Some news and notes for this morning:
Breer: Discussions on Belichick’s Future ‘Have Taken Place’
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer was on The Herd with Colin Cowherd on Thursday, talking about various topics including the future of the Patriots as things continue to be turbulent sitting at 1-5.
Breer told Cowherd that discussions about Belichick’s future have taken place with Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who has heard the anger and frustration from the fan base.
According to Breer, Kraft is obviously upset with the current state of the football team and it sounds like the club actually started working toward some significant changes as it was under Belichick going back to early this offseason.
“These discussions have taken place, and I can tell you for sure, I mean, Robert hears the criticism,” said Breer. “He hears the anger locally, and people in the building know for a fact that he’s hearing the anger from the fan base, and he’s very cognisant of where his team is in the pecking order of NFL teams as well.”
“They’re not a marquee team anymore, and he took a lot of pride in them being a marquee team for two decades, right up there with teams like the Cowboys, like the Eagles, like the Giants had been traditionally. So I think there’s all of that that sort of plays into this.”
Sititng at 1-5, things have obviously not gotten off to the best start. Breer went on to add that things have potentially shifted to the point where there could indeed potentially be a chance Kraft does part ways with Belichick at some point, which now opens up the question of whether or not Jerod Mayo could be the one who is in those plans.
“I think now we’re at the point where, is this just going to be a flat-out firing, and do they want to go forward with the current program, and what does that mean for Jerod Mayo?” said Breer. “I think those bigger-picture discussions are now part of it. But the discussions of where they are post-Belichick have been going on for a while. And again, back in January and February, it included Jerod Mayo.”
Brown, Jones Participate
One positive development was the fact both offensive tackle Trent Brown and defensive back Jonathan Jones were each able to participate in practice on Thursday, which was a positive sign after both sat out Wednesday’s session.
Both players were limited on Thursday but the fact they took a step forward is encouraging given what’s at stake on Sunday. Obviously at 1-5, until they get back to .500, every game certainly holds even more significance and having as many of their starters available becomes that much more important.
Speaking of which, Hunter Henry sat out Thursday’s practice, which is definitely concerning. He hasn’t been able to practice this week and that potentially puts his status for Sunday in jeopardy.
Also sidelined is Keion White, who will likely miss this week after he ended up in concussion protocol Sunday and likely won’t play this week, at least given the timeframe previous players have seen after they’ve sustained one.
Meanwhile, Kayshon Boutte’s name appeared on the injury report Thursday, with the rookie wide receiver listed with a “hamstring” injury and he was apparently limited. Boutte hasn’t played since Week 1 and given the Patriots’ struggles on offense, the hope was maybe that the club might shake things up by adding another young pass catcher to the group.
With Henry potentially sidelined, having Boutte be part of the receiving corps might at least give them somewhat of a lift, although it could mean that fellow tight end Pharoah Brown sees a little more time. Brown caught a 58-yard touchdown back in Week 3, which thus far, is the longest Patriots pass play of the 2023 season for New England’s offense.
Meanwhile, Kyle Dugger remains a question mark as he’s been listed this week with a “foot” injury. Dugger participated again on Thursday, which will hopefully see him out there with the Patriots’ defense on Sunday.
One other bit of good news: Rhamondre Stevenson, who had been on the injury report Wednesday with an “ankle” injury, was removed from the list.
Can the Patriots Get off to a Fast Start?
One key question heading into this week is whether or not the Patriots can get off to a fast start against the Bills and if the 2022 finale is any indication, it certainly seems possible.
Mac Jones had a phenomenal first half in the finale against the Bills last year, with Jones opening the game by completing 13-of-16 (81.3%) for 119 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. It also saw Jones go 5-of-5 in the red zone.
That performance saw the Patriots go into the locker room tied 14-14 at halftime. Had it not been for a miscue to begin the game, they should have had a 14-7 lead, but the opening kickoff that was returned for a touchdown by Buffalo helped keep the Bills in the game.
In the second half, things slipped away after the Patriots pulled ahead with a field goal at 17-14, but they gave up their second kickoff return for a touchdown of the game, which ripped away what little momentum they had started to put together.
That put the Bills up 21-17, and Josh Allen followed that up on Buffalo’s next offensive possession with a 42-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 28-17.
Unfortunately, from there it was a deficit too far for New England to overcome in what eventually became a 35-23 loss.
Coming off of Sunday’s loss to Las Vegas, Jones did manage to finish fairly strong. He went on a run to close out the game, completing 16-of-19 for 103 yards on Sunday over the final two quarters, including a perfect strike to DeVante Parker in the closing minutes that was dropped but would have potentially given them a shot to set up a game-winning field goal.
While that didn’t happen, the fact they were able to move the ball and string some plays together was encouraging and Jones is hoping they can carry that over and take another step forward this week.
“Yeah, every game is a new game and definitely want to build on some of things we’ve done and learn from some of the things we haven’t done very well,” said Jones. “That’s all you can do.”
“I definitely feel like we need to take that positive energy and carry it through and keep fighting, keep working together and talking and communicating. I feel like we communicated well during the game. We’ve communicated well these past couple of days in meetings. So, that needs to keep going.”
Posted Under: Patriots News