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#pounditSunday, May 22, 2022

Articles tagged: New England Patriots

Mac Jones jerseys sell out almost immediately following Cam Newton release

Mac Jones

The New England Patriots released Cam Newton on Tuesday, which means Mac Jones has officially been named the team’s starting quarterback. Fans in Foxboro made it clear that they have been waiting for this moment.

Jones’ No. 10 jersey sold out at the Patriots’ official Pro Shop within hours of Newton being released, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss. The jersey is still available at the team’s online Pro Shop, but there is a note that it is a “special event item” that is not guaranteed to ship before Oct. 8.

Patriots fans knew Jones was going to take over as the team’s starter eventually, but Bill Belichick has for months made it seem like he was leaning toward giving Newton the job. That may have changed after Newton missed practice time last week due to an issue with COVID protocols. The former MVP then played poorly in Sunday night’s preseason game against the New York Giants, completing 2-of-5 passes for 10 yards and an interception. Jones completed 10-of-14 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown.

Jones hasn’t played a regular season snap yet, but fans in New England are clearly feeling optimistic. The former Alabama star seemed to gain the confidence of his teammates early in the offseason, and he will now have a chance to show if that was warranted.

Stephon Gilmore to miss at least first six games of season

Stephon Gilmore

The New England Patriots will have their hands full on defense for a significant portion of the 2021 season, as Stephon Gilmore will miss at least the team’s first six games.

Gilmore, who is recovering from quad surgery he had last season, has been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. That means he will not be eligible to play until Week 7 at the earliest.

That is a massive hit to the Patriots’ defense, as Gilmore is their best player on that side of the ball. The cornerback has made the Pro Bowl in each of the past three seasons and is just two years removed from being named Defensive Player of the Years.

Gilmore is in the final year of his contract and has been openly seeking a new deal. He still showed up to training camp, which seemed like an indication that negotiations could be heading in the right direction.

Cam Newton released by Patriots as Mac Jones era begins

Cam Newton

The New England Patriots have decided to go with Mac Jones as their starting quarterback, and Cam Newton will not be the rookie’s backup.

Newton was released by the Patriots on Tuesday, as first reported by Jim McBride of the Boston Globe. The move came as a shock to many, though it really isn’t one.

Jones outplayed Newton during the preseason. Newton then missed important practice time last week due to what the Patriots called a “misunderstanding” with the NFL’s COVID protocols. There was a report that people within the organization were frustrated with Newton over the situation. Jones played extremely well during joint practices with the New York Giants while Newton was out.

There was really no need for the Patriots to keep Newton as a backup, as they also have Brian Hoyer on their roster. The only way Newton was going to keep his roster spot was if he won the starting job, and the former MVP did not do that.

Newton appeared to proclaim himself New England’s starting QB with an Instagram post prior to Sunday night’s preseason game against the Giants. He then went 2/5 for 10 yards and an interception in the Patriots’ 22-20 win. Jones went 10/14 for 156 yards and a touchdown. That likely sealed Newton’s fate.

Mac Jones winning praise from veteran Patriots teammates

Mac Jones

It appears that the tide could be turning in the New England Patriots’ quarterback competition, at least according to some of the team’s veteran players.

A number of veterans were full of praise for rookie quarterback Mac Jones after Wednesday’s joint practice with the New York Giants. Jones was characterized as outstanding against the Giants, putting together 18 consecutive completions at one point and looking in command of the offense.

“He’s getting a lot of reps now. He’s taking control of the huddle and just trying to do the best he can,” running back James White said, via Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. “He’s just making sure everybody is on the same page, so we can go out there and execute not just for one period, but throughout the entire practice.”

That was echoed by wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, who praised Jones for taking charge of the offense and “making the team be a real team.” Defensive lineman Deatrich Wise went out of his way to congratulate Jones, summing things up when asked why: “Did you see the period?”

Cam Newton is expected to return to practice Thursday after missing five days due to a misunderstanding over COVID protocols, a situation that appears to have rankled the team. That issue, combined with Jones’ standout play, may open the door for the rookie to make a late charge and win the starting job. It certainly appears some teammates would be perfectly content with that.

Sony Michel traded to Rams from Patriots

Los Angeles Rams logo

The Los Angeles Rams were dealt a major blow when Cam Akers suffered a torn Achilles prior to training camp, but they have made a significant addition to their backfield ahead of Week 1.

The Rams acquired Sony Michel in a trade with the New England Patriots on Wednesday morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported. Los Angeles is giving up two late-round conditional picks in the deal.

Michel, a first-round pick in 2018, never lived up to his potential with the Patriots. The former Georgia star battled injuries last season that limited him to nine games. He finished with 449 rushing yards and just one score. Michel has 2,292 rushing yards and 15 total touchdowns in three seasons.

The Patriots have solid depth at the running back position heading into the season, which is likely why they considered Michel to be expendable. They’re hoping for a big second-year leap from Damien Harris and also brought back pass-catching specialist James White. Rhamondre Stevenson, their fourth-round pick this year, has shined in the preseason. The former Oklahoma star has rushed for 193 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries in two exhibition games.

While Michel has fallen short of expectations, he will have a great opportunity to shine in Sean McVay’s offense.

Report: Patriots frustrated with Cam Newton over COVID protocol situation

Cam Newton

Cam Newton will miss what many consider to be crucial practice time this week due to a violation of COVID-19 protocols, and there are reportedly some people within the New England Patriots organization who are not happy with the former NFL MVP.

The Patriots announced in a statement on Monday that Newton will have to sit out five days due to a “misunderstanding” with the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols. The quarterback was away from the team on Saturday for a club-approved medical treatment, but he did not follow proper testing protocols. Newton, who is unvaccinated, missed a day of testing even though he got tested away from the Patriots’ facility and tested negative. Daily testing is required for unvaccinated players at an NFL-approved facility.

According to Michael Giardi of NFL Network, there is some internal frustration with the Patriots over the Newton situation. One member of the organization, whom Giardi described as “important,” believes Newton’s absence will open the door for rookie Mac Jones to win the starting quarterback job.

The Patriots said Newton’s out-of-state medical treatment was approved by the team, so they should have clearly communicated the protocols to him before he left. If they did not, that is just as much on the team as it is Newton. If they did, you can understand why they’d be unhappy with the veteran.

Jones will now likely get most — if not all — of the first-team reps in joint practices with the New York Giants this week. Belichick offered his latest thoughts on the Patriots’ QB competition on Monday, but that was before we knew about Newton being ruled out for several practices. Time will tell if the situation has a significant impact heading into Week 1.

Cam Newton out five days due to ‘misunderstanding’ with COVID protocols

Cam Newton

Cam Newton is competing with rookie Mac Jones for the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback job, but the former NFL MVP is going to miss some important reps in practice this week.

Newton has been ruled ineligible to practice for five days due to COVID-19 protocols. The Patriots announced the news in a statement on Monday and explained that Newton traveled out of the New England area on Saturday for a team-approved medical treatment. As the Patriots described it, there was a “misunderstanding” about COVID-19 tests that are conducted away from team facilities.

Here’s the full statement:

The NFL only restricts travel for unvaccinated players. Newton has been asked by reporters if he is vaccinated but said it is a personal issue that he does not want to speak about publicly. The 32-year-old missed some time last season after he tested positive for COVID-19.

The Patriots are holding joint practices with the New York Giants this week. Mac Jones will likely get most — if not all — of the first team reps while Newton is out.

Bill Belichick has not yet named a starter for Week 1. The coach offered some thoughts on the competition on Monday.

Bill Belichick won’t rule out playing both Cam Newton, Mac Jones

Bill Belichick

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has yet to name a Week 1 starting quarterback, which is hardly a surprise. After Cam Newton and Mac Jones both played well in last week’s preseason win over Washington, some are wondering if the Patriots could use a two-quarterback system. Belichick is not ruling it out.

Belichick was asked about the possibility of a quarterback platoon during a Monday morning appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.” He did not shoot it down.

“I am going to do whatever I can to help the team win,” Belichick said. “So, if that’s playing a guard in the backfield, then we’ll play a guard in the backfield. If it’s putting 10 defensive backs on the field, if that’s what it is, maybe we’ll put 10 defensive backs on the field. I am not going to rule out anything. If I think something would help us win, I would consider it.”

That is a classic Belichick answer, so we wouldn’t read too much into it. He never speaks in absolutes, and his thoughts on New England’s QB situation are consistent with that. Though, the coach seemed to acknowledge that Newton has the upper hand.

“Well, I think the fact Cam started last year and he’s here, somebody is going to have to play better than him,” Belichick said. “We’re not going to take a job and say, ‘OK, here, this is gift-wrapped for somebody.’ But, training camp is all about competition. There’s an element of who the starter is, but there’s also the competition and in the end the competition is going to decide how things go in any given year.”

Belichick obviously wants Newton to play well enough to earn the starting job. The Patriots have a complicated offense. While Jones seems to be picking it up quickly, Belichick is the type of coach who would much rather have a rookie sit on the bench and learn. That said, he’s not going to stand by and do nothing if Newton plays as poorly this season as he did in 2020.

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels gave a big hint about the QB competition on Saturday, but Belichick is not going to announce a decision before he has to.

Josh McDaniels gives big hint about Patriots’ QB battle

Josh McDaniels

The New England Patriots are unlikely to name a starting quarterback until just before Week 1, but all signs continue to point to Cam Newton keeping his job — at least for now.

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels spoke about the team’s quarterback competition on Sunday, and he was quick to say that the decision to name a starter will be made by Bill Belichick when the time is right. However, he did make it clear that Newton is currently considered QB1 ahead of Mac Jones.

“Cam certainly is the starter now, and he has done a good job,” McDaniels said, via Justin Leger of NBC Sports Boston. “He has gone in there, he played well the other night. He’s practiced well. But, I know those guys are really competing hard and we’re giving them an opportunity to compete and play a lot of football.”

McDaniels was also asked if he can envision a scenario where both Newton and Jones are part of the offense.

“My answer will be the same; I haven’t thought about it at all,” he insisted.

Newton and Jones both played well in Thursday’s preseason win over Washington. Belichick insisted Newton is his starting QB after the Patriots drafted Jones in the first round. The coach has since implied that there is an open competition, but Newton is still the heavy favorite to be the Week 1 starter.

Belichick almost certainly would prefer to start a veteran. That is one of the main reasons Jones is unlikely to earn the starting job out of training camp, but Newton will have to play a lot better than he did last year if he wants to hold off the rookie.

Patriots’ team plane flying to Haiti to provide emergency supplies

Patriots plane

The New England Patriots’ team plane has become a symbol for providing assistance to those in need around the world. They are at it again this weekend.

The Patriots’ plane was loaded up with emergency supplies on Saturday in preparation for a trip to Haiti. Here is video of the plane taking off on its humanitarian mission to the island.

Over 2,000 Haitians have died and over 12,000 are injured from a 7.2 earthquake that struck the island on Aug. 14. Flash flooding and mudslides as a result of a storm have further complicated matters.

The plane is carrying “close to 40 pallets of critical medical equipment, supplies, medicine, water and consumables that are desperately needed to treat trauma patients, including everything from hospital beds and suture kits to small generators.” The plane is also bringing two surgeons, three physicians and a nurse, according to TMZ Sports.

Build Health International coordinated the relief items, and the Patriots supplied their plane to transport things. The Kraft family, which owns the Patriots, is also donating supplies such as drinking water, surgical masks and personal protective equipment such as masks.

The Patriots’ plane has been used for several humanitarian missions over the last two years. It helped transport COVID-19 vaccines to Central America, and it was used to transport masks to the United States from China early in the pandemic when there was a supply shortage.