PatsFans.com Menu
PatsFans.com - The Hub For New England Patriots Fans

New England Patriots > Patriots Blog

Thursday Patriots Notebook 2/29: News and Notes

Patriots News as Wolf and Highsmith's approach in Cleveland should encourage Patriots fans.

Ian Logue
Ian Logue on Twitter
February 29, 2024 at 12:12 pm ET

Thursday Patriots Notebook 2/29: News and Notes(PHOTO: Greg M. Cooper - USA TODAY Sports)

🕑 Read Time: 7 minutes

Some Patriots news and notes for this morning:

Wolf and Highsmith Have Been Down This Road:

One thing that was interesting to go back and look at was the 2018 NFL Draft, with the duo of Eliot Wolf and Alfonzo Highsmith both doing the heavy-lifting under GM John Dorsey in handling the reboot for the Cleveland Browns. It’s obviously a similar situation to what’s now happening here in New England, as everything changed for the Browns over the next several years in a positive way following that draft.

For those who don’t remember, that was the year the Browns selected both quarterback Baker Mayfield and running back Nick Chubb, which ended up being two key pieces as Cleveland turned things around and ended up becoming a factor again in the AFC North.

And it wasn’t just the Mayfield and Chubb selections that panned out.  Among other notable selections were defensive back Denzel Ward (1st round), who finished his rookie year with 3 interceptions, along with receiver Antonio Callaway (4th round), who finished with 43 catches for 586 yards in his first season.

The selections on offense are obviously the focus, given where the Patriots are heading into this year’s draft.  But it was interesting hearing both Eliot and Highsmith, each talk about the reasoning behind the Chubb and Mayfield selections.

“Baker was a guy I had an opportunity to watch play live last year against Texas and the thing you could really see with him was his presence on the field,” said Wolf.  “Pregame, he would walk by a group of Oklahoma players, and there was just that instant energy that everyone had.  And then once the game starts, he’s got all the physical tools you look for.  He’s a little bit shorter than everyone’s perfect idea of a quarterback, but we didn’t feel like that necessarily contributed to any negative play.”

Highsmith agreed, and his dealings with Mayfield confirmed Eliot’s thoughts when it came to how they felt about him as a player.

“I’ve been around great quarterbacks my whole life,” added Highsmith.  “Played with Warren Moon, played with Troy Aikman, been around Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Testeverde, Bernie Kosar, I was in the huddle with all those guys – well, not in the huddle with Brett Favre and those guys but the other guys before that – and there’s something more than a big arm to be a quarterback.  Because if it was just about a big arm, well, then everybody would be successful at the quarterback position.”

“We throw out all the traits of what it takes to be a quarterback when someone doesn’t measure up to somebody’s standards.  And I’ve always wondered, when it comes to being a good football player, who’s standards are we judging them by?  It’s about playing the game.  It’s about being a good football player.  And it’s about wins.  And I thought Baker made all those checks to me and he had the ‘it’ factor to me.”

Nick Chubb

(PHOTO: PHIL MASTURZO via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

Highsmith: Chubb’s Traits Went Beyond the Field

When it came to Chubb, it was interesting to hear about how they viewed him, along with what traits stood out and the philosophy behind the selection.

“He’s super productive,” said Wolf.  “I think he’s second all-time in the SEC behind Herschel Walker in rushing yards.  He’s big, he’s got excellent feet for his size, he’s got good burst.  Powerful, super balance.  Alonzo’s the running back expert, so he can add to that.”

“I’ve been a big fan of Chubb for a long time,” said Highsmith.  “One thing about SEC running backs is when you play running back in the SEC, you have to be able to create between the tackles with your feet, and you have to be able to play a physical style of football, and Nick Chubb exemplifies all of that in his running style.  Not only is he a great football player, he’s a tremendous person, tremendous individual, tremendous leader, and he exemplifies what we’re trying to build here in Cleveland.  We want real guys.  Guys that like football.”

Chubb’s name is one that resonates here in New England, as he’s been a name that constantly comes up when people talk about the selection by the Patriots of running back Sony Michel that year with the 31st overall pick.  Chubb went four picks later, and he’s forever the player New England fans wish the club had drafted instead.

Meanwhile, what’s notable about the Mayfield selection is out of the top 10 selections, the Browns managed to at least get one of the two guys who, at least at the time, turned out to be viable starters.  Mayfield went first overall that year, with Sam Darnold going to the Jets with the 3rd overall pick, while the Bills took Josh Allen at 7th overall, and the Cardinals took Josh Rosen 10th overall.

Mayfield and Allen were ultimately the two who panned out, albeit some internal issues with the Browns after both GM John Dorsey and Eliot and Highsmith were gone, led to the Browns parting ways with Mayfield.

But at the end of the day, they could very well have gone with Darnold or Rosen, yet they managed to at least end up with a guy who had success on the field.

Granted, like the rest of the league, they passed on Lamar Jackson, who went 32nd that year, but he was someone the rest of the league also let slip to the end of the first round before the Ravens took him.

They also ended up with a decent haul in 2019 after ending up with players that included defensive back Greedy Williams (2nd round), linebacker Sione Takitaki (3rd round), and linebacker Mack Wilson (5th round).  All three turned out to be solid players, with fans here in New England seeing some good play from Wilson after the club acquired him in the trade that sent Chase Winovich to Cleveland.

Overall, the two seemed to do most of the work behind the scenes during Dorsey’s tenure, and it was interesting to hear their thoughts during the process.  We’ll see what it means a couple of months from now, but it should be encouraging that both Eliot and Highsmith will ensure that among the available names, the Patriots will at least end up with one of the guys who will be able to contribute.

However, like anything else, they’re limited to what’s available.  Guys who have the true “it” factor are rare in the NFL, and while you can make the argument they missed out on Allen and Jackson, they also could very well have ended up taking Darnold or Rosen.  Some can also argue Mayfield’s exit, but upon review, there were other factors that played a role there, which extended to things beyond their now-former quarterback.

Fortunately, they made what, at the time, was the best decision.  So we’ll have to hope that maybe they’ll also get a little lucky when the time comes with who they eventually end up with here in New England.

(PHOTO: MPS-USA TODAY Sports)

Key Day in Patriots History – Troy Brown Extended

On this leap year day, the Patriots made a key signing back in 2000 that helped set up their three title runs.

New England gave receiver Troy Brown a five-year, $15 million deal to keep him in the fold, with Brown turning down an offer by the Kansas City Chiefs in order to remain a Patriot.

“I’m definitely happy to be back in New England,” said Brown. “The fans know me, I don’t have to go out and win new fans, all the coaches know me, the players know me, so it’s definitely a good thing to be back in New England.”

Brown said the Chiefs were “in the ball park” but that he’s glad his team came through for him.

“They were in the ball park, but all things being even it was better for me to stay in a situation where they were familiar with me,” said Brown. “The fans are familiar with me and I didn’t have to go win over anyone else. So the best situation was to stay in New England instead of going somewhere else.”

“[The Patriots] stepped up to the plate pretty good. I mean they paid me alot of money to do what I do playing football, so I’m just thankful to be back here. I think they feel like they can get some good things out of me, and I’ll do good things for our organization.”

Brown ended up being critical to New England’s success, including piling up 101 catches for 1199 yards and five touchdowns during the 2001 season, including a team-best 18 catches for 253 yards as the Patriots won their first championship.  He was also higher in the return game, with Brown ending up with a punt return for a touchdown during that postseason as well.

Bengals report card was damning:

While the NFLPA’s report card of the Patriots was certainly disappointing, it’s hard not to look at what’s going on in Cincinnati and try to keep from shaking your head.

Anyone who remembers the state of things at the old Foxboro Stadium will likely look at this one and wonder how, in the year 2024 in a league flush with billions of dollars, how an NFL owner can allow things to be in this state.

According to the report card, Bengals players reported that, “The locker room is another major issue for the players. Approximately 50% of the showers don’t work; they either don’t provide warm water or there isn’t enough water pressure. They face consistent plumbing issues that limit the amount of functioning toilets the players can use.”

For a team that is considered to be a potential Super Bowl threat for the AFC, that is absolutely unbelievable.

Another notable mention was the fact that, “They are the only team that closes their cafeteria on the players’ day off, even though many of the players come to the facility on off days for extra preparation and recovery.”

“The club did begin to provide three meals a day on Wednesdays only this year. But they are one of two teams in the league that don’t provide three meals a day each day for the players.”

That’s also pretty shocking.  Keep in mind that most of these players, especially rookies, practice squad guys, and even a lot of the younger guys, they’re just kids.  Many of them have only focused on football, and a lot of them are also still learning not only how to be professional athletes, but also how to be adults.

So to not provide meals at the facility throughout the time they’re there working, especially guys who spend additional time into the evening reviewing tape, etc, it’s mind-blowing.  Especially given the importance of nutrition and trying to make sure they’re consistently putting the right things in their bodies as opposed to having to stop and grab fast food or whatever on the way home.

As a result, Cincinnati came in last in the Food/Cafeteria rating (F-, 32nd), Nutritionist Dietician (F-, 32nd), and 24th in the NFL in locker room (D+).  The fact that wasn’t worst is surprising given the plumbing issues.

Needless to say, while locally, the talking heads on air are slamming Robert Kraft for various things, despite Chiefs Owner Clark Hunt getting the official worst ranking by the NFLPA, it’s clear that Michael Brown (who came in 25th) deserves that honor by a landslide, at least given this news.

Odds and Ends:

According to MassLive’s Mark Daniels, the Patriots have met with rookie wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.  New England is clearly doing their due diligence having already met with the top QB prospects in preparation for however the chips fall this April. … Head coach Jerod Mayo walked back his “burn some cash” comment in a one-on-one interview with MassLive’s Karen Guregian.  “I kind of misspoke when I said ‘burn some cash’ but I was excited when you see those numbers,” Mayo told Guregian. “When you reflect on those numbers… you don’t have to spend all of it in one year.” … Congratulations to defensive lineman Davon Godchaux, who reportedly got married recently.  The veteran tied the knot with model Chanel Inman in what was described as an extravagant yacht ceremony on Saturday in front of a small group of friends and family.  Godchaux finished 2023 with 56 tackles including 24 solo for New England’s defense last season.

READ NEXT:
Patriots Fans Should Feel Confident as Both Wolf and Highsmith Have Been Down This Road

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: Alfonzo Highsmith Eliot Wolf

  • Subscribe
    Notify of
    guest

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    0 Comments
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments

  • More Patriots News Headlines:

    Patriots Finally Agree To Extension With Kyle Dugger

    Patriots Finally Agree To Extension With Kyle Dugger

    By: Ian Logue
    The New England Patriots finally reached an extension with safety Kyle Dugger
    10 hours ago
    Patriots News 4-7, Draft Consensus, Draft Visits and Ernie Adams

    Patriots News 4-7, Draft Consensus, Draft Visits and Ernie Adams

    By: Steve Balestrieri
    Nothing is ever off the table. The Patriots at #3 will get either Daniels or Maye, but in essence, neither is a consolation prize.
    16 hours ago
    CURRAN: Patriots Have ‘Full Consensus’ On #3 Pick

    CURRAN: Patriots Have ‘Full Consensus’ On #3 Pick

    By: Ian Logue
    It appears both Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye showed them enough where New England is confident neither will become disappointments at the next level, and…
    2 days ago
    Friday Patriots Notebook 4/5: News and Notes

    Friday Patriots Notebook 4/5: News and Notes

    By: Ian Logue
    While many have wondered if the New New England Patriots might entertain a trade for what Jerod Mayo called 'a bag' to get them to…
    2 days ago
    Thursday Patriots Notebook 4/4: News and Notes

    Thursday Patriots Notebook 4/4: News and Notes

    By: Ian Logue
    Heading into the upcoming draft, the number one question is going to be whether or not the Patriots stand pat and select a quarterback at…
    4 days ago

    Share via
    Copy link
    Powered by Social Snap
    Search For Links: - CLOSE
    For searches with multiple players
    add commas (Ex: "Bill Belichick, Devin McCourty")