Let’s talk about the New England Patriots. Before we get too deep, an update on the quarterback situation. Brian Hoyer is refusing to get the COVID vaccine, so his roster spot is in jeopardy. Jarrett Stidham is on the physically unable to perform list. He is not hurt, this is being done to give Mac Jones more reps. More about this here.
Jones has been spending a lot of time with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on and off the field, according to Pats insider Justin Ramos. He has been very impressed with him. The belief is that there will be a legitimate QB competition with Jones being the front runner for the job. Additionally, there will be a lot of surprise if Jones doesn’t get important snaps early on. Cam Newton is possibly going to be used in a dual quarterback role, similar to Taysom Hill. Still not official yet, we know how this team operates. But, looks like the first rounder from Alabama is on the right track. Rejoice Patriots fans. Rejoice.
The Mac Attack Offense
Assuming Jones is the starter, things will go much smoother on offense this year. The Patriots have significantly improved the weapons around they’re young QB. The team brought in Nelson Agholor from the Raiders to be an outside threat and deep ball presence. They also added Kendrick Bourne from the Niners who only had three drops in 2020. Jakobi Meyers is not getting enough attention. Without question, he should be the new slot receiver to replace Julian Edelman. Meyers was easily the best receiver on the roster in 2020 and deserves a chance to start again.
Tre Nixon, who was taken in the seventh round from Central Florida has serious speed, but probably won’t get on the field much. N’Keal Harry will probably get traded soon. Gunner Olszewski will be the main factor in the return game. The Patriots took the best free agent tight ends off the market. Hunter Henry is as steady as they come. Jonnu Smith will flourish with more consistent opportunities.
The Run Game
The running back situation seems complicated, but it’s obvious. Damien Harris and fourth round rookie Rhamondre Stevenson should be the top backs. Stevenson was taken from Oklahoma. James White is back but likely is only a third down back. Sony Michel needs to be cut or traded, and the Rams could be the team to do it since they just lost Cam Akers. The German born fullback Jakob Johnson is a lights out blocker and will be a key contributor to the run game.
From left to right on the offensive line – Isaiah Wynn, Michael Onwenu, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, and Trent Brown can be great together if they all stay healthy. Wynn and Onwenu may switch places since Onwenu played mostly left tackle in 2020. Wynn has been hurt and may be a safer bet as guard. Sixth round pick Will Sherman from Colorado can play tackle and guard, but probably won’t do much this year.
Defend the House
The defense is the great unknown. We think it will be a 3-4 front but you just never know with this team. For now, let’s approach this like it is a 3-4. If that is the case, then Lawrence Guy, Davon Godchaux, and Henry Anderson will be in the trenches as starters. Bringing back Deatrich Wise was not a good decision. Alabama second round pick Christian Barmore was the best DT in the draft. If he gets going, watch out.
The linebacker setup right now is Matthew Judon and Kyle Van Noy on the outside, with Dont’a Hightower and Juwan Bentley on the inside. Bentley in the lineup is not a good thing. Fifth round pick Cameron McGrone from Michigan probably won’t play this season. Ronnie Perkins, a third round pick from Oklahoma is said be to be transitioning from end to outside linebacker.
Finally, the secondary. Stephon Gilmore is back for now and will be paired once again with JC Jackson. It may not seem like it, but the position to watch here is safety. As of right now, Adrian Phillips is the starting strong safety, and that’s right folks Devin McCourty is back as the free safety. However, Kyle Duggar made huge progress, and Jalen Mills was signed to a four year deal. You don’t sign that kind of deal to ride the bench. Mills and Duggar as starter makes more sense. Sixth round pick Joshua Bledsoe from Missouri can do a little bit of everything as a DB, including play in the box like a linebacker. It’s probably to soon to know where he fits in.
The New England Patriots went shopping in free agency, which is very unlike the New England Patriots. So was missing the playoffs in 2020. We’ll see if the beast of the east can get back to the top.