Patriots Mailbag: Which ‘Weapons’ Should Be Targeted In Offseason?

The Patriots have cap space to spend on an elite pass-catcher

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The New England Patriots are going going, back back, to Cali’ Cali.

The Patriots will travel to Los Angeles on Friday before Sunday’s game against the Chargers and Thursday night’s matchup with the Rams, staying over at UCLA in between. This is the Patriots’ first trip to Southern California since a memorable game against the Chargers in 2014.

The Patriots had spent the week in San Diego after a road loss to the Green Bay Packers. Crappy old Qualcomm Stadium (which actually still had grainy standard definition televisions in the press box) was filled equally with Patriots and Chargers fans and had the feel of a neutral site game. You could pretty easily hear the roar of Patriots fans in the open-air press box.

The Patriots trailed early but big games from Jamie Collins (two sacks), Julian Edelman (eight catches, 141 yards, TD) and Rob Gronkowski (eight catches, 87 yards, TD) propelled New England to a comeback victory.

One of the most memorable plays of the game was one that didn’t count. Cornerback Brandon Browner laid out Chargers tight end Ladarius Green, causing a pick-six by Devin McCourty that was negated when Browner (incorrectly) was flagged for an unnecessary roughness penalty.

There are some fun clips of that game here:

Some of my other personal memories: Qualcomm Stadium is the only press box I’ve seen that had an iced coffee maker. That was clutch. I also ate “Mexican food from Sombrero’s” while in San Diego. Yes, the same Sombrero’s that’s referenced in Blink-182’s “Josie.”

Let’s get into this week’s mailbag:

@MarkJohnBennett
Do you think Cam’s performance last week might have been because of the abdominal injury?

Possibly. Cam Newton’s accuracy took a cliff dive in Week 12. Here’s his week-by-week adjusted completion percentage, via PFF:

Week 1: 93.8 percent
Week 2: 81 percent
Week 3: 73.1 percent
Week 6: 70.8 percent
Week 7: 64.3 percent
Week 8: 85 percent
Week 9: 84.4 percent
Week 10: 87.5 percent
Week 11: 84.4 percent
Week 12: 52.9 percent

Newton led qualified NFL quarterbacks in accuracy from Week 8 to Week 11 with an 85 percent adjusted completion rate. So, it’s tough to say all of those weeks were flukes and Week 12 is reality. It feels like something must have caused his accuracy to drop.

Newton, by the way, is seventh among qualified QBs in adjusted completion percentage this entire season. Only Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater, Russell Wilson, Derek Carr, Josh Allen and Aaron Rodgers have completed a higher percentage of targeted passes. Newton ranks higher than guys like Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Justin Herbert, Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford and Lamar Jackson.

@KStandleyMedia
Who would you draft at 14 if the draft was tomorrow?
#MailDoug

I’m not going to lie. I have not been paying enough attention to draft coverage yet, but that’s always the case around now.

Alabama defensive tackle Christian Barmore, Michigan defensive end Kwity Paye, Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith and BYU quarterback Zach Wilson are potential fits who could be that range of the draft, according to PFF’s rankings.

@ethanlilly_28
What?s the probability you see a WR like Odell, Robison, Fuller, or Golladay in NE next season? Also do you think we should expect some less ?flashy? names like John Ross, Rashard Higgins, and Randall Cobb? #MailDoug

I think spending on a “weapon” needs to be a priority next offseason. The Patriots are flush with salary-cap space (and the cap is dropping) with wide receivers Allen Robinson, Will Fuller, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kenny Golladay and Chris Godwin and tight end Hunter Henry entering free agency.

Some of those guys like Fuller (suspension), Golladay (injury), JuJu and Godwin (relative lack of production) actually could come at a discount.

I like the idea of adding Henry and/or Smith-Schuster. The Patriots need an upgrade at wide receiver and tight end.

@Pats62
Do you think BB rebuilds the DL this off season?
Also do you think get Younger at FS?
Two areas that get Overlooked need to get Younger at.

With Guy hitting free agency and getting up there in age, I think think the Patriots need another top-end piece at defensive tackle, whether they find that player through free agency or the draft.

And I think the Patriots have figured out how to find a free safety, and it could even be slot cornerback Jonathan Jones longterm. The Patriots know a smart, rangy cornerback can play free safety. And if they haven’t drafted the right safety to do it, then they could always move a cornerback.

Let’s go rapid fire.

@thewifiwolfpack
Christmas music, yay or nay?

Yay.

Here’s a playlist of Christmas songs I dig. For fans of oldies, pop punk, “Home Alone,” some country and other stuff.

@thewifiwolfpack
Favorite Christmas movie?

“Home Alone.”

@lowfive_
Is Christmas vacation a top 3 Christmas movie?

It’s No. 2 behind “Home Alone.”

Here’s my top five:

1. “Home Alone”
2. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”
3. “The Muppet Christmas Carol”
4. “Home Alone 2”
5. “The Santa Clause”

@MWery
Does Stidham get any starts this year

Maybe if/when the Patriots get out of playoff contention.

@Kelsey_G24
Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?

“Die Hard” is a movie that takes place during Christmas and features some Christmas music just like “Lethal Weapon” and “Gremlins.” If you watch them every year around Christmas, and if your own personal nostalgia tells you they’re Christmas movies, then sure.

For me, personally, they are not.

@providence_chef
How many snaps do you think Stidham gets this week?

Zero.

@tayfieux
What sport has four letters, is played all around the world, and begins with a T?

Not gonna lie. I had to Google this one.

@chef4575
Most overrated Christmas movie? For pats: what do we think of this possibility of extending Thuney? With Gilmore set to make a small amount next season is a trade likely?

— Elf.

— We’ll see on an extension for left guard Joe Thuney. It’s not a great sign that the Patriots and Joe Thuney couldn’t reach a long-term agreement this season. The Patriots also have some potential on the offensive line with players like Michael Onwenu, Jermaine Eluemunor and Justin Herron who could help fill in.

Yes.

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