FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Fast-hit ideas and notes across the New England Patriots and NFL:
1. Difficult change: One of many causes Invoice Belichick has historically promoted from inside on his teaching employees is valuing continuity, and gamers not having to be taught a brand new system with each change.
Offensively, that resulted in Charlie Weis (2000-04) passing the torch to Josh McDaniels (2005-08), who then handed it to Invoice O’Brien (2009-11), earlier than McDaniels took it again (2012-21).
This promoted wholesome participant improvement, and it is what many assumed (this reporter included) was on the core of Belichick’s choice to show to Matt Patricia and Joe Decide as main offensive coaches in 2022. They’d step into a well-known tradition and try to run the identical system, with slight modifications.
However arguably the largest shock because the Patriots reported to coaching camp July 26 is that the system is not as near the identical as many thought. Quarterback Mac Jones and receiver Kendrick Bourne are amongst those that have referred to the “new offense,” with Jones including: “I feel we’ll determine it out. That takes time and persistence.”
The outcome has been some shaky practices, one final Monday that led middle David Andrews to handle your complete unit in an prolonged on-field chat. The subsequent day after a greater observe, veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer stated nobody desires “to come back out right here and be embarrassed” earlier than including: “Whenever you’re doing a little new issues, there’s going to be some rising pains.”
Witnessing the difficult transition sparked apparent questions: Why tear down an offense that Jones thrived in as a rookie? And what precisely are the modifications that gamers are struggling to regulate to?
The first motivation for the change, in response to these aware of Belichick’s pondering, was to make it simpler on gamers. The quantity of the outdated system had grown a lot over 20-plus years — with Tom Brady an enormous a part of it, after which particular Cam Newton-based wrinkles in 2020 including one other layer to navigate — so the time appeared proper to streamline it and return extra to the unique roots.
Altering verbiage is arguably probably the most vital a part of that change. Many issues not carry the identical which means, so offensive gamers are studying a brand new language and the foundations/tasks that come together with it.
As for the gamers’ on-field struggles, the road hasn’t at all times opened holes within the working recreation (zone runs have been a notable drawback) or protected Jones, who stated: “It is simply getting the communication down. It is completely different than what we have carried out previously.”
Jones, who acknowledged there are issues he can do higher to assist the transition, expressed confidence that the Patriots will discover the solutions. And Hoyer stated “there’s [still] components of what we have at all times carried out right here.”
“It is a time once you’re determining what works, what does not, and making an attempt to develop by means of that course of,” Hoyer stated.
Mike Clay assesses the worth Mac Jones might carry to a staff in a two-quarterback league.
2. Mac’s locker: For the primary time in three seasons, reporters had entry to the Patriots’ locker room following a recreation. One factor that stood out — Jones now has Brady’s outdated locker.
3. Zappe’s TD throw: Rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe (19-of-32 for 205 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) earned the respect of teammates and coaches for his play within the second half of the preseason opener, particularly on his landing move to receiver Lil’Jordan Humprhey. The Giants have been dialing up all-out strain calls — a comparatively unusual factor to do in a preseason recreation — and Zappe beat the blitz on the TD regardless of having not practiced for it. “I believed he was calm all evening,” Belichick stated.
4. Recycled asset: The highest of the Patriots’ 2019 draft seems to be like it is going to be a wipeout (second-round decide Joejuan Williams struggled Thursday evening and is an extended shot to stay), however linebacker Mack Wilson would possibly soften the blow. The speedy Wilson, who was acquired from the Browns in a commerce for 2019 third-round decide Chase Winovich, was all around the subject within the preseason opener (5 tackles, 1 QB hit). Wilson’s off-field method mirrors the way in which he performs. “Don’t get complacent,” he stated.
5. What’s in a reputation: Patriots first-round decide Cole Unusual’s first identify is Devin, however he is at all times been known as Cole, which is his center identify. The Tennessee native had by no means been to New England earlier than the Patriots drafted him and stated he is loved settling in, even when most of his time has been devoted to soccer. Requested how he is grown as a participant since coaching camp began, he stated: “I suppose in each method attainable.”
6. Cajuste’s camp: Belichick has famous previously how high quality offensive sort out depth is vital, and 2019 third-round decide Yodny Cajuste (West Virginia) is making a cost to bolster the staff in that space. He has performed in simply seven NFL video games however bumped as much as the primary unit at one level final week. “That is the most effective camp he is had,” Belichick stated. “He is been very aggressive.”
7. Uche’s studying checklist: Third-year linebacker Josh Uche is attacking greater than his playbook in hopes of reaching the potential that resulted within the Patriots choosing him within the 2020 second spherical. He is additionally studying “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. “It is a philosophy e-book; there are completely different quotes all through the e-book that I can form of apply to my life. It provides you a brand new perspective,” he stated. Uche’s pace and move rush have been among the many defensive highlights within the preseason opener.
8. Jones eyes LBs: Rookie cornerback Jack Jones, the fourth-round decide from Arizona State, on why he desires so as to add weight to his 5-foot-11, 175-pound body: “There are grown males working across the subject.” Jones hasn’t but pushed for a beginning position, with Jalen Mills, Jonathan Jones, Terrance Mitchell and Malcolm Butler taking part in forward of him. However he is been across the soccer rather a lot, as evidenced by his move breakup within the preseason opener.
9. Stueber’s standing: Belichick hinted that he is not anticipating rookie offensive sort out Andrew Stueber to return to the sphere any time quickly when he stated the staff cleared up its PUP/NFI lists final week as an indication of the Patriots’ total well being. I am instructed Stueber, who stays on the non-football harm checklist, suffered an undisclosed harm whereas coaching after the draft which might delay his return to the sphere till subsequent season.
10. Do you know? Working again James White, who introduced his retirement Thursday, is second in Patriots historical past for catches by a working again (381). Solely Kevin Faulk (431) has extra.