Pats OTA Notes & Discussion

RedOctober3829

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Takeaways from today from various writers:
--Mac Jones the clear #1
--TT looks great
--Deep safety was a rotation between Peppers, Phillips, Mills, and Dugger
--Calvin Anderson and Bill Murray got a lot of reps
--Joe Judge was very hands on with ST
--Malik Cunningham was working with the WR's and made a great over the middle diving catch
--Ty Montgomery looked like the clear leader for the 3rd down RB job
--Demario Douglas had a few nice catches
--Gesicki and HH on the field at the same time a lot
--BOB in full command of the offense. Offense looked efficient and up tempo.
--Riley Reiff rotated between LT and RT with Anderson rotation in at LT and McDermott on the right
--Mapu took a ton of reps on defense and looked fast, fluid, and explosive
--Lots of 2 deep safety looks
--Kevin Harris looks like next man up at RB1 with Rham not participating
 

rodderick

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View: https://twitter.com/ByMarkDaniels/status/1663953133708378124


@ByMarkDaniels

Patriots OTAs 11v11s Mac Jones 11/11 Bailey Zappe 8/9, INT Trace McSorley 3/5, INT 7v7s Mac Jones 3/3 Bailey Zappe 2/3 Trace McSorley 1/2
Couldn't help but look into how it went last year.

View: https://twitter.com/ByMarkDaniels/status/1534230535626686464?s=20


Training camp stats for full pads practices are already meaningless without context, these are pure click bait.
 

Average Game James

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BaseballJones

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The grass/turf issue is an excellent point. Hard to take anything that they do in the name of “player safety” seriously without them being dedicated to having teams compete on the safest possible surface.

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/36243906/nflpa-new-injury-data-shows-grass-significantly-safer-turf
How should they handle it in indoor stadiums? Not every place has the technology of the U of Phoenix field that literally rolls in a grass field.

I’m not disagreeing with your point. Just raising an issue.
 

Ed Hillel

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Mac Jones was 11-12, yay!

Mac Jones on that 1 was intercepted by Myles Bryant. BOOOOOO.
 

cornwalls@6

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I love Slater, but hard to make the argument that less returns/high speed collisions isn't a net positive for player safety. The playing surface issue is legit, but separate. I'm not sure I like eliminating the most exciting play in the game , or at least making it a much less frequent occurrence. And I definitely understand ST guys worrying that they are being rendered obsolete. But it seems indisputable that this will cut down on injuries, at least to some degree.
 

Mystic Merlin

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I love Slater, but hard to make the argument that less returns/high speed collisions isn't a net positive for player safety. The playing surface issue is legit, but separate. I'm not sure I like eliminating the most exciting play in the game , or at least making it a much less frequent occurrence. And I definitely understand ST guys worrying that they are being rendered obsolete. But it seems indisputable that this will cut down on injuries, at least to some degree.
There has been some disagreement expressed (see: Harbaugh, Reid) about whether it’ll actually reduce problematic hits, as NFL kickers are so good that the premise - based entirely on college data - that fewer kicks will be returned isn’t a slam dunk. I guess we will see.

As for Slater, his broader point that we should be skeptical of any stated effort by the NFL to improve player safety (and by extension not take our eye off the things they don’t bother doing to protect player health) is also hard to dispute.
 

cornwalls@6

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There has been some disagreement expressed (see: Harbaugh, Reid) about whether it’ll actually reduce problematic hits, as NFL kickers are so good that the premise - based entirely on college data - that fewer kicks will be returned isn’t a slam dunk. I guess we will see.

As for Slater, his broader point that we should be skeptical of any stated effort by the NFL to improve player safety (and by extension not take our eye off the things they don’t bother doing to protect player health) is also hard to dispute.
That’s fair. I’m interested to see how it actually plays out on the field as well. Feels like there’s extreme reactions to a lot of these safety rules at first, and then they pretty quickly get integrated, and forgotten. And yes, healthy skepticism always a sound idea with this league. Though I will also say, there is a tendency on the part of many to find some nefarious, ulterior motive to everything the league does. Just don’t see one here. Fewer returns= fewer collisions = fewer injuries. Doesn’t solve every safety issue, but seems reasonably well intentioned to me.
 
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Cellar-Door

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How should they handle it in indoor stadiums? Not every place has the technology of the U of Phoenix field that literally rolls in a grass field.

I’m not disagreeing with your point. Just raising an issue.
I mean... if you can't afford real grass for your multi-billion dollar money printing factory sell up and go buy and NHL team or something.
 

dirtynine

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I can’t believe we don’t yet have the tech to either grow real grass inside, or make an artificial or hybrid surface that’s exactly as good or better than grass for safety and feel. Are surfaces still improving? Going from neon green astroturf to FieldTurf was a big improvement, but that was 20 years ago. At this point there should be some kind of futuristic organic-polymer-enhanced real grass on steroids bullshit for exactly this purpose.
 
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There has been some disagreement expressed (see: Harbaugh, Reid) about whether it’ll actually reduce problematic hits, as NFL kickers are so good that the premise - based entirely on college data - that fewer kicks will be returned isn’t a slam dunk. I guess we will see.

As for Slater, his broader point that we should be skeptical of any stated effort by the NFL to improve player safety (and by extension not take our eye off the things they don’t bother doing to protect player health) is also hard to dispute.
This rule could reduce the amount of kicks banged deep into the end zone right? Which is, to me, the ultimate boring play on kickoffs (but also the safest). I feel like we'll see more squibs or high pop-ups that force returners to make a choice and at least a catch. Some kicker will come up with a knuckleball or something that'll really gum things up.

Fully agree generally with Slater's comments. I really hope this guy stays engaged post-retirement in addition to whatever he plans to do with his ministry.
 
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I mean... if you can't afford real grass for your multi-billion dollar money printing factory sell up and go buy and NHL team or something.
FWIW, that Arizona field was a shit show during this year's Super Bowl. Grass can suck too. Hard to believe they can't engineer a safer surface than grass.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Bedard is becoming unreadable because nearly everything he writes is full of grievance towards BB now.

Here's a rare exception:

https://www.bostonsportsjournal.com/2023/06/01/bedard-the-most-encouraging-thing-i-saw-at-the-patriots-first-practice

I'm not going to undersell it, what O'Brien showed on the first day was new life for a tried-and-true offense. It's what I've been hoping for, for a while now. In the back of my mind, I always wanted Josh McDaniels to find some college offensive wiz, bring that coach in, turn over the Patriots offense to him during the offseason and say, 'Hey, put your spin on this.' It never happened, even in Vegas. As we've seen with Bill Belichick and the defense, coaches find comfort in what they've done for years and don't love trying new things that could put the team behind.

There's no question that O'Brien has taken what he learned at the Patriots — that was his base when he went to Houston — and then mixed it with his experiences at Penn State, with Deshaun Watson and then Alabama.

The goal seems to be to marry the best parts of the traditional Patriots offense, and blend with some of the college concepts that utilize space to, often, get easy yardage. Like slip screens and wide spacing with the targets — which was a huge issue last year.

The Patriots tried to install some of these concepts last year — there's a rationale to it so that's why I did not dismiss it out of hand — but the biggest issue was that the coaches had zero background in teaching the offensive concepts. That was always my biggest issue why I doubted it was going to work: who's coaching the position coaches, who are then coaching the players? It was like the blind leading the blind leading the blind. And that's how you end up with a bad offense that killed the team.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Reiss had a couple of interesting notes this morning.

https://www.espn.com/blog/new-england-patriots/post/_/id/4826969/mac-jones-aims-to-earn-the-respect-of-patriots-after-rough-2022-season

3. More motion: The Patriots used motion at the snap on only 106 plays last season, which ranked 28th in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information. For comparison, the Dolphins led the NFL with 456 of those plays. Pre-snap motion can put defenders in conflict. How Bill O'Brien, who rejoined the Patriots as the offensive coordinator, integrates more of it into the attack with players like Thornton bears watching.
Wasn't a "rap" on Mac that he was good at pre-snap reads and struggled with post-snap reads? Taking motion out of the offense last year cannot have helped him.

5. Gesicki’s role: At one point in Wednesday’s practice, a period was devoted to inside running on one field, which meant receivers and defensive backs worked on the other field. While most of the tight ends were part of the inside-run drill, Mike Gesicki instead worked with the receivers. Gesicki is listed on the roster as a tight end, but that period of practice seemed to reflect how he could actually be considered more of a receiver.
Whatever they call him, Gesicki is going to be used as a big WR. I would not be surprised if he is the primary slot guy and leads the team in catches. He's obviously not a Welker/Amendola/Edelman type, but he can use his greater size.

Also:
2. Tyquan’s goal: Wiry second-year receiver Tyquan Thornton, who missed the first four games of last season with a broken collarbone, said one of his goals this offseason has been to add strength and weight to help make it through the 17-game season. The 6-foot-2, 182-pound speedster also wants to be “more strategic with routes” with the idea of “selling every route like it’s a ‘go’ ball.” After an early dropped pass, he had one of the plays of the day Wednesday, getting behind the defense on a double move and hauling in a deep delivery from Jones that drew audible praise from the offensive coaching staff.
Hard to read too much into a few OTAs, but at least he seems to be doing what he should be doing at this stage. I trust O'Brien to find ways to make use of Thortnon's speed and quickness more than I trusted Patricia to do the same.
 

Cellar-Door

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Eddie Jurak

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Not bad, but I did notice the "Bill and the Defense don't try new things" which is insanely wrong. Even when Bedard is being vaguely correct he has to be incredibly wrong about something else because he's a hack.
I at least used to like Bedard, but, yeah. The defense played better than its personnel last year - what else can you ask for from a coaching staff?
 

Cellar-Door

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I at least used to like Bedard, but, yeah. The defense played better than its personnel last year - what else can you ask for from a coaching staff?
But also, like the whole trademark of Bill's defenses for years was that he loved to be versatile... league going 4-3 so 3-4 personnel undervalued... 3-4 it is.. we want to play press man but don't have the corners for it... zone time. In recent years.. our LBs are too slow.. 3 safeties.
 

Super Nomario

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It’s probably why they went out and drafted Pop Douglas and brought in Malik Cunningham to try him at receiver. They’re going to try to get athletes the ball in space and let them make plays instead of everything having to be schemed up.
Don't you need to scheme things up to get athletes the ball in space? The thing you don't have to scheme up is if your receiver can beat the man across from him.
 

rodderick

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I expect Tyquan to shine in an environment without pads, no safety coming down to hammer him over the middle and no corners jamming him at the line. I think it's silly to extrapolate all that much from that, seems to me like people are comparing this OTA session to last year's training camp, and not last year's OTAs (where Tre Nixon was smoking people deep as if he were prime Desean Jackon). Don't recall a lot of concerns after 2022's OTAs because they are basically designed for athletic receivers to look good and the ball to never hit the ground. Is there a single team with negative OTA reactions and coverage right now? All I read is how Justin Fields looks great, Anthony Richardson is more polished than people believed him to be, Bryce Young is dazzling the Panthers beat, etc.Training camp will give us a much better indication of the differences in process and results O'Brien is bringing the team.
 

macal

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I expect Tyquan to shine in an environment without pads, no safety coming down to hammer him over the middle and no corners jamming him at the line. I think it's silly to extrapolate all that much from that, seems to me like people are comparing this OTA session to last year's training camp, and not last year's OTAs (where Tre Nixon was smoking people deep as if he were prime Desean Jackon). Don't recall a lot of concerns after 2022's OTAs because they are basically designed for athletic receivers to look good and the ball to never hit the ground. Is there a single team with negative OTA reactions and coverage right now? All I read is how Justin Fields looks great, Anthony Richardson is more polished than people believed him to be, Bryce Young is dazzling the Panthers beat, etc.Training camp will give us a much better indication of the differences in process and results O'Brien is bringing the team.
I agree that there may be some people confusing this years OTA's with last years training camp. I admit to being one of them. After the first couple of days of this year's OTA's, I was thinking that it was refreshing to hear some good things, rather than the negativity from last year. It did take me a couple of days before I realized that it was training camp last year that had the negativity. I'm a very casual follower of OTA's and training camp, so I'm sure those that follow it closely would not make the same mistake, however, I suspect there are other casual fans out there that did, or still are, making that mistake.
 

rodderick

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I agree that there may be some people confusing this years OTA's with last years training camp. I admit to being one of them. After the first couple of days of this year's OTA's, I was thinking that it was refreshing to hear some good things, rather than the negativity from last year. It did take me a couple of days before I realized that it was training camp last year that had the negativity. I'm a very casual follower of OTA's and training camp, so I'm sure those that follow it closely would not make the same mistake, however, I suspect there are other casual fans out there that did, or still are, making that mistake.
I've listened to a lot of people have this take. Lazar was talking about how much more organized they were and how refreshing it was not to have Andrews there chewing people out and directing practice because people didn't know what they were doing and I was thinking "yeah, that was training camp, not OTAs". I do think you can get some nuggets of info from this session, such as Marte Mapu lining up next to Bentley and getting reps with the "first team", or Jalen Mills playing safety, all things that give us an indication of how the coaching staff sees those players but the offensive performance itself is really close to meaningless.

Now, if they look good and improved in training camp I'll be excited, as I do believe those practices are valuable, just like I was worried last year with the unanimous opinion that they looked like garbage.
 

Commander Shears

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Solid day for Gonzalez “against the offensive regulars”, and two lines later “lot of run for rookie WRs with top guys out” doesn’t make a ton of sense to me.
 

BaseballJones

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I know it’s just OTAs (and then it will just be training camp and then just preseason games), but I think we may be underestimating just how big of a difference it will make to have O’Brien running the offense. I think we will look back on 2022 and see that the way BB handled the offensive coaching was just absolutely catastrophic. I know some people think that now but I think it will be glaringly obvious to everyone that they just butchered that whole situation.

Thankfully it was just one season.
 

rodderick

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I know it’s just OTAs (and then it will just be training camp and then just preseason games), but I think we may be underestimating just how big of a difference it will make to have O’Brien running the offense. I think we will look back on 2022 and see that the way BB handled the offensive coaching was just absolutely catastrophic. I know some people think that now but I think it will be glaringly obvious to everyone that they just butchered that whole situation.

Thankfully it was just one season.
That's funny, I think this fanbase and NE media have done nothing but elevate Bill O'Brien to god's gift to coaching and the Patriots' ultimate savior since the move was announced. Never seen an OC change received with such hype, it's like he means more to the team than Belichick judging by fan reaction.
 

Jimbodandy

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That's funny, I think this fanbase and NE media have done nothing but elevate Bill O'Brien to god's gift to coaching and the Patriots' ultimate savior since the move was announced. Never seen an OC change received with such hype, it's like he means more to the team than Belichick judging by fan reaction.
This isn't about O'Brien being the football equivalent of John Wooden. It's about not having Forrest Gump and Jacques Clouseau running a pro offense into the field turf. They could replace the QB with you this year, and it would probably be an improvement over the abject ineptitude of last season.
 

tims4wins

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This isn't about O'Brien being the football equivalent of John Wooden. It's about not having Forrest Gump and Jacques Clouseau running a pro offense into the field turf. They could replace the QB with you this year, and it would probably be an improvement over the abject ineptitude of last season.
This. If I had the choice of keeping the 2022 staff in tact and trading Mac for 2010 Tom Brady vs. trading the staff and keeping Mac, I think I am trading the staff. But that could be a very wrong take.
 

rodderick

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This. If I had the choice of keeping the 2022 staff in tact and trading Mac for 2010 Tom Brady vs. trading the staff and keeping Mac, I think I am trading the staff. But that could be a very wrong take.
That's absolutely insane in my view, hence why I think the OC change has been the furthest thing from underrated.
 

ponch73

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This. If I had the choice of keeping the 2022 staff in tact and trading Mac for 2010 Tom Brady vs. trading the staff and keeping Mac, I think I am trading the staff. But that could be a very wrong take.
Would love to be your trading partner anytime ...

Mac for 2010 Tom Brady? That's like picking Sam Bowie, with hindsight, over Michael Jordan in the 1984 draft.

Yes, the 2022 offensive staff was a disappointment but Mac Jones is on track to end up as a footnote in NFL history.
 
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Eck'sSneakyCheese

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2010 Tom Brady would have murdered Matt Patricia and Joe Judge in game on national tv. Yeah, the offense would have been better with an experienced QB calling the shots. We had two inept offensive minds and an entitled brat QB who complained instead of doing anything at all productive.That is going to go down as one of the all time worst decisions in coaching history.
Anyway…
On to 2023!
High hopes for Mapu and Thornton
 

Bowhemian

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2010 Tom Brady would have murdered Matt Patricia and Joe Judge in game on national tv. Yeah, the offense would have been better with an experienced QB calling the shots. We had two inept offensive minds and an entitled brat QB who complained instead of doing anything at all productive.That is going to go down as one of the all time worst decisions in coaching history.
Anyway…
On to 2023!
High hopes for Mapu and Thornton
Aside from seeing him whining on TV a couple times, what evidence do you have to back up the bolded? You may be 100% right, but I didn't hear or read anything like that.
 

DJnVa

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That's funny, I think this fanbase and NE media have done nothing but elevate Bill O'Brien to god's gift to coaching and the Patriots' ultimate savior since the move was announced. Never seen an OC change received with such hype, it's like he means more to the team than Belichick judging by fan reaction.
I mean this with no animosity at all, but has there been a single Patriots move or bit of news you've liked since Brady left? More to the point--has there been any Pats news that you've seen other folks react positively too that didn't make you feel the need to counter their take?
 

BaseballJones

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Personally, I'm encouraged by what I'm hearing from OTAs. I'm getting more and more excited about this upcoming season, though I don't want it to get here too fast. I want to enjoy the summer first.
 

Eck'sSneakyCheese

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Aside from seeing him whining on TV a couple times, what evidence do you have to back up the bolded? You may be 100% right, but I didn't hear or read anything like that.
The fact he went around the coaching staff is a really bad look too. I get why he did it. There’s just some things you don’t do as a pro and this organization has been better than that. All his whining and crying did was make the separation wider. Complaining in the fashion he did was far from productive. Or effective. Hoping he’s learned a lot from last year. Hope the whole team has
 

lexrageorge

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The fact he went around the coaching staff is a really bad look too. I get why he did it. There’s just some things you don’t do as a pro and this organization has been better than that. All his whining and crying did was make the separation wider. Complaining in the fashion he did was far from productive. Or effective. Hoping he’s learned a lot from last year. Hope the whole team has
I've never completely bought into the narrative that Mac "went around the coaching staff". I know it was played up in the media when it was noted that he talked to his former coaches at Alabama, but it's not uncommon for NFL players to stay in touch with their old coaches from time to time and pick their brains. The reporting was never precise enough or well sourced enough to make a conclusion as to whether Mac was simply "picking the brains" of his former coaches, or whether he was truly complaining to his old coaches and subsequently making those complaints public in an attempt to undermine Patricia/Judge. Or whether the entire story was planted by someone in locker room or coaching staff that simply hated Mac Jones.

It may be that Mac is nothing more than an entitled crybaby who will be nothing more than a "footnote in the NFL". But it's also true that the coaching staff royally fucked up big time by not getting out a goal line play call in time, not once but IIRC on several occasions. I remember Charlie Weiss talking on the radio once (and this was before last season even started) where he mentioned that as an offensive coordinate, you not only have to have the current play ready, you need to already be preparing for the subsequent play call as well because there is just not enough time otherwise. The fact that the team consistently failed at doing so means that there were serious problems that had nothing to do Mac Jones.
 
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