The 2022 off-season is winding down, slowly but surely. The time for massive roster overhauls and draft strategies is over. Voluntary OTA’s have begun, along with numerous press availabilities from the staff and players.
I am going to breakdown the strange coaching staff comments first and finish it off with the promising report from OTA’s
Coaching Staff Comments Prior To OTA’s
At the end of last week New England’s “brain trust” spoke with reporters and gave some interesting insight to how things were progressing. Joe Judge seemed to have no idea who the primary offensive playcaller would be.
And when you’re asking specifically about the play-calling right there, Greg, (Note: I didn’t ask about playcalling) yeah, really, in terms of play call, I said, Look, when Coach declares that he wants to do it, we’ll go ahead and move forward with that. That’s not really going to be an issue. We have no egos on the staff.” Joe Judge via Greg Bedard – Boston Sports Journal
Judge’s overall tone was off-putting, he seemed tense and frustrated with the types of questions he was receiving.
Judge continued to speak on the rest of the offensive staff and how they each need to know every step for each positional role. He is basically saying all the staff should be interchangeable. I could be an old fashion thinker but I think a team runs better with a clear leadership structure.
Especially New England, the other era’s of not having an offensive coordinator coensides with the ten year span when they didn’t win a Super Bowl. Now on the other side, Matt Patricia was much more relaxed during his time with the press however still provided no clarity when it came to offensive playcalling duties. He did say that he was working mostly with the offensive line.
Steve Belichick and Cam Achord both denied the to say their positional role on the defensive side of the ball. I just don’t understand the secrecy nor the decision making.
Belichick Condescends Rather Than Clarifying
On the first day of voluntary OTA’s Belichick made himself available to the media in his typical aloof fashion. What wasn’t so typically was the tone at which he responded to reporters with the press pass.
Phil Perry asked him a question about who would be calling plays once the season starts, Belichick responded with a scoff, then a chuckle and a pretty sarcastic “minicamp plays” response. Normally even with how dry he acts Belichick always showed a modicum of respect. This just tells me he hates how much he is questioned for these decisions.
“What plays are we calling? Minicamp plays?” Belichick replied when asked about the topic. “We’re going to coach the team, coach the players, get them ready to go. We’re going to game plan when we have to game plan, play calls, do all the things we need to do to compete in games. Right now, we’re months away from that.” Bill Belichick via Hayden Byrd Boston.com
Bill doesn’t seemed concerned with the same things that the rest of the media is, that is nothing new. What is new is the inexperience surrounding him at almost every level. He is essentially taking on every role within the organization.
Mac Jones looks like he filled out a bit of his form and shed some weight. That shows he has been buying into the workouts, thats just the physical aspect of his game. People within the organization have been thrilled with how Jones is being vocal about the offense adding what works best for him informing them what he doesnt find effective.
Mac just seems a lot more confident and in control of himself. His teammates are raving about his command of the offense. Which is going to be really important because he could be in line to teach Joe Judge parts of the system.
“So, he has knowledge that is very beneficial to me as a quarterback and obviously I’m going to learn with him, that’s the goal, is to kind of teach each other and move along and take what he knows and then take the experiences that I have and combine them and work together as a great team. Mac Jones via Paul Perillo Patriots.com
During the first non-padded 11 on 11 Jones went 17-21 with a Kristian Wilkerson drop included. He connected with Kendrick Bourne for a one handed grabbed that really fired Jones up.
With that being said the play of OTA’s so far was made by DeVante Parker when he got behind the secondary on a deep crosser from Brian Hoyer for a long touchdown.
Another welcome sight was seeing James White on the field and moving, which is surprising fromt he last update.
Cole Strange reactions from the organization have been postive, he slid right into the starting Left Guard spot. Its been said that his movement skills and athleticism are elite as advertised. The rumor is that he doesnt carry himself like a rookie, he is mature and ready to play immediately.
Another standout from the day was Cornerback Jack Jones. He was strong at the catch point and it looks like he glides on the field. Jack was in good positioning all day, then he worked with the returning unit and took direction right from Belichick.
Dont worry I’m not getting all hot and bothered by one non-padded practice in May, however in this time of the year everything can be disected. My take from the on-field part of the day is that the Patriots have enough talent in the mix to be a playoff contender.
Mac Jones takes a leap, DeVante asserts himself as a top option, Cole Stange proves the doubters wrong and strengthens the protection, and Jack Jones takes a step to be the next guy in the pipeline.
Would’ve liked to see players like Matt Judon and Isiah Wynn in attendance but they were not. A discouraging note is that I heard nothing about Tyquan Thorton, again its early but I wouldve like to hear him be mentioned. Regardless going to be happy that they had a good day.
If you’d like to see some of the interviews some clips are below.
My final thought is that neither Judge nor Patricia will call plays for the Patriots. Bill Belichick will seeing as he spent signifigant time witht he unit today.
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