It was a great day to be at Gillette Stadium on Thursday.
The sun was shining, the weather was warm and organized team activities practices were back open to the media.
Read the full list of observations here. We’ll dive into more of what we saw in this week’s mailbag.
Watch above and read below.
What was your first impression of Mac and how he looked in practice @DougKyed?
I thought he looked like he belonged. And that’s actually significant for a rookie quarterback. I’ve seen some quarterbacks really struggle during practice, and Jones certainly wasn’t perfect. There are things he’ll still need to work on, but I wasn’t surprised that he was handling second reps at the position based on what I saw during individual drills.
Things can change, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the Patriots wound up parting with Jarrett Stidham if Jones continues to impress in practice. If Jones can handle No. 2 quarterback duties (or even beat out Cam Newton for the starting role), then the Patriots could keep Brian Hoyer as a No. 3 quarterback and cut or trade Stidham.
It’s an extremely small sample size, but Stidham was the only quarterback who misplaced a throw during 7-on-7 drills Thursday.
What running back do you see as the odd man out with Stevenson being drafted?
The only real locks at the position are James White and Damien Harris. Brandon Bolden, Sony Michel, J.J. Taylor, Tyler Gaffney and Rhamondre Stevenson make up the rest of the running back stable and will compete for two or three jobs.
Stevenson will almost certainly make the team as a fourth-round pick, but he faces steep competition from Bolden, Michel and Taylor. Gaffney currently seems like a placeholder with so many running backs (Bolden, Michel, White, Stevenson) out of OTAs.
It’s so tough to say which player will be the odd man out. I could see the Patriots trading Michel. I could see Bolden getting cut and brought back. Taylor could be slipped onto the practice squad.
I’ll say Bolden is the odd man out.
What do you see as some early strengths of the Patriots so far this offseason #MailDoug
Running back, tight end, offensive line, defensive line, outside linebacker and cornerback are all positions of strength with solid depth and quality starters.
The Patriots were built well, though. There’s no glaring weakness on their roster at this point. Linebacker could become a question mark depending on how the rest of the offseason shakes out. Bill Belichick said Thursday morning he expects Dont’a Hightower to play this season but did leave the door open for the veteran linebacker not to return from last season’s opt-out. That would leave the Patriots with Kyle Van Noy, Josh Uche, Cameron McGrone, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Terez Hall, Anfernee Jennings, Harvey Langi and Raekwon McMillan.
The Patriots could get by with that group, but they’d lack some certainty.
Do you see the patriots making any other big moves before the season starts?
I’m continuing to monitor the Julio Jones situation. I think it makes a lot of sense for the Patriots to make a trade with the Atlanta Falcons for the All-Pro wide receiver.
If the price is right (a second-round pick or less), New England should pounce.
I admit that I have forgotten that both Joejuan Williams & Harry are only 23 years old. Perspective Kyle Dugger is 25. Between the 2 players which might have the best chance to step up and be a regular contributor?
I just want to start out by saying I don’t pay that much attention to age. I don’t think Joejuan Williams or N’Keal Harry have more upside just because they’re younger than Kyle Dugger. It’s possible they could take a significant leap in Year 3 because they came into the NFL so young, but we also have a two-year sample size of them failing to live up to their draft slots.
I’d say Williams has the better chance to step up as a regularly contributor. Harry is blocked by Nelson Agholor, Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne. And if the Patriots trade for Jones, then that’s another impediment for Harry’s playing time.
Williams could still carve out a role as a future starting cornerback. Stephon Gilmore and JC Jackson will be free agents after the season, leaving the team with Jonathan Jones and Jalen Mills, both of whom are more slot or safety options, and Williams at the position.
Let’s go rapid fire.
How do you think Matt Patrica will play his role in the coaching staff?
I didn’t see a lot of hands-on work from Patricia during OTAs on Thursday. I think he’ll have more of a consultant role to start off in New England.
Hey Doug, anything outside of the pats you want to talk about today? #MailDoug
Do people know about or like the Flying Burrito Brothers? They’re one of my favorite bands. Everyone should listen to them. Even their stuff after Gram Parsons left and before Chris Hillman quit is great!
Who leads the Pats in catches; receiving yards; receiving TD’s?
Receiving yards: Agholor
Receiving touchdowns: Jonnu Smith
Any plans for the long weekend?
If the weather improves, then maybe I’ll get together with some friends to watch AEW on a projector outside Sunday night.
What?s the deal with the kicking situation?
Nick Folk is the favorite for the job, but Robert Aguayo and Quinn Nordin will try to push him this offseason.
I was just excited to get back to watching OTAs this morning.