After a detailed review of the Patriots’ roster prior to the start of the NFL season, it was difficult to find one player who was an obvious standout from the rest of the group. That doesn’t mean there weren’t individuals who came close or had at least a few great moments, and that’s where we’ll begin with a player who barely got a chance to make an impression on the field.
The Patriots selected Alabama wide receiver Mac Jones in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, and he’s been impressive in OTAs. On Thursday, he had a solid catch, and then returned the ball with a remarkable catch for a touchdown.
Mac Jones, the Patriots’ rookie receiver out of the University of Florida, was in the news today after a report from the Boston Globe suggested that he has been dealing with some issues and hasn’t been able to keep up mentally with the Patriots offense because he lacks the necessary football IQ.. Read more about 2020 new england patriots and let us know what you think.FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts. — Brief thoughts/notes on the New England Patriots and the NFL:
1. Mac is the spirit of a QB: Sometimes a Patriots player’s first impression is so obvious in practice that it’s impossible not to notice. A few examples that come to mind for me over the years are Deion Branch’s fluidity in and out of breaks, Wes Welker’s quickness and change of direction, Randy Moss gliding easily down the field and leaving defenders behind, and Jake Bailey’s penetrating drives.
It wasn’t as evident Thursday with quarterback Mack Jones as it is in these examples, and maybe that’s because a sharp football mind is hard to express in a single moment.
This is one of the main conclusions I drew from this training: Jones is considered a possible starting candidate in training camp in July because of his ability to keep up with the complex mental aspect of the Patriots’ playbook.
This is unusual for Patriots’ starting quarterbacks, who have to get used to the amount of information and the fast pace at which coaches pass it along. That’s a lot to deal with, not to mention that a simple change in defense can require a reaction from the quarterback that changes everything in an instant.
Even in Thursday’s 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, Jones’ every throw seemed to fall into the right place. There was little or no indecision. Right now, he’s probably further along than any Patriots’ starting quarterback before him.
Let’s not forget Cam Newton, who was put in a difficult position on a play when running back Tyler Gaffney made a bad decision and Newton did well – a sign that his offensive possessions continue to develop, so it’s premature to write about the veteran QB.
It was a shorts and t-shirt day in May, which is a critical context. But these are encouraging signs for the Patriots.
Deanna Russini talks about what could happen in the coming weeks if the Falcons try to trade Julio Jones.
2. Julio’s follow-up: Finances will likely determine how aggressive the Patriots are with receiver Julio Jones in a trade, more so than the compensation it would take to acquire him (the Atlanta Falcons are at an all-time low). It seems to me that the Patriots would be happy to have Jones — and who wouldn’t be? — but the finances require a major effort. Signing Jones to his current contract means more dominoes will have to fall to create the salary cap space needed to finish this season, as well as the projections for 2022, when the club is already within the $208.2 million salary cap. I would be surprised if the Patriots went too far in trade talks; it would have to be a very good deal for them to take on the financial burden.
3. Attaches to the hip: Where’s Matt Patricia at Patriots practice? Mostly alongside coach Bill Belichick. The two spent a lot of time together Thursday, not unlike what used to happen with Belichick and football scouting director Ernie Adams. The trust between the two is illustrated by these snapshots from the field.
Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia pic.twitter.com/YW3cNrfnfc
– Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) May 27, 2021
4. J.J.’s benefits: Running back Dion Lewis proved himself in spring training in 2015 and has become a player to keep an eye on. I wondered if history would repeat itself with another small carrier, J.J. Taylor. Arizona’s 2020 free agent will have a great chance to show what he can do with Sony Michel, James White and Brandon Bolden absent and Damien Harris present but not practicing. Taylor is a fast player who is fun to watch.
5. What’s a number? A shirt number often says more about a player. Tight end Hunter Henry, for example, explained that one of the reasons he’s wearing No. 85 for his first year with the Patriots is a tribute to his former Los Angeles Chargers teammate Antonio Gates. Defender Jalen Mills chose No. 2 because that was his late uncle’s favorite number, and midfielder Jaun Bentley chose No. 8 because of his time at Purdue, where he wore No. 4.
As for Belichick’s use of rookies with non-traditional numbers in spring training – like Mack Jones wearing No. 50 – third-year receiver Jacoby Myers said tradition reminds him that we’re all low-level recruits who need to show why we’re here. Originally Myers had the number 69, but when I finally got the 16, it felt like a step in the right direction.
6. Eyes on a pivot: With Isaiah Wynn (left) and Trent Brown (right) not on the field Thursday, the Patriots asked sixth-round pick Justin Herron (left) and four-year pro Corey Cunningham (right) to fill in. Herron was a pleasant surprise as a rookie, and he seems like a prime candidate for the swingman role, which is an important safety net given the injury history of Wynn and Brown. It may be too early for Yodney Cajuste, a 2019 third-round pick from West Virginia, to be selected, in part because of injuries.
What you need to know about the New England Patriots:
– Patriots free agent signings
– Free agent coverage | More NFL
– Analysis of each Patriots draft pick
– Kipper scores for each team
– McShay’s preferred position for all 32 teams
– Patriots 2021 schedule | All games
7. Onwenu for Tuni: The Patriots haven’t looked at the left back position in the last five years, with ironclad Joe Tuni at the position and not looking back. After Tuni signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, Mike Onwenu, a 2020 sixth-round pick, was selected to fill that spot during Thursday’s practice. With Onwenu, David Andrews and Shaq Mason on the interior, the Patriots are well-positioned to make up for Thuney’s absence, and free agent running back Ted Karras will provide good depth.
8. Cardona on Memorial Day: Patriots sniper Joe Cardona, who was promoted to lieutenant in the Naval Reserve, was a guest on Paul Feinbaum’s podcast last week and discussed the holiday. He shared a similar message with his teammates when Belichick addressed the Patriots.
This is a great day to remember those who have sacrificed for our freedoms, Cardona said. We have much to be thankful for here in America. The fact that Memorial Day coincides with the start of summer, a three-day weekend, makes everyone happy. But for many people, it’s a dark day of remembrance.
9. BB Advice: Occasionally, Belichick says something that reminds us that his perspective on key moments in the history of the Patriots franchise is unique and often untranslatable. For example, last week he called Adam Vinatieri’s 41-yarder against the Panthers in Super Bowl XXVIII one of the most underrated kicks of Vinatieri’s career.
Belichick acknowledged the irony of calling the Super Bowl victory kick a euphemism, but cited Carolina’s rush on field goal attempts as the reason Vinatieri was forced to pay particular attention to recovering the ball quickly.
For the Panthers, Chris Jenkins, Mike Rucker, Al Wallace, Shane Barton and Matt Willig all returned to action, while midfielder Dan Morgan was among those applying pressure at the second level. The Panthers also blocked a 36-yard field goal early in the game, and Belichick said Thursday that they are one of the best teams to ever throw on goal.
It’s a small detail, but it highlights an iconic moment in Patriots history.
10. Did you know that in the last 25 years, 11 receivers have been traded for at least one first round pick, and the oldest players in that group were 28 at the time of the trade (Randy Moss, Joey Galloway). Compensation should be considered in a possible deal for 32-year-old Julio Jones.
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