In an odd scheduling quirk, the New England Patriots are taking on a team coming off of a bye for the third straight week.
The Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens had byes before they played the Patriots. Now the Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles both are coming off bye weeks before their Week 11 matchup.
Usually, a team has an advantage coming off of a bye week, but that advantage is gone for the Patriots and Eagles on Sunday. At least neither team had an additional game to watch early this week.
Let’s get into this week’s mailbag.
What’s the thinking behind keeping only 8 on the practice squad the last few weeks?
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick actually explained this Wednesday when ESPN’s Mike Reiss asked about it. Here’s what he had to say:
“It’s eight, it might be nine, it might be 10, it might be seven,” Belichick said. “We had a couple of guys taken off our practice squad a couple weeks ago. Had that not happened we’d probably be looking at a different number. Both those players have been released. We’ll see how it goes. We’ll look at it week to week, but we’re not married to anything, other than we can’t go over 10 — we know that. I don’t think we’re married to a number, so if it’s the right fit and something that helps us and we feel it’s worthwhile, then we’ll do it, and if not, then we’ll see what comes along.”
The Patriots could add defensive end Ufomba Kamalu back to their practice squad after he was waived by the Baltimore Ravens this week.
A couple of factors that could be in play: The Patriots are pretty healthy right now, so maybe they don’t need additional players on their scout team, and New England has been up against the salary cap all season. They can save a little bit of money by not filling their practice squad. The Patriots also didn’t fill their 53-man roster for one game this season.
Finally, maybe they just don’t like any of the players that currently are out there. It is a little bit odd for the Patriots to carry fewer than 10 players on their practice squad, but it’s not completely out of the ordinary. In 2013, my first year on the Patriots beat (back in my day), teams could only carry eight players on their practice squad. That number increased in 2014 and was made permanent in 2016.
I love that Patriots fans are so dedicated that they’re asking about the practice squad. Every little detail matters to the team and to fans.
Should the Patriots look into Cam Newton?
We’re getting out ahead of ourselves a little bit, but I love it.
Two things would need to happen: The Panthers would have to elect to trade Cam Newton after the 2019 season, and Tom Brady would have to either retire or move to another team in free agency. If both of things happens, then yeah, I could definitely see Newton being the Patriots’ best option at quarterback in 2020.
The Patriots also could sign Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, Philip Rivers, Ryan Tannehill or Teddy Bridgewater in free agency. Those actually aren’t terrible short-term options out there in an emergency situation if Brady isn’t back.
Of course, the Patriots also have 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham on their roster.
Does Meyers stand a chance in the Wr rotation moving forward? Are the coaches seeing problems, we the fans, arent? I thought he was carving out a role???
I think the Patriots at least need to give 2019 first-round pick N’Keal Harry a chance to show what he can do. Meyers is a nice fourth option, but it’s not as if he’s tearing up the field and pushing Phillip Dorsett for a starting spot. Harry could.
So, I do think Meyers could continue to be involved in the wide receiver rotation, but Harry should get a crack at taking over that fourth role before the end of the season. Harry just has a lot more upside than Meyers based on his size, athleticism and pedigree.
I find it hard to see the Patriots dressing Meyers and Harry in a game, barring injuries, because of the numbers crunch at wide receiver.
Why are Kessler and LaCosse still on that 53 man roster? Sign a full back.
I actually wouldn’t be surprised if Matt LaCosse pushes Ben Watson for starting snaps once he’s back and healthy. If LaCosse gets injured again, then I also could see the Patriots finally giving up on him and placing him on injured reserve.
The Patriots clearly like LaCosse, but it’s been a rough start to his Patriots career as he’s dealt with multiple leg injuries.
As for a fullback over quarterback Cody Kessler, I think the Patriots just realized they needed to move in a different direction offensively after James Develin and Jakob Johnson were placed on injured reserve. I thought a snippet from an ESPN feature on former Patriots running back Jonas Gray was interesting and notable as it relates to this season.
“A few weeks later, Belichick and Nick Caserio, the director of player personnel, called him in for a meeting,” Elizabeth Merrill wrote. “Belichick told him they were going in a different direction, that they didn’t need any bigger backs in 2015.”
That was the year Develin broke his leg in the preseason and the Patriots went without a fullback. Dion Lewis was the Patriots’ starting running back for six of the first seven weeks of the season. He was a better fit for the offense over players like Gray and LeGarrette Blount because he could run and catch passes out of the backfield without the aid of a fullback on the field. Lewis got hurt, then the Patriots had to lean on Blount, Brandon Bolden, James White and eventually Steven Jackson to carry the load, which was less than ideal.
All of this, to me, means the Patriots might choose to lean on White and Rex Burkhead over a player like Sony Michel down the stretch run. Michel isn’t as big of a back as Gray or Blount, but he still runs best with a fullback in front of him.
What’s your opinion on kaep?
I think Colin Kaepernick deserves a job in the NFL based on his resume. It’s pretty crazy that NFL teams have chosen not to bring him in for a workout over the last three seasons. Even though the situation isn’t ideal, I’d love to see him go through with Saturday’s scheduled workout.
It’s unlikely any head coaches or general managers will be on hand for Thursday’s tryout, but if he impresses, then perhaps it could lead to a private workout with an NFL team in front of an actual decision-maker. Kaepernick is 32 years old and has been out of the NFL for two-and-a-half seasons, but I think he could still be a quality NFL starting quarterback.
As a reporter your job is to be fair and unbiased, which I believe you are, but do you take time to be a fan? I believe you’re from NE, not sure if you were/are a Pats fan, but do you take joy in the victories like fans do? #maildoug
I believe you have to remove the fandom when you become a reporter. Maybe that makes me seem like a stick in the mud, but I take the job seriously. I will say that selfishly, I hope the Patriots win because it means I can cover playoff games and Super Bowls. It benefits me when the Patriots are successful.
I actually spent the first 11 years of my life in the Seattle area as a Seahawks and University of Washington fan. A year before I moved to New England, safety Lawyer Milloy, who was my favorite player on the Huskies, was drafted by the Patriots. So, it made it easy to root for the Patriots after arriving in Massachusetts. I also was a fan of Curtis Martin and Ty Law for whatever reason before I moved. I think I was the only kid in Edmonds, Wash., who had a Martin jersey.
I think the pats really think that N’keal harry can be a true X receiver or number 1 receiver since they traded for Sanu instead of Eman Sanders. I feel if they wanted a number 1 they would’ve gone after speedy Sanders but instead, they got a bigger slot guy. Thoughts? #maildoug
I think the main reason they traded for Mohamed Sanu over Emmanuel Sanders was the price tag. Sanu had a lower cap hit that was easier for the Patriots to absorb.
But Harry is the only prototypical X-receiver on the Patriots roster. I think it would make a lot of sense for the Patriots to use him in that role if he can emerge as a starter. He’d be more effective coming off of press coverage than wide receiver Phillip Dorsett.
Let’s go rapid fire.
@DougKyed will newhouse remain active on gamedays once Wynn returns or will one of the other OL lose their gameday slot?
My guess is the active offensive linemen will be Isaiah Wynn, Joe Thuney, Ted Karras, Shaq Mason, Marcus Cannon, Marshall Newhouse and James Ferentz.
Who catches a pass first this season: N’Keal Harry or Tom Brady?
Harry. But that’s a good question with two wide receivers who can throw in Sanu and Julian Edelman.
Why do you think Brady has been cutting the underside of his jersey sleeves? I mean, I’m sure he has a reason… but I’m so intrigued.
I’ll try to ask him about this Friday. It’s an interesting question.
Who leads the team in receiving yards the from weeks 11-17? Edelman, Sanu, or Harry? #MailDoug
Who you think we can get in draft?
It’s November, man. I have no idea.
What would reasonable expectations for N’Keal Harry be for the remainder of the year?
Maybe something like 20 catches, 300 yards and two touchdowns?
Have Heart was over rated.
True or False #maildoug
What’s your ideal Pats color rush uniform?
I have a theory that once Tom Brady retires, the Patriots will change their uniforms back to having white helmets with an updated Pat Patriot logo, and their jerseys will be the color rush design but in red.
What happens first: Tom Brady retires or the universe collapses in on itself?
Why not both?
Not much, you?
Is that your real hair? #behonest
Yes. You can tug on it like Santa’s beard as proof.
What sort of hair care products do you use ?
Is that a Gel ? a Moose ? Or Does your hair just naturally laugh at wind rain and snow ?
My current product of choice is Uppercut easy hold. It’s a “water soluable cream.”
If you’re gonna pay 6 bucks at Starbucks, have you tried the Flat White ? It’s delicious. #moneywellspent #MailDoug
I’ve found a loophole in ordering Starbucks. Please don’t tip them off. I order a grande in a venti cup. It’s the same price as the grande, but I’m pretty sure you get more coffee because they still fill it up.
Lately, I’ve been ordering a cold foam cold brew with peppermint mocha in the foam to get in the holiday spirit. You can’t order it through the app, though, which is kind of annoying. If you order a peppermint mocha cold foam cold brew through the app, they put the flavor and syrup in the coffee rather than the foam. It’s still good, but not quite as good.
Do you think what the Astros are accused of is similar in severity, or lack thereof, to Spygate?
I think it’s more severe, but I don’t claim to be an expert on baseball these days.
Thumbnail photo via Douglas DeFelice/USA TODAY Sports Images