FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts. — Brief thoughts and notes on the New England Patriots and the NFL:
1. Wise loves Mac: The last thing former New England offensive coordinator Charlie Wise wants to do is preach to the Patriots what they should be doing as quarterbacks in the offseason. He characterized it this way, with his typical cheeky manner: I don’t want to be one of those people telling them they’re stupid if they don’t do it.
In this regard, Weisz, who coached the team to its first three Super Bowl championships, praised Alabama’s great coach, Mack Jones.
What are the two most important parts of being a star quarterback? You have a factor in that. And they’re accurate. That was him, Weiss said.
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Weisz, who played a central role in the development of Tom Brady’s early career, first shared his opinion in an interview on his Sirius XM NFL radio program with co-host Bill Lekas. In a follow-up interview with ESPN.com, he was asked to talk about it.
One of the setbacks for Jones is that he’s surrounded by a star-studded cast in Alabama, but Weisz sees this more as a positive.
You talk about having good players around. Yes, he has had good players around him. But who is the leader of the offense when you play on a team with a star-studded lineup? Weiss said. He must have made all those throws too. I think this guy is an excellent quarterback. He has fewer holes than anyone else.
The Patriots pick number 15 in the 2021 NFL draft and ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. picks Jones in his latest simulated draft. ESPN analyst Todd McShay put Jones on the line at the start of the second simulation.
Jones’ athletic ability is not of the level of other high expectations. But Weiss, who mentioned that Jones was coached by Nick Saban, one of Bill Belichick’s best friends, believes that his positive qualities outweigh any potential concerns.
If you’re looking for a guy who regularly walks 100 feet, he’s not your guy. But he can get in and out of the pocket and run the ball if he really has to.
What makes Trevor Lawrence so special is that he can do everything Mac Jones can do, and he’s athletic. Fields, very good player. Zach Wilson, great player. The kid from North Dakota State [Trey Lance], very good player.
But this guy [Jones], he’s the guy that does all the plays. All he does is win and finish.
Weiss compared him to quarterback Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints when he left Purdue in 2001.
He went out in the second round because everyone was talking: He doesn’t take shots below center, and his arm isn’t strong enough. All he did was play well at Purdue and make almost all of his passes, Weiss said. How did it work?
Mike Reiss boldly predicts the Patriots reunion with 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
2. The day: Tuesday begins the 15-day period in which teams can assign a franchise tag. If the Patriots plan to think big in NFL free agency with their abundant cap space, this extension will talk to potential targets from their larger non-CB positions who need help. These are the actors I watch the most in this field:
Titans general manager John Robinson said last week that Smith is not a candidate for the label.
3. Medical examinations: Patriots players are scattered across the country at this point of the offseason, but a handful of them, recovering from injuries, returned to Gillette Stadium last week for a physical exam. They are joined by cornerback Stephon Gilmore (seat) and receiver Julian Edelman (knee).
4. Silent treatment: On many NFL teams, the head coach and/or general manager will give a speech to the media at that time, saying it’s a way for them to communicate with the fans. They usually take place at the NFL Combine, but this year it’s actually Robinson (Titans) and Kevin Colbert (Steelers) who have been doing it lately. Coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots traditionally accompany media from out of state.
5. The design: Is there really a quarterback as a franchise? In the first draft on ESPN’s podcast, Kiper noted that from 2009 to 2016, 22 quarterbacks were selected in the first round, none of whom stayed with their home team. The last dominoes? Carson Wentz, with whom the Eagles reached a settlement with the Colts on Thursday.
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6. Fans of the QB: How would the Lions’ trade of Matthew Stafford affect the Patriots? The acquisition of Jared Goff could take Detroit out of the QB market at seventh, making it a potential candidate for teams looking to trade ahead of QB-hungry Carolina at eighth, and Denver (ninth). Is it too early to talk about a strategy project? Maybe, but in an off season with lots of potential QB moves, every little thing piques my interest.
7. Camera background: In a recent interview on WEEI Sports Radio, I shared my thoughts on Cam Newton’s return to the Patriots, which sparked another discussion. Two musings going forward: Until the Patriots find an answer, they can’t close any doors – and while this probably isn’t the best choice or an extended pivot scenario for the Patriots, the possibility of associating Newton with another QB is a little different than bringing him back as the clearly designated #1.
8. Wynne’s solution: A tough pick for the Patriots is Isaiah Wynn’s 2018 first-round pick, as they are in the third round. In May this year, they will have to decide whether to take over his fully guaranteed five-year option for 2022. Left-handed franchises are hard to find, and Wynn could still fall into that category. But given his injury history (18 of 48 games), one would have thought he could turn the situation around.
9. Modernization of the : The FieldTurf field at Gillette Stadium was last replaced or updated in 2017. Work on the new field is scheduled for this off-season – the old field has already been removed and the new field will be installed for the start of the New England Revolution season.
10. They knew: Urban Meyer’s first Jacksonville staff includes 26 assistant coaches. The Belichick Patriots, traditionally one of the smallest teams in the NFL, had a staff of 19 last season.
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