Some news and notes on this Thursday:
Jones Garners Praise
Quarterback Mac Jones got some praise this week from New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, who told reporters he’s been pleased by the growth he’s seen from his quarterback.
While Jones has received a fair amount of criticism in New England, O’Brien was quick to remind everybody that the former Alabama quarterback is barely into his third NFL season, and it’s a little early to pass judgment.
At the same time, O’Brien also credited the guys around Jones on Sunday for making everything work as the Patriots pulled off the last-second upset and won their second game of 2023.
“I think he did a really good job,” said O’Brien of Jones. ” He’s only a third-year player. You’re not talking about a guy that’s been around for 12-years. I mean, he’s been around for three years and not even three yet, so every game is a learning situation for him. Certainly, he has a lot of experience relative to his rookie year and last year and those things. But he’s still a young player. ”
“I think the guys around him did a great job,” he continued. “I think that’s really, really important. Like you said in the beginning, it’s very much of a team game, and we dealt with some adversity in the game as a team, and we were able to come back.”
When it came to that final drive, O’Brien credited Jones for getting them into the right plays and the guys around him for executing. He pointed out that group effort is ultimately what it came down to, and he’s hoping it can carry over Sunday in Miami.
“He’s the quarterback, he got us into the right plays on that last drive and did a really nice job and the guys around him did a really nice job,” said O’Brien. “Whether it was the receivers, the tight ends, the backs, you know, Rhamondre [Stevenson], Hunter [Henry], Pop Douglas, Kendrick Bourne, whatever it was, the line up front, you can’t do anything without the line up front. ”
“So everybody working together, and I think that was good for our team to do that and now this week’s a different game and we’ve got to get ready for this game.”
Orlovsky Keeps In Touch With Mac
Former NFL quarterback and ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky has been a guy who has been supportive of Jones early on, and he revealed on Wednesday during an appearance on WEEI’s Jones and Mego with Arcand that the two keep in touch.
Orlovsky said he tells Mac almost weekly that his footwork still needs work, but the two have developed a good relationship that Orlovsky said went back to when Jones first came out of college.
“I would say this, just directly to Mac’s performance last week, it was better,” said Orlovsky. “I still don’t like Mac’s feet. I text Mac that almost every week, ‘Like, you’re feet still … ‘ He’s got to get better about that.”
“Even the game-winning touchdown, he’s falling away. So directly to the performance, again, I still believe in Mac Jones. But that would be the one thing that just because you win, you can’t avoid looking at.”
Orlovsky added that Jones has been someone who has always been focused on getting better, and that the criticism and feedback from Orlovsky has been well received by the young Patriots signal-caller.
“I’ve always had a good relationship with Mac. I was obviously a big fan of his coming out of school, had the opportunity to see him a couple of times this past offseason. He’s really receptive.”
“My experience with him has always been like, this dude really wants to be a really good player. He wants to work at the things that he thinks he needs to work at, or someone else thinks he needs to work at. So he’s always been really receptive.”
White Remains Out
Rookie Keion White, who suffered a concussion in Las Vegas two weeks ago, seems like he’s still feeling the effects from that contest.
The rookie out of Georgia Tech missed Sunday’s contest against the Bills and was the lone player who didn’t participate in Wednesday’s session ahead of this weekend’s showdown against the Dolphins in Miami.
He’s been one of New England’s more explosive defensive players this season, with White having started to see an increase in snaps up until he suffered the hit that sidelined him.
With the Patriots having lost Matthew Judon, the team still managed to do a good job last week of putting some heat on Josh Allen, and White’s return would certainly give them an additional boost.
For now, it looks like he’s still recovering, so his situation continues to be one to monitor for a defense that still has some tough battles ahead of it.
Reagor Moving Up
After the club waived Malik Cunningham, it looks like the Patriots are promoting one of their practice squad receivers to the active roster.
According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Jalen Reagor has been signed onto the active roster, which is a continuation of the ascent he’s seen in recent weeks.
With JuJu Smith-Schuster sidelined with a concussion and DeVante Parker struggling, Reagor has seen some action over the last two games, and appears potentially poised for more.
Reagor appeared in 14 snaps in Las Vegas and saw that total increase to 25 on Sunday, which included one grab for 11-yards.
The Patriots have seemingly been focused on changing things up after a tough start, and it appears to be coming at the expense of two guys in both Smith-Schuster and Parker, who have each struggled to be productive so far this season.
The two are tied with 14 receptions with Demario Douglas, who continues his upward trajectory, having made a couple of key grabs in Sunday’s win.
He’s been one of the few bright spots for New England’s receiving corps, while both Parker and Smith-Schuster have continued having a tough time getting any consistent production.
Based on what we’ve seen, speed and quickness was seemingly the focus Sunday, and that looks to be the trend moving forward after Reagor’s promotion.
Unfortunately, what that means for both of those veterans is obviously the key question, but sitting at 2-5, give the Patriots credit for not continuing to try and pound a square peg into a round hole and admitting changes were needed.
Meanwhile, Reagor got some praise from Jones on Wednesday, who gave him credit for his progress and how well he’s settled into the offense.
“He’s great. Jalen, seen him in college, seen his college tape. He’s a very fast football player,” said Jones. “He does a great job learning the playbook quickly and one of the other things is in practice just how impressive he is in getting open, finishing and catching the ball.”
“So, I really have a lot of respect for him and how he works. Hopefully, he can continue to grow.”
Posted Under: Patriots News