Some news and notes on this Thursday:
Reiss, Patrick Discuss Belichick’s Future
Dan Patrick had ESPN reporter Mike Reiss on with him yesterday, obviously talking about the current state of the New England Patriots.
Patrick talked about the fact that the AFC East has improved, noting the improvement in even the Jets, followed by obviously Miami and Buffalo as the two top teams.
He then asked Reiss if we were “supposed to expect something different from now on?” as it pertained to the Patriots.
“No. Robert Kraft has said the standard is playoffs. Gotta get to the playoffs, and anything can happen,” said Reiss. “And I think your point, Dan, is well taken as we’ve gotten further away from Tom Brady, the numbers are not good numbers – sub .500 record since 2000 – the last playoff win, Super Bowl over the Rams. So this is what they are, and so, yeah, like, that’s what it is, the bottom line.”
Obviously, the topic that keeps cropping up is the future of Bill Belichick, who will likely be in the crosshairs if things collapse and they don’t finish well.
Patrick then asked the question, “What if they go 5-12?” and Reiss believes context will be important before Kraft would have to make a call that difficult in relation to Belichick’s future.
“I think that puts Robert Kraft in a very tough position, and what does that 5-12 look like, Dan?” said Reiss. “So, to me, the first three games this year, I thought they were competitive against Philly, one of the best teams in the league. I thought they were competitive against Miami, one of the better teams in the league. They eeked one out against the Jets. Probably fortunate, right? That Aaron Rodgers wasn’t there. And then it got away from them fast, against the Cowboys in the second quarter, and they were outclassed.”
“So if it looks like 5-12, and most of the games were what we saw this past Sunday against the Cowboys, I think you start asking the hard question, “is it time to move on?” But if it looks closer to the first three games, to me, that’s a tough spot for Robert Kraft.”
Orlovsky Feels “Sloppy Feet” is a Big Part of Jones’ Struggles
ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky appeared on WEEI on Wednesday on Jones & Mego with Arcand and talked about the struggles with Patriots quarterback Mac Jones.
Orlovsky believes that one of the biggest issues plaguing the young quarterback is that his fundamentals, most notably his footwork, have fallen apart, and it’s contributing to his poor play.
“I think the most disappointing or concerning or alarming thing with Mac is just his feet right now are so unstructured, so undisciplined, so sloppy,” said Orlovsky via Scott McLaughlin of WEEI. “He’s not a physically talented enough player to get away with that. That’s the thing that is starting to get worse and worse and worse. They have to get that nipped in the bud and fixed really quick.”
He went on to add that part of that has likely stemmed from their inconsistent protection up front, which has seen Jones take some hits over these first four weeks.
“That’s always going back to a lack of trust in the protection, a lack of pockets, being so untrusting of those guys in front of you to keep you clean that your feet start to move in anticipation that you’re going to have to either scramble or create movement in the pocket,” said Orlovsky. “And that’s why they’re kind of frantic and all over the place.”
Orlovsky’s comments more or less echo Bill O’Brien’s sentiments from his press conference on Tuesday, where he really harped on fundamentals being something Jones needs to focus on to get out of this funk he’s currently in.
“You have to rely on your fundamentals when things aren’t going very well,” said O’Brien. “Let’s go back to what our fundamentals are. Whether it’s footwork, where our eyes are, our cadence, little things that you go back to that is part of your progression of execution.”
“Whether it’s as a coach or as a player, when things aren’t going well in a game, people talk about adjustments, yeah, you have to make adjustments during the game, those happen. But you also have to understand like, ‘Hey, you can’t let this thing get out of hand,’ and that’s what happened the other day. It got out of hand because we didn’t do a good enough job of stemming the tide, and fixing things right away, and going back to our fundamentals.”
“So I think that’s what you really have to do, and we’re going to work hard on doing those things on both sides of it, coaching and playing, this week, and try to get back to doing what we do best which is play smart football and really rely on what our foundation is here of teaching and playing.”
Thorton Set For Return?
One player who might be able to help the offense this week is wide receiver Tyquan Thornton, who is eligible to return from injured reserve this week.
Thornton’s name wasn’t among the list of injured players for the team on Wednesday, which seems to indicate that he’s healthy enough to play.
Belichick was asked about him on Wednesday and said he’s looking forward to having him back and he’s been pleased with his progress.
“Like all the rookie players, it’s just better in year two – better idea of what we’re doing, better idea of what it’s like to be an NFL player, better idea of how teams play different than college,” said Belichick. “So, Tyquan’s a smart kid, good participant in the offseason program, took in a lot, learned a lot. Looking forward to getting him back.”
It will be interesting to see what kind of role he’s in. As we’ve seen, they’ve had a tough time on deep balls, which makes you wonder if things might change when he returns. It’s possible that instead of heaving the ball down the field to him, we could potentially see them use Thornton in a role similar to how Tyreek Hill is used in Miami, with the Patriots instead getting him the ball in the open field and letting him use his speed in space.
The hope from there would be that they’ll show him film of Deion Branch, who was the master of getting down before taking a hit and focusing on his own self-preservation. That would be the wiser move, since Thornton’s build certainly requires them to be smart from that standpoint. But either way, his speed is an asset that the team definitely needs to utilize right now.
Odds and Ends
The team hasn’t made a decision on Christian Gonzalez or Matthew Judon yet, at least not as it pertains to their roster status. While reports have said the two may be lost for the season, both appeared on Wednesday’s injury report as “Did Not Participate,” which was expected. Both injuries are clearly significant, with Gonzalez having reportedly suffered a torn labrum, while Judon suffered a reported torn bicep. So it may just be a matter of time before they eventually end up on injured reserve … Belichick was asked whether or not Keion White might see a larger role with Judon sidelined. He dodged the question, but did provide some praise for the rookie. “Keion’s coming along well,” said Belichick. “He’s a smart kid. He’s out there every day, works hard. He’s improved a lot, still got a long way to go, but he’s certainly tracking in the right direction.” … Anfernee Jennings was another name that came up, with Belichick adding that his versatility could see him have an expanded role. “Anfernee’s done that at times for us, did that at Alabama, had a role on third down as well,” said Belichick. “So, he’s done a good job for us the last couple of weeks on the edge of the defense, and has some versatility both on third down and to play off the ball if we need him there, too.” … Another player who is eligible to return this week is Trey Flowers, who was limited on the injury report with a foot injury. Belichick said he’s among a group that’s made progress but they’re still evaluating things. “Yeah, he’s in that group of PUP/IR players that are headed in the right direction,” said Belichick. “We’ll see exactly when they’re ready to return. I mean, they’re all making progress, getting close. It’s just final decisions here, yesterday, today, of is it now, or is it later?”
Posted Under: Patriots News