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Tuesday Afternoon Patriots Notebook 2/27: News and Notes

Patriots News as Wolf Meets with the media ahead of the NFL Combine

Ian Logue
Ian Logue on Twitter
February 27, 2024 at 3:35 pm ET

Tuesday Afternoon Patriots Notebook 2/27: News and Notes(PHOTO: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports)

🕑 Read Time: 6 minutes

Some news and notes on this Tuesday afternoon:

Wolf’s Comments Are Ominous For Mac Jones’ Future

The first press conference for Patriots Director of Scouting Eliot Wolf was held on Tuesday down in Indianapolis as Wolf addressed a variety of topics, with the plans at quarterback obviously being a key talking point on Tuesday.

Wolf was asked about what they’re specifically looking for in that position, and his answers were certainly interesting.

“We’re pretty early in the process here,” said Wolf.  “I haven’t met any of these guys, Jerod [Mayo] hasn’t met any of these guys. As we continue through the process here, we’ll determine what’s best for the team.”

“One thing about the quarterbacks in this draft specifically that I’m excited about is they all look like they’re really tough guys, which is obviously great at any position but the quarterback position especially.”

In addition to toughness, Wolf also added that they’re looking for someone who can pick up the team and lead, which he believes is an underrated attribute.

“First of all, being someone that can elevate his teammates, someone that your teammates want to play for,” said Wolf, explaining the attributes he values the most in quarterbacks.  “I think that’s an extremely underrated thing that people don’t really talk about that much. Leadership’s important and obviously physical talent, we wouldn’t be talking about these guys if they weren’t physically talented.”

Mac Jones

(PHOTO: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Wolf was also asked about body language on the field, and he believes that having a guy who can keep his cool from that standpoint when things get difficult is important.

“Body language on the field is very important at that position,” said Wolf.  “You don’t want a guy that’s throwing his hands up after a bad play, or you can see him physically pointing at somebody. Body language is important. Everybody’s looking to the quarterback.”

The above is certainly an interesting comment, especially as it pertains to Mac Jones.  Jones was obviously demonstrative under former offensive coordinator Matt Patricia in 2022, with the former Alabama standout spending moments in 2023 hanging his head and getting frustrated during what turned out to be a disastrous third season here in New England.

As far as what the future holds for Jones and Bailey Zappe, it’s tough to say.  Wolf wouldn’t rule anything out on Tuesday, but he admitted that everything will be explored as the club navigates through what is definitely going to be a critical offseason.

“I’d say there’s a lot of options on the table,” said Wolf. “I’m glad you asked about Mac and Bailey. We’re not going to be a program that’s talking about these guys in terms of through the media. We’re going to do what’s best for the team behind the scenes, and the strategy of that is going to be myself, Jerod Mayo, Matt Groh and we’re going to try to do the right thing for the team.”

Change in Patriots Rating System

One other interesting takeaway from Tuesday’s press conference is the fact that when it comes to the grading system the team is using, Wolf admitted that there was one key change that made things a little different moving forward for the Patriots.

According to Wolf, the previous Patriots system was more nuanced and more “role-based,” whereas Wolf told reporters that their new system is more of an overall view in terms of a player’s skillset, which is similar to how they did things during his time with the Packers.

“We changed the grading system. It’s a little bit more similar to what we did in Green Bay,” explained Wolf.  “The previous Patriots system was more, ‘this is what the role is,’ and this is more, kind of, value-based. So I think it makes it a lot easier for scouts to rate guys and put them in a stack of like, ‘this guy’s the best,’ ‘this guy’s the worst,’ and everything in-between falls into place rather than sort of more nuanced approaches.

“I just think it accounts value better, and it also makes it easier for the scouts in the fall as well as in the spring to determine where guys will get drafted.”

That essentially provides a little clearer overhead view of things, as opposed to trying to look for certain traits that may or may not be effective.

Wolf went on to explain that the overall view still accounts for things like players who are a perimeter receiver, slot receiver, not just an overall view as an athlete.  However, he simply pointed out that it’s not quite as specific as how things were viewed previously.

“I mean, we’ll still have slot receivers, perimeter receivers, things like that,” said Wolf.  “To me, it’s a little bit less about the grading system and more about the process that we’ve put in place.”

Player development was also something he pointed out as a point of emphasis, which could signal that we’ll see the younger guys seeing action a little sooner than we may have seen them in the past.

“I think there’s going to be a little bit more reliance on playing young players,” said Wolf.  “I think it’s really important in today’s football to be able to play young players and develop from within.”

(PHOTO: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Elliot Blocked From Postseason Run With Dallas?

After doing a little bit of digging for something yesterday, there was an interesting story that I hadn’t heard, which involved running back Ezekiel Elliot.

Elliott, who ended up being a key addition for New England’s offense in 2023, especially after they lost Rhamondre Stevenson late in the year, apparently had an interest in reuniting with his former team ahead of their Wild Card meeting against Green Bay last month.

According to FoxSports, Elliott, having signed a one-year deal with the club last offseason – and with New England’s 4-13 season already in the rearview –  apparently asked to be released so that he could sign with the Cowboys and contribute to their playoff run.

In the report, FoxSports said that Bill Belichick apparently denied Elliott’s request, although the veteran back was still in Dallas for the game, he was just watching from a luxury box owned by Dak Prescott.

New England played its final game on Sunday January 7th (a 17-3 home loss to the New York Jets), which means Elliott’s request had to have come either that Sunday night or that ensuing Monday or Tuesday morning, which would have provided him time to get signed and be in Dallas ahead of the team’s preparation that Wednesday.

Instead, Belichick apparently didn’t grant his wish, with Robert Kraft and Belichick also parting ways days later on January 11th.  The Cowboys ultimately lost to the Packers 48-32 in a game that was never as close as the final score indicated.

How much of a difference Elliott could have made remains to be seen, but if the above is true, it certainly would have been an interesting development.

Odds and Ends

Wolf said on Tuesday that while the decision on who to take in April will be a collaborative effort, he’ll be the one in charge of submitting the pick.  “It’s going to be a collaborative effort, coach Mayo, myself, Matt Groh, the whole staff,” said Wolf.  “At the end of the day, somebody has to make that pick, and that will be myself.”… Wolf also emphasized several times on Tuesday that it’s his hope that the team can keep free agents Mike Onwenu and Kyle Dugger in the fold.  “I would say that all the options are on the table,” said Wolf.  “We definitely want to keep Mike and Kyle, and we’re hopeful to continue to work with Kyle’s agent and Mike to make that happen.” … Wolf went on to also call Onwenu a “cornerstone” for the team, and added that the recent report of the veteran firing his agent shouldn’t affect things.  “It doesn’t impact us,” said Wolf.  “Mike’s a core player for us that it’s no secret we want to try to keep Mike and it will just be a little bit of a wrinkle dealing with him.” … Wold was asked on Tuesday if the team had received any interest from other teams for the #3 pick but said so far, that hasn’t been the case.  “Yeah, I would say all options are on the table and we haven’t heard anything specifically, no,” said Wolf. … Wolf was also asked about Jerod Mayo’s ‘cash to burn’ comments and whether or not they planned to be aggressive in free agency.  “We’re going to aggressively try to help the team,” said Wolf.  “Take that however you want. But we’ll try to do what’s right, whether that’s means spending or saving. TBD.”

READ NEXT:
Patriots Apparently Blocked Potential Postseason Run For Elliott

About Ian Logue

Ian Logue is a Seacoast native and owner and senior writer for PatsFans.com, an independent media site covering the New England Patriots and has been running this site in one form or another since 1997.


Tags: 2024 Patriots Draft Eliot Wolf Ezekiel Elliott Mac Jones

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