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 workers is valuing continuity, and gamers not having to study 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 determination to show to Matt Patricia and Joe Decide as main offensive coaches in 2022. They might step into a well-known tradition and try and run the identical system, with slight modifications.
However arguably the most important 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 endurance.”
The consequence has been some shaky practices, one final Monday that led middle David Andrews to deal with the whole unit in an prolonged on-field chat. The following day after a greater follow, veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer mentioned nobody needs “to return out right here and be embarrassed” earlier than including: “Once you’re performing some 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 accordance with these accustomed to Belichick’s considering, was to make it simpler on gamers. The amount of the previous 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 important a part of that change. Many issues now not carry the identical which means, so offensive gamers are studying a brand new language and the foundations/obligations that come together with it.
As for the gamers’ on-field struggles, the road hasn’t at all times opened holes within the working sport (zone runs have been a notable drawback) or protected Jones, who mentioned: “It is simply getting the communication down. It is totally different than what we have accomplished up to now.”
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 mentioned “there’s [still] parts of what we have at all times accomplished right here.”
“It is a time once you’re determining what works, what would not, and attempting to develop by means of that course of,” Hoyer mentioned.
2. Mac’s locker: For the primary time in three seasons, reporters had entry to the Patriots’ locker room following a sport. One factor that stood out — Jones now has Brady’s previous 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 go to receiver Lil’Jordan Humprhey. The Giants had been dialing up all-out strain calls — a comparatively unusual factor to do in a preseason sport — and Zappe beat the blitz on the TD regardless of having not practiced for it. “I assumed he was calm all night time,” Belichick mentioned.
4. Recycled asset: The highest of the Patriots’ 2019 draft appears to be like like it is going to be a wipeout (second-round choose Joejuan Williams struggled Thursday night time and is an extended shot to stay), however linebacker Mack Wilson may soften the blow. The speedy Wilson, who was acquired from the Browns in a commerce for 2019 third-round choose Chase Winovich, was everywhere in the area within the preseason opener (5 tackles, 1 QB hit). Wilson’s off-field strategy mirrors the way in which he performs. “Don’t get complacent,” he mentioned.
5. What’s in a reputation: Patriots first-round choose Cole Unusual‘s first title is Devin, however he is at all times been known as Cole, which is his center title. The Tennessee native had by no means been to New England earlier than the Patriots drafted him and mentioned 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 mentioned: “I assume in each method potential.”
6. Cajuste’s camp: Belichick has famous up to now how high quality offensive deal with depth is important, and 2019 third-round choose 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 very best camp he is had,” Belichick mentioned. “He is been very aggressive.”
7. Uche’s studying listing: 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 guide; there are totally different quotes all through the guide that I can form of apply to my life. It provides you a brand new perspective,” he mentioned. Uche’s velocity and go rush had been among the many defensive highlights within the preseason opener.
8. Jones eyes LBs: Rookie cornerback Jack Jones, the fourth-round choose from Arizona State, on why he needs so as to add weight to his 5-foot-11, 175-pound body: “There are grown males working across the area.” Jones hasn’t but pushed for a beginning position, with Jalen Mills, Jonathan Jones, Terrance Mitchell and Malcolm Butler enjoying forward of him. However he is been across the soccer quite a bit, as evidenced by his go breakup within the preseason opener.
9. Stueber’s standing: Belichick hinted that he is not anticipating rookie offensive deal with Andrew Stueber to return to the sphere any time quickly when he mentioned the staff cleared up its PUP/NFI lists final week as an indication of the Patriots’ general well being. I am instructed Stueber, who stays on the non-football damage listing, suffered an undisclosed damage whereas coaching after the draft which might delay his return to the sphere till subsequent season.
10. Do you know? Operating 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.