grow from that, then I’m not going to be in the position that I am right now.”
Whether or not he’ll get a shot at redemption is the big question. With Wednesday’s practice approaching, the hope appears to be that the Eagles will make a decision on whoever might replace him, and it looks like they’ll explore all their options before making a decision.
Patriots Make Several Moves on Monday
The Patriots made a handful of personnel moves on Monday, with Riley Reiff being the most notable one after the veteran offensive lineman was placed on injured reserve.
Reiff was injured in the finale last week against Tennessee after he got his leg rolled up on, which saw him leave the field. Fortunately, it appears he avoided anything season-ending, but after being given this designation he’ll miss at least the first four weeks of the season.
In his place, the Patriots added tight end Pharoah Brown to the 53 man roster, moving him up from the practice squad ahead of this weekend’s game.
His elevation saw him replaced by defensive end Jeremiah Pharms Jr. on the practice squad, with Pharms Jr. returning after he was waived during the 2023 Patriots roster cutdowns last week.
Meanwhile, the club also parted ways with linebacker Diego Fagot, who was waived off of injured reserve following an injury settlement.
Odds and Ends
The Patriots had a relatively clean bill of health on Monday, with offensive linemen Calvin Anderson, Cole Strange, and Mike Onwenu all present at practice, while DeVante Parker, who missed the club’s previous two sessions, was also present. … One of the Patriots’ recently released players has apparently drawn some interest in Las Vegas, with Thyrick Pitts reportedly among three receivers who were in town on Monday working out for the Raiders. Pitts was let go after the club added T.J. Luther last Friday. … Down in Philadelphia, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts noted that he’s seen more guys in the building both arriving early and staying late watching film ahead of this weekend. “That is what you want,” Hurts said via the team’s official site. “It is not a self-gratifying feeling; it is what you need to win. If I am the person to set the temperature and pace for that; that is what needs to be done for us to be where we need to be.” … Tom Brady told Jim Gray in his recent podcast that he’s excited about his upcoming visit to Gillette Stadium, where he’ll be honored ahead of Sunday’s game against Philadelphia. “I’ve had so many people text me and say that they’re excited to see me come back,” said Brady via Conor Ryan of Boston.com. “So it’ll be really a special reunion and I’m excited to get there. I haven’t been back much, just by the way things work out. Your life kinda takes you in different directions.”
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Arryn Siposs Bailey Zappe Bill Belichick Braden Mann Case Keenum Cole Strange Colt McCoy Devante Parker Jalen Hurts Jeremiah Pharms Jr. Malik Cunningham Matt Corral Mike Onwenu New England Patriots Pharoah Brown Philadelphia Eagles Riley Reiff T.J. Luther Thyrick Pitts Tom Brady