Foxborough, Mass. – Quick-hit thoughts and notes about the New England Patriots and the NFL:
1. Mac’s Deep Ball: Spring drills are an appetizer for the main menu, and quarterback Mac Jones and the Patriots offense provide a delicious preview of what they expect to cook in 2022.
Key Takeaway: Deep passing games have the potential to make significant improvements.
In the final practice of the mandatory minicamp, Jones delivered three downfield, tight-window throws that could not have been better kept.
There was a high-arc ball to the left for receiver Nelson Agholer, with Jack Jones running stride-for-stride with him in a “go” way, so close that Jones would pull off his jersey as the ball approached. Was done.
Then a deep path from right to left from Joanu Smith’s tight end, Joe Kill Duggar appeared open with safety in his back pocket, but caught diving.
And finally, a 50-yard bomb in the center of receiver Trey Nixon, who somehow pinned a drop-in-the-bucket throw to his chest with his right hand as cornerback Jonathan Jones was on top of him. Jones was shocked when his coverage was completed.
They were plays that celebrated the offense, and veteran defender Devin McCorty called them “hackers” – excellent throws and catches against excellent coverage.
McCorty said the way offense and defense traded “big-time shots” against each other this spring, which was not dominated by either party, was the kind of sign used to assess the team’s potential.
Success in the Deep Passing game, typical of crime, may be the missing part of becoming a full-on attack.
Consider these nuggets from the previous season through ESPN statistics and information:
41% of Jones’ throws near at least 20 yards were eliminated or reduced last season, an off-target mark that ranked 21st in the NFL (league average 36%).
Jones was ranked 24th last season with a 38.8% completion rate on vertical routes, according to NFL Next General statistics. That throw had a higher-than-expected percentage of -4.5% (26th out of 31 eligible QBs).
Jones had a 20-plus yard downfield for receiver Jacoby Meyers (7-of-16), but struggled to connect with Agholor (4-of-17, 0 TD, 2 INT).
The Patriots receivers finished 25th in the NFL Next Gen Stats with just 1.6 yards per deep ball.
Jones felt there had been “good progress” in exercise this spring, but insisted the work should continue.
“We want to do whatever we want anytime, be it run, pass, play-action – short, medium or long. We’re trying to diversify, “he said.
2. Rookie Hustle: In 2003, when safety Rodney Harrison signed with the Patriots as a free agent, he was rehearsing at a different pace and popping receiver Troy Brown into a play. Nearly 20 years later, a parallel to the Patriots’ first-round pick Cole Strange could be drawn, as, in the practice match on Tuesday, the guard with outside linebacker Matthew Juden after a piece of players loosened. There was confusion and shouting on the field.
There’s no hard feeling on Judon’s side, who later freed some others around the Patriots, he said about the weirdo – he’s always full-throttle (which was Harrison’s main).
“If you look at him, he’s running 30 yards,” Judon said. “Greater retort than that.”
3. Eyes on Nixon: Nixon, a practice team receiver (Round Seven, 2021, Central Florida), performed two of the most impressive plays this spring, so the question now is whether he can take this speed to training camp and charge a roster spot. ोलGholar said of him (“I don’t think anyone is training so hard”), and Mac Jones explained that his relationship with Nixon is beyond the realm of imagination. Last season, they would go to the stadium together, test for COVID-19, and then enter the building together.
4. Kendrick’s Cake: Receiver Kendrick Bourne was given a reason for absentee practice before the mandatory minicamp as part of their wedding celebration, and the team was surprised to return with a cake. This is a moment that reflects the camaraderie and chemistry that could develop on the NFL calendar at the moment.
Check out some of Arizona State’s Jack Jones’ best plays as he prepares for the NFL Draft.
5. Draft Report: First Impressions of Patriots 2022 Class:
G. Cole Strange (first round): Plug-and-play starter on the left guard
WR Tyquan Thornton (2nd): Speed as advertised; Acting as a gunner could be his ticket to land on the 46-man game-day roster
DB Marcus Jones (III): In a jersey still not in red contact (shoulder); Project as Returner and Sub Defender
CB Jack Jones (IV): Sticky coverage from the outside; Looking forward to seeing if he can start after watching that episode
RB Pierre Strong Jr. (4th): Appeared as a kickoff returner where the pace was different
QB Bailey Zappe (IV): The ethics of work is not in question; Usually one of the last players to leave the field
RB Kevin Harris (VI): Special Team Coordinator Cam Accord Receives Early Blocking Abuse on Kickoff Returns
DT Sam Roberts (VI): It’s hard to do much justice to your situation without pads and full contact
OL Chessen Hines / Andrew Stuber (6th / 7th): Not practiced
6. Rookie Price: If Jack Jones emerges as a contributor after becoming strong in Spring Practice, it will shed light on the financial value of receiving contributions from players on a rookie contract. The deal, signed by Jones on Thursday, includes a signing bonus of $ 746,984 (paid in two installments) and a basic salary of $ 705,000, $ 870,000, $ 985,000 and $ 1.1 million. So its cap charge is just $ 891,746, 1.05 million, 1.1 million and $ 1.2 million.
7. Fight! While Jack Jones was answering reporters’ questions last week, Agholar shouted “Keep fighting!” Saying mediated. It was a reference to USC’s Fight Song, as Agholar came out of school in 2015, and Jones began his career in 2016 before finishing in Arizona State. In recent weeks he has had some notable battles in the field of patriotic practice and later shared a smile about his Trojan relationship. “I knew Nellie before I got up here; I used to see her around the SC,” Jones said. “I like competing with him. We make each other better.”
8. Belichik and Banda: Coach Bill Belichick has faced the offense, but he was significant in the team’s final minicamp practice. Stay long, He spent most of his workout on his whistle and talking to Ephraim Banda, the Utah State Defense Coordinator / Safari Instructor. Belichick’s time is precious, and the extended conversation with Banda made me think more about his background and what Belichick’s interests should be.
9. Health check-up: Defensive tackle Byron Court and offensive linemen Hines and Stuber are among those under medical scrutiny when the Patriots returned to training camp at the end of July. He has not practiced this spring, and if he does not make progress next month, he will be a candidate for the physically disabled list. Meyers, behind James White, were limited to threatening defensive backs Marcus Jones and tight end Dalton Keane and Hunter Henry, so they also have some support.
10. Did you know? Devente Parker, the receiver who jumped on the Jalen Mills in the Mc Jones deep pass last week, is the most welcome in the NFL over tight-window throws in the last five seasons (69), according to NFL Next Gen Stats. The list includes Julio Jones (63) and Mike Williams (62). Tight-window throwing is defined as being less than a yard apart when approaching.