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Wednesday Patriots Notebook 3/20: News and Notes

There's an ugly new reality young QBs in the NFL are dealing with.

Ian Logue
Ian Logue on Twitter
March 20, 2024 at 11:51 am ET

Wednesday Patriots Notebook 3/20: News and Notes(PHOTO: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports)

🕑 Read Time: 6 minutes

Some Patriots news and notes for this morning:

Ugly Reality For New Quarterbacks

Following up on the mention here yesterday about the difficulties young quarterbacks are dealing with, Rich Eisen also talked about it at length during his show on Tuesday, while making some strong points.

His belief falls under the same point Bucky Brooks mentioned, with Eisen also being frustrated by the fact that young quarterbacks don’t get much patience in today’s NFL.

“I don’t know what’s going on with the state of quarterbacks in the National Football League,” said Eisen.  “I just don’t anymore.  Things have changed.  They have flat-out changed where you draft somebody and normally, when you drafted somebody, you’re invested in that player to make it work come heck or high water and we’re seeing teams just drop out on quarterbacks two, three years into their career.  Just done.  See ya.  We’re seeing guys get opportunities, and if you don’t have immense success at the very beginning of your career now in the National Football League, you’re just not going to play for that team very long.”

Eisen, who is a big Jets fan, then went on to say he’s not sorry to see Zach Wilson go, given how that entire situation played out.  But at the same time, he believes that some of the circumstances around the league haven’t exactly been conducive to guys having a shot at being successful.

“Trey Lance got very little opportunity in San Francisco,” said Eisen.  “That’s a different ball of wax where he was drafted and then given the opportunity to sit, then given the opportunity to definitely start and then he gets hurt, and then while he’s hurt, the last pick in the draft the year he gets hurt becomes so sensational, there’s no sense in keeping him around anymore.”

“And then Justin Fields, the 11th overall selection, they give him the treatment that you think would be good for him by letting him sit, although I was stunned that they were going to have him sit at all in Chicago.  But the offensive line was so terrible in front of him, he eventually got in there.”

“And then Matt Nagy – his coach who drafted him – gets fired.  And the General manager who drafted him, gets fired.  And then the coaching staff that has him in is a defensive-minded coaching staff, and then they get a new offensive coordinator in there, and he doesn’t mesh well with him, and now he’s gone.”

Eisen also talked about the fact teams are essentially forced to make decisions based on a limited amount of time, with the club also having to make a decision on that player’s 5th year option ahead of their fourth season.

In some cases, that’s just too soon, and he feels it complicates the situation and cited Fields, who the Bears moved on from this offseason, as an example.

“It’s crazy.  It’s totally nuts, and I am not buying the fact that there was a bag of balls in return for Justin Fields is proof that the NFL thinks that he’s not a starting quarterback.  I won’t believe it,” said Eisen.  “I understand you think I’m misreading the room, but I just think it is part in parcel of the way things go that you have to in the NFL by the month of May of somebody’s fourth year, decide you’re going to pay him a considerable amount of money more in the fifth year, you have to pick up a fifth-year option – $25 million – and a lot of teams just didn’t want to do that with Justin Fields, and I don’t understand why.”

CBA is a Roadblock For Young QBs

Another interesting point Eisen brought up was the fact that the rules for the offseason when it comes to players severely impairs the ability for young quarterbacks to develop.

Eisen talked about Sam Howell, who after one year in Washington – with the Commanders sitting at #2 overall and likely set to take a QB – was shipped off to Seattle and still likely faces an uphill battle in terms of his development.

“I don’t get anymore how somebody like Sam Howell has a year’s worth of experience in him, and he gets traded to Seattle and everybody thinks, ‘Well, he can’t be the starting quarterback of the future for the Seattle Seahawks,” said Eisen.  “Suddenly, you’re dead to people in our world and I just think it’s a quarterback development issue the NFL is not equipped to handle.  There aren’t enough reps in training camp.  There aren’t enough reps during the playing season and there aren’t enough reps in the non-playing season.”

“Sam Howell was like – if you will – screwed either way.  Let’s just say he stays put in Washington D.C. and Kliff Kingsbury wants to give him his new playbook and get him in the building and start doing X’s and O’s with him, start coaching him up.  [You] can’t.  Because the Collective Bargaining rules say he’s not allowed to be in the building for that sort of stuff until the offseason workout program begins a month from now.”

Sam Howell

(PHOTO: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports)

“He goes to Seattle.  They want to give him his new playbook and get him in there and start getting in the film room with him right away, can’t do it until April.  And then what?  You think Geno Smith is just going to cough up much-needed reps to Sam Howell?  So Sam Howell is going to get ready in the middle of the season?  No.”

One conversation that Eisen had last season with Mike Vrabel was eye-opening, which had to do with where rookie QB Will Levis was at that point of the season.

“I remember last season when I was in London with Kurt Warner, talking to Mike Vrabel of the Tennessee Titans prior to the game against the Ravens in London.  And I asked him, ‘How’s [rookie QB] Will Levis?’ and he shrugged his shoulders.  ‘I don’t know.’  How’s he looking?  ‘I don’t know.  We don’t have reps for him.'”

That response essentially backed the concerns Eisen talked about when it comes to the development of players a that position.

Looking at it from a Patriots standpoint, it’s one of those situations that will be interesting to follow in the coming months.  Continuity from the standpoint of the coaching staff is also key, with Josh McDaniels’ departure and what happened after that certainly not helping Mac Jones’ situation.

Now they’re back to potentially taking another QB next month, although that shouldn’t be an issue this time around.  This current offensive staff should be in place for the foreseeable future, provided Robert and Jonathan Kraft show patience with Mayo and his staff.  That’s also, of course, barring a disaster in 2024.

However, Eisen’s point is still valid.  Teams cycling through young quarterbacks is a big problem that will need to eventually be addressed.  Unfortunately, the NFLPA, in what they thought was a good idea, has created a dilemma that seems to be hurting what’s arguably the most important position in football.

Patriots Wolf, Van Pelt Expected to Watch Williams

According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, the Patriots are expected to have some significant names on hand for Caleb Williams’ workout at USC’s Pro Day Wednesday.

Both Eliot Wolf and offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt are reportedly expected to be in attendance, as well as quarterbacks coach T.C. McCartney.

Williams is becoming an interesting name since his stock has seemed to shift a bit following the combine.  ProFootballTalk also speculated that Williams may even want to force his way into going elsewhere, citing previous drafts with Eli Manning and John Elway as examples.

If the Bears suddenly shifted gears, the question then would become whether he’d slip down, opening up the opportunity for Washington or New England to possibly make a move for him.  The other possibility – albeit unlikely – would be the Patriots moving up to get him, which would then allow the Bears to still get a quality starter at #3.

As for USC’s other prospects of note, one includes receiver Brenden Rice, with quite a few mock drafts seeing him go somewhere in the 3rd round.  Running back MarShawn Lloyd is another name, albeit it’s hard to imagine the Patriots targeting a running back, given their other immediate needs.

Odds and Ends:

Free agent tackle Trent Brown finally has a team, with the Cincinnati Bengals agreeing to a one-year deal with Brown to anchor their offensive line.  He joins former Patriots offensive lineman Ted Karras, along with tight end Mike Gesicki, who also agreed to a one-year deal there this offseason. … According to the NFL’s Tom Pelissero, former Patriots special teams standout Chris Board is headed back to Baltimore to join the team that gave him his start. Board began his NFL career with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent, and he’ll continue his career there after having been released by New England earlier this offseason.  … Both former Patriots Rodney Harrison and Devin McCourty weren’t pleased with The Dynasty documentary.  “It didn’t tell the stories like of me coming and Cory Dillon,” said Harrison. “I mean, I interviewed for, 5 or 6 hours I was in New York, and all they had me saying was, ‘F**k ’em all.  F**k ’em all. Like, that’s it,’ said Harrison.  Devin McCourty also said he felt “duped.”  “They only hit anything that was negative,” said McCourty.  “We won at a high level, and guys stayed there.  I could have left two times, I signed back.  There was reasons why.”

READ NEXT:
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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.


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    Michael P. McGrath
    Michael P. McGrath
    7 days ago

    I’ll repeat. 9 SB appearances and 6 Lombardi trophies warrant ultimate praise and not criticism. The negativity and ignorance and impatience of today in all forms, particularly sports writing and social media, permeates everybody and everything, or so it seems. There s little decency left in this world.

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