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#pounditWednesday, October 5, 2022

Articles tagged: New England Patriots

Rob Gronkowski reveals why he left Patriots out of retirement announcement

Rob Gronkowski on the sideline

Nov 28, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (87 on the sideline in the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Gronkowski caused some unrest by not mentioning the New England Patriots in his recent retirement announcement despite playing most of his career with them. The former tight end was asked about that Tuesday, and he asserted that any controversy about that has been blown out of proportion.

Gronkowski said he did not acknowledge the Patriots in his most recent retirement post because he had already done so the first time he retired.

“I think it’s a little blown out of proportion,” Gronkowski told Sean McGuire of NESN. “I mean, I kind of did it when, you know, my first retirement.

“There’s no doubt I love New England. I love all the fans here in New England. There’s no doubt. But I felt like that speech or whatever, the time and place I did for the first one was great, and I was just kind of giving it for that retirement for the two years I had in Tampa. But I think it was blown out of proportion maybe a little. But I love New England, love everything about it.”

Gronkowski is correct when he mentions how he paid tribute to the Patriots upon his initial retirement in 2019. In his mind, he did not need to do so again, as that retirement closed the door on that phase of his career.

Whatever his intent, Gronk probably should have seen this coming. After all, Tom Brady caused a huge furor when he initially retired without acknowledging the Patriots. Circumstances were different here, but the omission was bound to be noticed.

Patriots veteran shares what impresses him most about Mac Jones

Mac Jones in pads

Aug 12, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones 10) throws the ball during a game against the Washington Football Team at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Mac Jones may come across as soft-spoken, but one New England Patriots veteran says the quarterback can become the most fierce player on the field when the situation calls for it.

Patriots tight end Jonnu Smith spoke about Jones’ development during a Monday appearance on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football.” When asked what has impressed him most about Jones, Smith said he loves that the former Alabama star can be the “goofiest” person in the locker room but flip a switch on the field.

“Honestly, man, just the way he can turn it on,” Smith said. “Mac is definitely one of the most goofiest guys in the locker room, to be honest, man. But when he steps on that field, he’s a different character. He’s just got so much ability and so much dog in him. Once he flips that switch, he’s a whole different character. Some guys don’t know how to cut that on and cut that off when it’s time to do it. He’s so young. He’s poised. He’s got a little swagger to him, man. I’m glad he’s throwing us passes. That’s my guy.”

Smith is one of several Patriots players who have heaped praise on Jones this offseason. The 23-year-old is clearly putting in a significant amount of work heading into Year 2. He has even been imitating Tom Brady in at least one way.

No one really knows what to expect from the Patriots this season. The AFC looks stacked on paper, but any Bill Belichick-led team usually has a chance to reach the playoffs. If Jones is as good as advertised, the Patriots could surprise a lot of people.

Julian Edelman shares thoughts on potential NFL comeback

Julian Edelman pumps up the crowd

Sep 26, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Former New England Patriots Julian Edelman is honored during halftime against the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Julian Edelman has not closed the door on an NFL return.

The former New England Patriots wide receiver retired last April. He was asked during an appearance at the Sunset Sports Media Festival in Zadar, Croatia last weekend if he would return to the league to play with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“I don’t know, we’ll see,” Edelman said via Jenna Lemoncelli of the New York Post. “That’s called a little teaser. We’ll see. We’re staying in shape but you never know.”

The Super Bowl LIII MVP also said that, if he were to return, it would be to his old team.

“I’d probably go back to the Patriots,” Edelman said. “I love the Patriots. Foxborough Forever.”

This isn’t the first time Edelman has sparked comeback rumors. The 36-year-old has worked out with Tom Brady at UCLA, and a video of the two former teammates went viral. Edelman also had some fun with fans over rumors that he could join the Buccaneers in 2021, but has repeatedly shut down any notion that he would reunite with Brady.

In 11 NFL seasons with the New England Patriots, Edelman caught 620 passes for 6,822 yards and 36 touchdowns, and won three Super Bowls. In 19 career playoff games, he had 118 receptions for 1,442 yards and five touchdowns.

Ex-Bill Belichick advisor weighs in on Patriots’ playcalling mystery

Bill Belichick on the sideline

Oct 10, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reacts during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots have not named a formal replacement for Josh McDaniels, and that is likely the way it will stay through the 2022 season. Still, someone has to call plays, and everyone wants to know who that will be. Michael Lombardi is not buying the latest report.

Jeff Howe of The Athletic reported this week that Matt Patricia is the favorite to be the de-facto offensive coordinator in New England this year. Head coach Bill Belichick said earlier this offseason that Patricia will be working with the offensive line. Former Patriots assistant Michael Lombardi said on “The GM Shuffle” podcast this week that he does not think Patricia can do that and call plays.

“I don’t see how an offensive line coach can call plays,” Lombardi said It’s hard enough to get those five guys to play good, to make sure they handle the protections, to make sure everything is copacetic in the run game, to make sure everybody’s doing their job. You’re focused on them. … Who’s sitting with Mac Jones? That’s the guy who has to call the plays. On Monday through Saturday, that personal relationship between the quarterback and playcaller manifests itself on Sunday.”

You can hear more of Lombardi’s rationale below:

Lombardi served as an assistant to the coaching staff under Belichick in 2014 and 2015. He is quite familiar with how the legendary coach operates. The former longtime NFL executive questioned the source of Howe’s reporting.

“How can Matt Patricia coach the line and those 8-10 guys he’s gotta coach and then have to develop a relationship with the quarterback?” Lombardi asked. “It doesn’t make any sense to me. I think it’s just somebody throwing stuff out there.”

Patricia was an offensive assistant for a brief time in his first stint with the Patriots. He really made a name for himself as a defensive coordinator, however, which is why it would be bizarre if Belichick named him the team’s playcaller. The other top candidate for the job is not one who excites Patriots fans all that much, either.

Report: Matt Patricia is early favorite for unexpected role with Patriots

Matt Patricia looking on

Matt Patricia clearly has the trust of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, and may be in line for a surprising role with the team this season.

Patricia is seen as the early favorite to call offensive plays for the Patriots this season, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic. Patricia and Joe Judge are both under consideration for the role, but according to Howe, things are “trending in Patricia’s direction.”

The Patriots do not have a designated offensive coordinator at present. The role is vacant after Josh McDaniels departed to become head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Patricia would certainly be a bizarre choice for the role, even considering the Patriots’ tight circle of trusted coaches. While he briefly spent time as an offensive assistant and assistant offensive line coach in his first stint with New England, Patricia has never been an offensive coordinator. If anything, he made his name on the other side of the ball after serving as the Patriots’ defensive coordinator from 2012 to 2017. An unsuccessful stint as Detroit’s head coach didn’t do anything to bolster Patricia’s offensive credentials, either.

Still, the Patriots have seemingly had Patricia in mind for this sort of role for a while now. Belichick clearly believes in him, and he’s the guy calling the shots.

Former 1st-round pick may need desperation move to make Patriots

NKeal Harry in Patriots uniform

Dec 26, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver N’Keal Harry (1) during warmups prior to a game agains the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

A notorious New England Patriots’ first-round pick is facing a major uphill battle to make the team’s roster in training camp. His odds are so bad, a radical position switch may be his only chance.

Wide receiver N’Keal Harry, the Patriots’ first-round pick in 2019, is considered a “long shot” to make the final 53-man roster barring injuries, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN. Harry’s situation is so rough that, according to Reiss, a switch to tight end to compete for a third-string role may be his best chance of making the roster.

Harry, the No. 32 pick in 2019, probably isn’t well-suited to the position. At 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, he’d be slightly undersized, not to mention he has registered little success in his career so far.

The 24-year-old entered the league with high hopes, but they simply have not materialized. He had just 12 receptions in 2021 and failed to catch a touchdown, and only has four touchdown catches in his career. He has been on his way out for quite a while now.

Mac Jones reportedly taking big step in second offseason

Mac Jones looks on

Nov 18, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) during a timeout against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

There has been a lot of talk this offseason about the New England Patriots losing their offensive identity now that Josh McDaniels is gone, but it sounds like Mac Jones is doing everything he can to make sure that does not happen.

Jeff Howe of The Athletic shared a few notes out of New England in his latest notebook on Friday. One of them is that the Patriots “sound ecstatic” with the dedication Jones has shown heading into his second NFL season. As Howe describes it, Jones has been taking ownership of the offense and is “willing to vouch for plays and concepts that he likes and pump the brakes on the stuff that hasn’t worked.”

Bill Belichick has not publicly named a new offensive coordinator with McDaniels now the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. It is unclear who will be calling plays for the Patriots. Belichick has brought back two former assistants — Joe Judge and Matt Patricia — following their failed stints as head coaches elsewhere. Those decisions have been met with a great deal of skepticism, especially since Judge said this week that he will be working closely with Jones.

A lack of development from Daniel Jones was one of the reasons the New York Giants fired Judge. Will the coach have more success working with Jones? Time will tell, but it is a good sign that Jones is taking the initiative with months to go until the start of the 2022 season.

Cole Strange had hilarious reaction to draft phone call from Patriots

Cole Strange during an interview

Bill Belichick left the NFL world scratching their heads when he selected Cole Strange with the 29th overall pick in the draft last month. If you want to know how unexpected the decision was, just ask the former Chattanooga offensive lineman’s father.

Strange’s father Greg told Chris Mason of this week that Cole got a call from an unknown number at around 11 p.m. on the first night of the NFL Draft. He put the phone on speaker. Greg said Cole’s initial instinct was that someone was pranking him.

“(Cole) said, ‘Sir, I don’t mean to be disrespectful at all, but I’ve gotta know because I’ve got some crazy friends. Is this a prank?’” Greg recalled. “The guy said, ‘Hold on just a second.’ And then Bill Belichick got on the phone and of course, unless you’ve been under a rock for the last 20 years, you know Bill Belichick’s voice.”

Greg and Cole both felt much better after hearing from Belichick himself. Greg said Belichick even gave his son some friendly ribbing when things quieted down.

“Belichick is sitting there and when we got through, the first break he had, he said, ‘Hey Cole, you’ve gotta act like you’ve been there, man.’ It was classic to us,” the elder Strange said. “We absolutely loved it.”

Almost everyone outside of the Patriots’ draft room was stunned by the Strange pick. Rams head coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead probably had the best reactions.

The 6-foot-5, 307-pound Strange impressed teams in drills at the Scouting Combine earlier this offseason. Belichick told reporters after the first round that Strange “wouldn’t have lasted much longer,” but even the Strange family probably disagrees.

Report: Patriots players have 1 concern about upcoming season

Bill Belichick on the sideline

Oct 10, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reacts during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

There have been a lot of questions about how the New England Patriots will look on offense next season now that Josh McDaniels is gone, and those are not exclusive to the media. Some players are reportedly a bit concerned, too.

Greg Bedard of said this week that there are players on the Patriots’ roster who are “alarmed” about the direction of the team’s offense. More specifically, there are people who were baffled by the comments offensive assistant Joe Judge made earlier this week.

Judge, who was fired as the head coach of the New York Giants after last season, has returned to New England. He served as an assistant on Bill Belichick’s staff for eight years prior to landing the Giants job. He was mostly a special teams coach, but Belichick added wide receivers coach to his title the season before Judge was hired by the Giants.

While the Patriots have not named a new offensive coordinator (at least publicly), Judge told reporters on Tuesday that he will be working closely with Mac Jones. He shared some of his plan to help the second-year quarterback develop.

Judge also babbled at length about how all offensive coaches need to be able to coach all skill position players. Bedard found those remarks to be puzzling.

The phrase “in Belichick we trust” is a popular one in New England. However, the coach is going to face a great deal of criticism if the Patriots struggle on offense this season. Daniel Jones did not make strides under Judge in New York. If Jones hits a wall, Belichick’s decision to bring Judge back will look pretty bad.

Joe Judge shares his plan for helping Mac Jones

Mac Jones in pads

Aug 12, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones 10) throws the ball during a game against the Washington Football Team at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Judge returned to the New England Patriots as an offensive assistant after he was fired by the New York Giants. While we still have no idea who will call plays for Bill Belichick now that Josh McDaniels is gone, one thing is clear — Judge will be working directly with Mac Jones.

Judge told reporters this week that he is excited to work with Jones. He went into some of the details of his plan for helping the former first-round pick.

As for who is calling plays, Judge said no one has been told anything. He said his job at the moment is to work with the quarterbacks. Many Patriots fans are concerned about that after the lack of development we saw from Daniel Jones under Judge in New York.

Former Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia, who also returned to New England as an offensive assistant, told reporters he has mostly been working with the offensive line. He was primarily a defensive assistant during his first stint with the Patriots.

Belichick will face a lot of criticism for his coaching hires if Jones does not improve in his second NFL season.