Peyton and Eli Manning continue to produce the best broadcast for “Monday Night Football” possible.
The brothers were featured on ESPN2, giving their commentary of Monday night’s Green Bay Packers-Detroit Lions game. They brought in a slew of guests to join them. They offered sharp analysis as well as great wit throughout the game.
Early on, they also brought the conspiracy theories.
Peyton was noting how the Packers were running the ball frequently, which followed the suggestions they made to the team. He joked that Green Bay had them bugged.
“I feel like the Packers were listening to our conversation. I think our conversation was bugged, kind of like the Patriots used to do back in the day,” Peyton joked.
Peyton then took it further. He said that the New England Patriots used to have his locker bugged, so he wouldn’t discuss plays near it. Instead, he would go into the shower.
“Every time I played against New England, I used to talk to my receivers in the showers. Don’t talk about a play next to my locker because I know it’s bugged. I know it’s got a hot mic in there. Very strange to see 7 guys hanging out in the shower,” Peyton said.
Was he being serious or joking? That’s up to you to decide.
Keep in mind, this is nothing new. Tony Dungy said in 2015 that Peyton feared the Patriots had his locker bugged. The Colts used to sweep for bugs when they played in New England. Many NFL teams used to do that but never found anything.
Maybe the Patriots were just in opponents’ heads.
The New England Patriots caught a big break early in their game against the New York Jets on Sunday, as they appeared to get away with a fumble on their opening drive.
Kendrick Bourne caught a short pass from Mac Jones on third down and was stripped by a defender as he was going to the ground. The Jets clearly recovered the fumble, but the officials ruled that the play was whistled dead when Bourne’s forward progress was stopped. You can see the sequence below:
The play should not have been blown dead, and it doesn’t sound like the whistle blew until after the ball had come out. It didn’t matter, as the ruling on the field was that Bourne’s forward progress was stopped, which is not reviewable.
Bourne’s catch resulted in a first down. The Patriots eventually punted, but the Jets were robbed of prime field position and threw an interception on the ensuing possession. The bad call was costly.
New England Patriots running back Damien Harris has faced a lot of criticism on social media in the wake of his costly late-game fumble against the Miami Dolphins last week. Bill Belichick is notoriously ignorant when it comes to all things Twitter and the like, and the coach thinks his players would benefit from sharing the same mindset.
Harris fumbled in the red zone with minutes left in New England’s 17-16 loss. Belichick was asked on Friday about that crucial mistake and if he has any thoughts on players receiving social media backlash for blunders. You won’t be surprised by his response.
“I don’t really know or care anything about social media. I don’t even know what’s out there or isn’t out there, that’s irrelevant to me,” Belichick said. “It doesn’t matter. We played football before there was social media and it didn’t matter then, either.”
As for Harris’ fumble, Belichick said one mistake does not determine the outcome of a game.
“We all make mistakes. We can make a mistake at the beginning of the game, we can make a mistake at the end of the game,” the coach added. “Sometimes that gets magnified because of the timing of it, but there are other things that could have happened at different points of the game that would have had just as big or maybe even a bigger effect on the game.”
Belichick has famously mocked social media platforms in the past. There have been times where you’d swear he has never even used a cell phone or computer, but he probably plays that up. What we do believe is that he considers social media to be useless and a distraction. He’s certainly not alone with that.
Jonnu Smith was one of the New England Patriots’ biggest offseason acquisitions, and the veteran tight end got his first taste of playing in front of Boston-area fans on Sunday. He says the Foxboro faithful lived up to their reputation.
Smith had high praise for Patriots fans while speaking with the media on Monday. Though, he did use a word to describe them that is typically not a term of endearment.
“This atmosphere is everything that it was built to be. It’s a wonderful stadium,” Smith said, via Mass Live’s Chris Mason. “These fans up here, they call them the Massholes, they were definitely lighting the place up yesterday.”
There are certainly some Massholes who are proud Massholes. But there are others who are called Massholes by, for example, New York Yankees fans. Since Smith is one of their own, we’re guessing Patriots supporters won’t mind.
The Patriots lost a tough game to the Miami Dolphins, but there was plenty to be optimistic about. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones played extremely well and probably would have come away with his first NFL victory if not for a Damien Harris fumble deep in the red zone. If Smith was impressed with the atmosphere in a losing effort, he’s in for a real treat when he’s part of his first Patriots victory.
Mac Jones threw the first touchdown pass of his NFL career late in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins, but it looked like the rookie had no intention of keeping the ball for a souvenir.
Jones’ first TD pass was a dart to Nelson Agholor that gave the Patriots a 10-7 lead. As Agholor was jogging off the field, he tried to hand the ball to Jones. The former Alabama star immediately gave it back to Agholor, but Agholor wasn’t having it. You can see the exchange near the end of the video below:
It will be interesting to see if Jones offers an explanation. He definitely seemed adamant about wanting Agholor to have the ball. Perhaps he thought Agholor had just as much of a right to it, as the touchdown catch was the receiver’s first with the Patriots. Or, Jones may have been sending a message that he means business and the personal milestone was insignificant to him.
Whatever the case, Patriots fans loved to see it. Between that moment and what Jones recently said about his girlfriend helping him run plays, the quarterback is already becoming very popular in New England.
The San Francisco 49ers were once viewed as the most likely team to select Mac Jones, and many believed they were going to do just that after they made a massive move up the board prior to the NFL Draft. At one point, that may have been the team’s plan.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Niners traded up to No. 3 in the draft because they were concerned that the New England Patriots would move up so they could beat San Francisco to Jones. The 49ers believed that there were multiple worthy quarterback candidates to be taken third overall at the time, but they felt the trade was necessary to give themselves the option of drafting Jones.
The Niners, of course, then drafted Trey Lance. They obviously believe he’s the better NFL prospect. However, the report has to make the Patriots feel even better about getting Jones at No. 15, assuming it’s true.
Kyle Shanahan previously mocked the rumors that linked Jones to San Francisco, but it sounds like there was at least some truth to them. The Niners may have simply known at the time of their trade that they wanted to draft a quarterback. That doesn’t mean they were set on Lance from the start.
Cam Newton opened up about the end of his time with the New England Patriots in a video he released on Friday, and one of the topics he discussed was his recent violation of COVID-19 protocols.
Newton missed several valuable days of practice time leading up to New England’s third and final preseason game after what the team called a “misunderstanding” with COVID protocols. In his “Freaky Friday” sit-down chat with his father, Newton said he believes the Patriots were going to release him even if he didn’t miss that time but that it likely made their decision easier.
As for the so-called misunderstanding, Newton said he went to Atlanta for a consult related to the foot surgery he had two years ago. He felt “bamboozled” after being told he had to sit out when the Patriots led him to believe he did everything right. Newton said the Patriots even encouraged the trip and told him it was a “great idea.”
Newton is unvaccinated, which is why he had to sit out for several days. There was a report that his vaccination status was a factor in New England releasing him, but Bill Belichick has shot that down.
Like Newton said, missing those days probably did not cost him his job. It did, however, give Mac Jones even more of an opportunity to prove himself.
Many people were surprised that the New England Patriots released Cam Newton rather than keeping him as their No. 2 quarterback behind Mac Jones, but the former NFL MVP thinks the team would have viewed him as a distraction if he stayed.
Newton discussed his final days with the Patriots during his highly anticipated “Freaky Friday” video. During the sit-down with his father Cecil, Newton said the Patriots felt he would have been a “distraction” as a backup QB.
“The reason they released me is because, indirectly, I was gonna be a distraction,” Newton said.
The 32-year-old also hinted that he did not feel he was given a fair shot to earn the starting job. Newton believes the Patriots knew they would have been able to win with him, which would have made it tougher for them to turn things over to Jones at some point. For what it’s worth, he thinks they will win with the rookie, too.
Newton emphatically denied the claim that Jones was teaching him the playbook this offseason. He said he, Jones, Brian Hoyer and Josh McDaniels were always consulting one another about the offense, which is normal for any team. He also said that he believes the Patriots would have released him regardless of his COVID vaccine status, though he admitted missing several days of practice didn’t help his cause.
Had the Patriots wanted to keep Newton as a backup, he says he would have told them “absolutely.” You can hear more of his comments below:
Newton’s rationale about why he lost the starting job doesn’t make much since. If Bill Belichick believed Newton gave the Patriots a better chance to win, he would have gladly had Jones spend time holding a clipboard. There’s no reason to believe the Patriots made a concerted effort to rush a rookie quarterback into action. Just ask Peyton Manning how difficult it is to play the position in the NFL as a rookie. Jones was simply better than Newton during training camp and in the preseason.
As for his playing future, Newton said his career is not over. He is, however, looking forward to spending time with his family. Newton believes he is still good enough to start in the NFL, but there is one big reason he may not play this year.
Mac Jones learned the New England Patriots’ playbook quickly enough to be named the team’s starting quarterback, and the rookie says his girlfriend had a role in that.
Jones was asked during a Tuesday appearance on WEEI’s “Merloni & Fauria Show” if he was surprised to win the starting QB job. He said he wasn’t because of how much work he put into it, which led to a discussion about learning the playbook. Jones described himself as a “visual learner” and said he solicited help from his girlfriend, Sophie Scott.
Jones was far from the most physically gifted quarterback in the 2021 draft, but coaches raved about his football IQ. We won’t be able to truly judge him until he plays in meaningful games, but Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels obviously feel his preparation over the past several months has been superb.
If Jones is telling the truth about running walkthroughs with his girlfriend, that is a testament to his work ethic. We have an easier time believing that than we do this recent report about Cam Newton.
The New England Patriots will be without Stephon Gilmore for at least the first six weeks of the season, but is there a chance he may never play for the team again?
ESPN’s Dan Graziano published a column this week in which he predicted potential surprise moves for all 32 NFL teams. He said he would not be surprised if the New Orleans Saints wind up with Gilmore. The Patriots are apparently open to trading the former Defensive Player of the Year.
“As of this past week, the Patriots were still open to the idea of trading Gilmore, who now has to miss the first six weeks on the physically unable to perform list,” Graziano wrote, noting that the Saints need help at cornerback. “Gilmore is known to be unhappy with his contract, which is up after the season. While there was optimism a month or so ago that he and the Patriots would get something worked out, they still have not.”
Bill Belichick and Sean Payton have worked out high-profile trades in the past, one of them being when the Saints sent Brandin Cooks to New England for a first-round pick in 2017.
Gilmore underwent surgery to repair a torn quad muscle last season. The Patriots have placed him on the Physically Unable to Perform list to begin the year, which means he will miss a minimum of six games. Some have wondered if the decision to place Gilmore on PUP may have something to do with his contract situation in addition to his injury recovery.
Gilmore opened up about his desire for a new contract roughly two months ago. It’s unclear if he would be willing to play for the Patriots this season if he doesn’t get one.