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#pounditMonday, December 6, 2021

Articles tagged: New England Patriots

Mac Jones already poised to beat out Cam Newton?

Mac Jones

Bill Belichick has made it clear that Cam Newton remains the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback even after they drafted Mac Jones. That is easy for the coach to say months before the start of the season, but it is fair to wonder how long he can stick to it.

Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald shared some observations after watching both Newton and Jones take part in organized team activities on Thursday. While it is far too early to draw conclusions about the quarterback competition, she said there is already a feel that it is playing out. And at least for one practice, it sounds like Jones looked like the better option.

Newton has been working on his mechanics this offseason, and Guregian notes that he appears to have made progress with his delivery on short throws. However, Newton displayed some issues throwing to his right and had deeper passes sail on him. He also had some issues with accuracy during drills.

Jones, on the other hand, is “clearly polished on the finer points of playing the position,” according to Guregian.

“There was one drill where the quarterbacks would make a play-fake before delivering the football. His fakes were smooth, despite playing mostly from the shotgun at Alabama,” the reporter said of Jones. “And all the pre-draft hype about him throwing a ‘catchable ball’ were on target. He leads receivers and puts the ball in the perfect spot.

“He has a nice release, is accurate and gets rid of the ball quickly.”

Again, we’re talking about OTAs. Belichick probably does not want a rookie starting Week 1, but Jones is going to do everything he can to force the coach’s hand.

Jones showed that he is thrilled with where he ended up with the message he delivered to Roger Goodell at the draft (video here). That is likely because the No. 15 overall pick knows how Newton played last season. If Cam doesn’t show drastic improvement, it will only be a matter of time before he loses his job to the rookie.

Julio Jones reportedly hoping to join one of these two teams

Julio Jones

Julio Jones confirmed this week that he wants the Atlanta Falcons to trade him, and the All-Pro wide receiver reportedly has two teams at the top of his wish list.

Jones would prefer to be traded to the New England Patriots or Tennessee Titans, according to Chris Simms of NBC Sports.

It’s unclear if the Titans will attempt to trade for Jones, but the interest with New England appears to be mutual. A report over the weekend claimed the Patriots have had internal discussions about the possibility of acquiring Jones.

Players from both teams have already begun making their pitches to Jones. Derrick Henry had an enthusiastic response to rumors linking Jones to Tennessee. Patriots offensive lineman Trent Brown also tweeted about Jones this week.

Jones supposedly is open to the idea of playing with Cam Newton. Although, he did say on live TV Monday that he wants to be traded to a winning team (video here). The Patriots finished 7-9 last season and are hoping for a big turnaround in 2021.

The Falcons are said to have a very steep asking price for Jones, so that will likely have to come down for trade discussions to get serious.

Photo: Lisa Ferdinando/U.S. Secretary of Defense via CC-BY 2.0

Report: Patriots have had internal discussions about Julio Jones trade

Julio Jones

The New England Patriots appear to be at least somewhat interested in trading for Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones.

According to Michael Giardi of NFL Network, the Patriots have had “internal discussions” about trading for Jones. The seriousness of those discussions was unclear.

The Patriots have been named as a possible Jones destination because the fit seems to work. They have the cap space to theoretically take on Jones’ $15.3 million salary, and they’re in serious need of offensive playmakers. The price to acquire Jones likely wouldn’t be particularly prohibitive either, with the Falcons in dire need of cap space.

There’s been some talk that Jones might be interested in joining the Patriots for this specific reason. If that’s the case, he’d probably welcome a deal.

Photo: Lisa Ferdinando/U.S. Secretary of Defense via CC-BY 2.0

Does this signal the end of Jarrett Stidham’s time with Patriots?

Jarrett Stidham

The New England Patriots used a fourth-round draft pick on Jarrett Stidham two years ago, and the idea at the time was for him to be the heir apparent to the Tom Brady throne. That has not exactly worked out, and the former Auburn star may wind up looking for work elsewhere this offseason.

The Patriots re-signed Brian Hoyer this week, and it sounds like the veteran backup is confident he will have a roster spot. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported on Thursday that Hoyer chose sticking with the Patriots over serving as the primary backup behind New York Jets rookie Zach Wilson.

That means the Patriots now have four quarterbacks, and two seem like they are guaranteed roster spots. Mac Jones obviously isn’t going anywhere, and Belichick has made it clear that Cam Newton is New England’s starter heading into the season. We doubt Belichick will carry more than three quarterbacks on the active roster in Week 1, which means Stidham could be the odd man out.

There were some reports last offseason that the Patriots were high on Stidham, but that is now hard to believe. Newton struggled for most of 2020, yet Stidham never took over as the Patriots’ starter. They have since drafted a QB 15th overall and re-signed their most trusted veteran backup. Don’t be surprised if Stidham is waived in the coming weeks.

Here is how much tickets to Bucs-Patriots are selling for

Tom Brady Bucs

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots will square off in one of the most highly anticipated sporting events in history on Oct. 3, and the ticket prices for the game are already reflecting that.

As soon as the NFL released its official regular season schedule on Wednesday, ticket listings began popping up for the Week 4 game. Greg Auman of The Athletic scanned through some prices on different websites, and most of the listings have been comparable to Super Bowl prices. As of Thursday, the cheapest ticket was $1,150.

Patriots fans never really got a chance to say goodbye to Brady. His last game as a Patriot at Gillette Stadium was an embarrassing playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans two years ago. No one knew for sure at the time that he would be leaving in free agency, but he later signed with the Bucs.

Brady obviously has the Week 4 game circled on his calendar, and he sent a great tweet about it on Thursday. His father, Tom Brady Sr., also talked some trash in a funny phone call to a Boston area radio station. The hype should continue to build, and ticket prices may rise along with it.

Tom Brady sends great tweet about big showdown with Patriots

Tom Brady

The NFL released its official 2021 regular season schedule on Wednesday, and the game that stuck out above the rest is the Week 4 matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots. In case you were wondering, Tom Brady took note of that game as well.

Brady sent a great tweet on Thursday about his return to Gillette Stadium. The 43-year-old joked that it is going to feel like introducing his college friends to his old high school friends.

Brady’s return to New England will be one of the most highly anticipated regular season sporting events of all time. There are already reports swirling that ticket prices will be comparable to the Super Bowl, with the cheapest ones likely being around $1,000 each.

The tweet Brady sent came not long after his father, Tom Brady Sr., called into a radio show with some awesome trash talk for the Patriots. Week 4 really can’t come soon enough.

Tom Brady’s father has awesome trash talk for Patriots

Tom Brady Bucs

Tom Brady’s return to New England is one of the most highly anticipated storylines of the 2021 NFL season, and his father is already bringing the smack talk.

Tom Brady Sr. called into the “Zolak & Bertrand Show” on 98.5 The Sports Hub on Thursday morning to share how excited he is for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to face the Patriots in Week 4. The elder Brady said he started “salivating” when the schedule came out.

Brady Sr. added that he expects his son and the Bucs to “beat the Patriots rather handily.” He then admitted he still roots for New England when the situation allows.

Brady’s father has always been pretty outspoken about his son’s career. The seven-time Super Bowl winner even banned Tom Sr. from speaking with the media at one point. That unofficial ban likely came after Tom Sr. ripped Roger Goodell for the way the NFL commissioner handled Deflategate.

For what it’s worth, Brady Sr. also defended Bill Belichick last year for moving on from his son.

The Week 4 game between the Patriots and Bucs is circled on every football fan’s calendar. You can’t blame Brady Sr. for already being hyped.

Will this be the biggest game of the 2021 NFL season?

Bill Belichick

The NFL is set to release its full 2021 regular season schedule on Wednesday night, but the dates of many big games have already leaked. Perhaps the most noteworthy matchup will take place on “Sunday Night Football” in Week 4.

According to multiple reports, the New England Patriots will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the Week 4 Sunday night game. That will mark the first time Tom Brady faces his former team and returns to the place where he won six Super Bowls in two decades.

It would not be a surprise if that game draws higher ratings than any other regular season contest in 2021. The storylines will be endless, as there has been a lot of talk about the relationship between Brady and Bill Belichick souring before the quarterback left in free agency last year. Both future Hall of Famers will undoubtedly want to get the best of the other, whether they admit it publicly or not.

Belichick and Brady will probably do their best to convince people the Week 4 matchup is “just another game,” but there is no reason to believe that. The Patriots will come up with some extravagant tribute to Brady prior to kickoff, and fans in New England will give him the reception he deserves. Brady will then turn into the enemy as soon as the clock starts winding.

In addition to Brady, Rob Gronkowski will also be returning to Foxboro for the first time as a visiting player. Belichick and Gronk have played nice since Gronk left the Patriots (evidence here), but there is probably some tension there, too.

The Week 4 “Sunday Night Football” game will be must-see TV.

Could Matt Patricia succeed Bill Belichick as Patriots coach?

Matt Patricia

It’s long been assumed that Bill Belichick’s eventual successor as New England Patriots head coach is being groomed as part of the staff already. The latest speculation, however, centers on a name we haven’t heard before.

Boston Globe NFL writer Ben Volin suggested in an appearance on WEEI’s “The Ken and Curtis Show” that the Patriots may be grooming Patricia as Belichick’s heir apparent. Volin noted that Patricia’s signature has been on every contract the Patriots have agreed to this offseason, suggesting he has taken on many of the responsibilities of former director of player personnel Nick Caserio. Volin thinks this was notable because it suggests Belichick trusts Patricia to handle these contractual responsibilities despite Patricia not really operating in that area before.

“They had to choose one person, and they chose him,” Volin said. “It does seem like they are broadening his skill set, and it makes me wonder if they are setting him up to be the heir apparent to Belichick.”

It wasn’t a huge shock that Patricia rejoined the Patriots’ staff following his ill-fated tenure as head coach of the Lions. However, it’s been clear that Belichick is giving him significant responsibilities quite quickly. The Patriots might also believe that Patricia would have better luck coaching a team that’s already more accustomed to New England’s unique organizational culture.

Of course, there have been other names tossed around as potential successors to Belichick. Patricia’s name seems to be one to watch, though.

Patriots take Mac Jones in first round of NFL Draft as predicted

Mac Jones

Long before all the rumors that had Mac Jones going No. 3 overall to the San Francisco 49ers, he was tied to the New England Patriots. And now that fate has come true.

The Patriots did not trade up or down in the first round. Instead, they stayed put and waited for several quarterback to go ahead of them. Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance went Nos. 1-3. The Chicago Bears traded up to take Justin Fields at No. 11. The Patriots waited for Jones to fall to them and took him when he was on the board.

Recall that veteran ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. had Jones going to New England at No. 15 in his original mock draft. Kiper further put the pressure on by comparing Jones to Tom Brady.

Patriots fans shouldn’t expect the next Tom Brady. Not only would that be unfair, but it would also be unrealistic.

Still, at least New England has a young quarterback to get excited about finally, and we’re not talking about Jarrett Stidham. Maybe Cam Newton and Jones will battle it out to see who starts at first. But New England would love to see Jones become their franchise QB.