Some news and notes for this morning:
Patriots Trade Deadline News
Tuesday’s trade deadline came and went with no news here in New England, as the Patriots stayed on the sidelines for this one.
The Patriots reportedly received inquiries for Josh Uche, Kyle Dugger, and Mike Ownwenu, but it appears each of them will remain in the fold for the remainder of 2023.
Uche is probably the most surprising, as he didn’t suit up on Sunday against Miami, leading to some speculation that he was a possible candidate to be moved. The two sides have reportedly spoken about an extension, but so far, according to those same reports, they don’t appear to be close on an agreement.
Meanwhile, one report suggested Elliott was among the players who the club received an inquiry for. He’s been one of the few bright spots on offense so far this season, with Elliott sitting just 47 yards behind Rhamondre Stevenson’s season total of 307 yards on 97 carries with two touchdowns. Elliott has racked up 260 yards on 67 carries with two touchdowns of his own, and has done it on 30 fewer carries.
He’s averaged 3.9 per carry, compared to Stevenson’s 3.2 average.
Kendrick Bourne was also thought to be a name that could have drawn interest, but his ACL injury Sunday likely ended that.
The club reportedly did not receive any interest in quarterback Mac Jones, despite some speculation that he could potentially be moved. The Vikings were the team many had speculated could be interested in Jones following the Achilles injury to Kirk Cousins, but Minnesota instead opted to acquire Josh Dobbs after reaching a deal with Arizona.
That means the club is committed to the former Alabama standout for at least the rest of the season. Given what’s transpired to this point, these final 9 games will potentially serve as a serious evaluation of what they have in Jones ahead of an offseason where they’ll need to make a decision on his fifth-year option.
Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported on Tuesday that the Patriots have already been doing some due diligence on some of the top quarterback prospects in next April’s Draft, and it remains to be seen whether or not Jones will do enough to convince them he can truly be their QB moving forward.
It sounds like the Patriots did kick the tires on bringing in an impact player, with New England reportedly inquiring about Washington’s Chase Young, but the 49ers ended up being the ones to make a deal to bring him to the Bay Area.
The Patriots likely also had a little bad timing there. With a game against the Commanders on tap, it’s likely Washington wouldn’t have wanted to send Young to the team they were playing that same week.
Lack of Consistency Hurting Offense
Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien talked about New England’s troubles on offense on Tuesday, citing the inability to string performances together as one of the team’s biggest problems so far this season.
“It hasn’t been what we want it to be,” said O’Brien of their offense. “It’s been very inconsistent. There’s been glimpses of, ‘Hey, this is good, this is what it can be, this is the rhythm we need to get into. These are plays that are well-executed, well-coached, well-designed, and then these are other things that aren’t as good.’ So it’s very, very inconsistent, which, in my career – I’ve been doing this a long time – sometimes you have years like that. Sometimes, you have years where it’s very consistent, and it’s very good. It’s executed at a high level, coached at a high level.”
Obviously, it’s been a bit of a roller-coaster ride for an offense that has struggled to put up points consistently this season. They’ve crossed the 17-point threshold just twice through eight weeks, scoring 20 points in Week 1 and then 29 two weeks ago against Buffalo.
Coming off the win over the Bills, the thought was that maybe they finally had started figured things out. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case and O’Brien stressed the fact that there’s still plenty of football left to be played, and it remains an area they’ll continue to work on.
“Right now, it’s inconsistent. We have to try and make it more consistent,” said O’Brien. “There’s a lot of football left in this season, and we have to really have a great week and be ready to go for Washington on Sunday.”
‘Several Guys’ Likely Needed to Replace Bourne
Coming off of Sunday’s game down in Miami, the Patriots face the tough challenge of moving forward without wide receiver Kendrick Bourne.
Bourne went down with a knee injury late in the game that was reportedly a torn ACL, which will keep him out of action until at least next season.
O’Brien spoke about his loss on Tuesday and noted that it will probably require several guys to step up as they try to replace his production on the field.
“Injuries are tough. It really is,” said O.Brien. “I’m not going to sit here and sugarcoat, everybody says, ‘next man up,’ I mean, that’s the way it is. Of course, that’s the way it is, there’s no other choice.”
“But KB brought a lot of energy, a lot of juice to this offense, and really attacked every day. I’ve only been around him the seven or eight months that I’ve been here, and he’s a great guy and was having a really good year.”
“The next guy has to step up and fill that role. It will probably be several guys. I don’t know who those guys will be right now.”
O’Brien added that as they evaluate everyone, it’s really going to come down to who stands out and executes on the practice field. From there, it will be up to Bill Belichick to determine who will be active this weekend, and it’s a ‘big week’ for those players.
“It comes down to the practice field. It really does,” said O’Brien. “How do you practice? Are you ready to go by the time Saturday/Sunday rolls around? Then, Bill will determine who’s active for the game. That’s really how it is. So it’s a big week for the receivers. Big week.”
Two names that will likely be called upon will be second-year receiver Tyquan Thornton and rookie Kayshon Boutte, who will each likely see more action in the coming weeks. O’Brien noted that in Thornton’s case, injuries have been his biggest issue, and it’s made it tough for him to break back into the line-up given how much some of the other guys have played, along with where he was on the depth chart.
For Boutte, that one’s been a little tougher. He hasn’t seen action since Week 1 when DeVante Parker was sidelined, missing two receptions after failing to get two feet down in bounds against Philadelphia.
There were some questions about him coming out of school ahead of the draft, but it sounds like it’s just potentially been an issue of Boutte getting comfortable with things here at the pro level, and he did receive some words of encouragement from his coach Tuesday.
“He’s coachable. He’s out there every day,” said O’Brien of Boutte. “I think, rookies, I’ve always said that a rookie receiver, it’s a very difficult transition. Especially on the perimeter because in college football, you’re not always seeing the same type of coverages that you see in professional football. That’s just the way it is.”
“Sometimes, the transition to pro football is a little bit tougher, takes a little bit longer, but Kayshon has worked very hard, and he’s shown glimpses of what he can be, and I believe in him, and I believe he’s got a good future.”
Posted Under: Patriots News