FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Fast-hit ideas and notes across the New England Patriots and NFL:
1. Rating prime wants: When the Patriots’ season ended with a 47-17 playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills wherein they could not drive a punt, the knee-jerk response was that the crew’s offseason priorities ought to seem like this: Protection. Protection. And extra protection.
Now a month eliminated, with extra time for reflection and research, it nonetheless holds true to a level.
However as Invoice Belichick and his workers begin placing items in place for 2022, the potential of younger defenders elevating into bigger roles performs a consider figuring out what positions have the best want.
Inside linebacker Cameron McGrone (2021 fifth spherical), exterior linebacker Ronnie Perkins (2021 third spherical), cornerback Shaun Wade (2021 rookie commerce acquisition) and security Joshuah Bledsoe (2021 sixth spherical) are amongst these falling into the dialogue.
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Right here is one view of the crew’s position-based precedence record:
Inside linebacker: Raekwon McMillan was approaching in 2021 coaching camp earlier than tearing his ACL, however counting on him as a part of the younger-and-faster purpose is dangerous, based mostly on damage historical past. Starters Dont’a Hightower and Ja’Whaun Bentley are each scheduled free of charge company.
Cornerback: J.C. Jackson‘s free-agent standing is arguably the crew’s prime query. If he winds up elsewhere, it is Jalen Mills, Jonathan Jones after which uncertainty.
Large receiver: Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne have confirmed worthy of being a part of the long-term plan, with Nelson Agholor getting into the ultimate season of his two-year deal. Including a high-upside pass-catcher to assist quarterback Mac Jones could be very best.
Offensive line: The Bengals’ points in Tremendous Bowl LVI serve up a reminder of the significance of the road; re-signing Ted Karras and Trent Brown would go a good distance towards solidifying this group.
Line of defense: Christian Barmore has high-end potential, and with Lawrence Guy, Davon Godchaux, Byron Cowart & Co., any funding could be extra with 2023 and past in thoughts.
Security: Kyle Dugger and Adrian Phillips return as a part of a promising mixture, and if Devin McCourty re-signs, the concept could be to groom his eventual successor because the quarterback of the protection.
Operating again: A real third-down possibility (James White is a free agent) is the void, and a potential improve at fullback.
Quarterback: Brian Hoyer (free agent) was a strong mentor to Jones, and with the offensive teaching workers in transition, his presence has added significance.
Kicker: Evan McPherson‘s glorious rookie season in Cincinnati highlighted the worth of a dependable kicker, and the Patriots have one in veteran Nick Folk, so long as he re-signs, giving Quinn Nordin extra developmental time.
Tight finish: After spending large to get Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry final offseason, getting extra out of Smith is the precedence.
Exterior linebacker: Huge money/draft investments have already been made with Matthew Judon, Kyle Van Noy, Josh Uche, Chase Winovich, Anfernee Jennings and Perkins.
2. Draft plan: How badly the Patriots want a cornerback might be contingent on what occurs with Jackson in free company, and I took notice that ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper charges it as one of many deeper spots within the draft together with edge rusher. “For those who say, ‘Who’s in my prime 10 [at corner]?’ it is arduous to separate the seventh man from the fifteenth,” Kiper stated on the entertaining “First Draft” podcast with Todd McShay and Discipline Yates. Kiper added receiver in that group, saying “each slot and outdoors goes to be a place that creates some alternatives [into] Day 3 as effectively.” For those who’re searching for quarterbacks and operating backs, nonetheless, Kiper and McShay say this 12 months is leaner.
3. Wolf’s position: When the Patriots introduced final week that faculty scouting director Matt Groh was promoted to director of participant personnel, one of many common questions on social media was what it means for scouting advisor Eliot Wolf, who was usually seen with former director of participant personnel Dave Ziegler at video games final season. At this level, the reply appears to be establishment. Wolf, the son of Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame government Ron Wolf, continues to be with the Patriots, and 2022 could be his third season with the crew. He interviewed for GM openings in Chicago and Minnesota this offseason, and needs to be a candidate for different openings subsequent 12 months as effectively. So for now, he groups with Groh, professional scouting director Steve Cargile and a soon-to-be-named faculty scouting coordinator (presumably nationwide scout Camren Williams) atop the Patriots’ personnel division.
Josh McDaniels 📝🗞🔎
For these desirous about a better look. pic.twitter.com/urmt1ZsLpo
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) February 16, 2022
4. McDaniels’ notice: Josh McDaniels penned a cultured, considerate thank-you notice to Patriots followers in Wednesday’s Boston Globe. That he selected the Globe to take action, and never social media, wasn’t an accident. McDaniels is perhaps simply 45, however he is an previous soul in that regard. I referred to as the Globe promoting division to attempt to get a greater really feel for a way a lot an advert like which will price, and was advised by one consultant a ballpark of $20,000.
5. Wynn checks in: Beginning left deal with Isaiah Wynn did not play within the playoff loss to the Payments due to hip and ankle accidents. Wynn was at Gillette Stadium final week understanding, serving up a reminder that gamers’ recoveries generally prolong effectively into the offseason. His presence was probably a part of the usual offseason medical check-ins for gamers getting back from damage.
6. Workers taking form: The extra time passes, the sensation from this reporter is that it is much less probably the Patriots’ teaching workers has any extra main additions. If that is the case, that is how I view the core of the workers, with some particular roles/titles/tasks nonetheless to be decided.
Offense: Nick Caley, Matt Patricia, Joe Choose, Troy Brown, Vinnie Sunseri, Billy Yates, Tyler Hughes
Protection: Steve Belichick, Jerod Mayo, DeMarcus Covington, Mike Pellegrino, Brian Belichick, Ross Douglas
Particular groups: Cameron Achord, Joe Houston
7. Mind drain: Invoice Belichick has misplaced some helpful coaches in recent times, and that “mind drain” has been a well-liked media-based matter of debate in New England. It is perhaps actual by the point video games begin to be performed. However for now, one level straightforward to miss is that Belichick continues to be turning to helpful assets comparable to Ernie Adams and Dante Scarnecchia on a part-time foundation within the offseason — for prospect and scheme analysis, amongst different issues. They continue to be linked to the crew, and soon-to-be-retired operating backs coach Ivan Fears is prone to as effectively.
8. Restricted free brokers: The Patriots will quickly should determine whether or not to tender their three restricted free brokers — Meyers, returner Gunner Olszewski and fullback Jakob Johnson. Groups can tender at three ranges — proper of first refusal (projected $2.9 million, per Over the Cap), second spherical (projected $3.9 million) and first spherical ($5.5 million).
If the Patriots elect the suitable of first refusal tender, and the participant is signed to a suggestion sheet by one other crew, New England would obtain draft-pick compensation based mostly on the place the participant entered the league. However since Meyers, Olszewski and Johnson entered as undrafted gamers, the Patriots would not obtain any compensation in that state of affairs.
So it would not be shocking if the membership pursues extensions within the coming weeks (Meyers and Johnson are each represented by deal-making agent Drew Rosenhaus). And if that does not work out, Meyers tasks to a second-round tender, with Olszewski and Johnson doubtlessly not getting tendered in any respect.
9. Props for Pastime: One leftover Tremendous Bowl nugget with a New England twist — Marion Pastime, who simply concluded his first season as Bengals defensive position coach, performed for the Patriots from 1990 to 1992 below head coaches Rod Rust and Dick MacPherson. It is at all times attention-grabbing to notice which coaches generate “buzz” within the media, and Pastime — whose unit was dominant at instances in shutting down the Rams’ operating recreation — has seemingly flown below the radar.
10. Do you know? Belichick enters his twenty third season as Patriots coach in 2022, tying Chuck Noll (Steelers) and Steve Owen (Giants) for the fifth-longest tenure with one crew as a head coach, trailing solely George Halas (40, Bears), Curly Lambeau (29, Packers), Tom Landry (29, Cowboys) and Don Shula (26, Dolphins).