The Patriots simply wrapped up what could later be checked out as a defining week within the quarterback battle to start out the 2020 common season. This week introduced the primary set of padded practices for New England, which added a aggressive layer to the competitors between Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham, and Brian Hoyer that was missing over the early phases of coaching camp. With the preliminary wave of padded practices now within the books, this snapshot of the present competitors appears to have Stidham trending within the incorrect path. 

The second-year quarterback wasn’t notably sharp throughout group drills over the week and threw a number of interceptions. Nevertheless, that could be as a consequence of a hip harm he is reportedly coping with. In response to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Stidham was taken to an area hospital on Thursday for precautionary assessments on his higher leg, which got here again unfavorable. The 24-year-old was on the observe subject on Friday, however was restricted. Whereas Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels famous Friday that Stidham ought to be “able to roll’ the subsequent time New England hits the observe subject, the NFL Community reported that it could be a number of weeks earlier than he’s again to full power. 

If that latter piece of data involves fruition and Stidham will not be 100% for an additional few weeks, that could possibly be additional motive to present the sting on this battle to Cam Newton, who loved a robust week of observe. For the reason that membership introduced Newton aboard in July, it has been my feeling that if Stidham have been to win the beginning job, he’d want to tear it away from everybody else. Not simply go toe-to-toe with Newton and Hoyer, however depart little question. Up to now, that hasn’t occurred, and an harm limiting his effectiveness could not be extra in poor health timed for him as he tries to safe the job.

That is illuminated much more with Invoice Belichick’s feedback on Wednesday, acknowledging that the membership will ultimately want at hand the lion’s share of beginning reps to a person quarterback to raised put together him for Week 1, as an alternative of the even break up the group is presently rolling with.  

“There’s some level the place that is going to occur,” stated the pinnacle coach. “However, proper now, we wish to attempt to, like I stated, give everyone a chance to get the fundamentals, and we’re actually doing that in any respect the positions. I imply, everyone’s rotating via and we’re making an attempt to present everyone a chance to run the fundamental performs, get the fundamental fundamentals down. Yeah, after all sooner or later, we’ll must not equalize the reps – I imply, that is apparent – however we’re not there now.”

Certain, New England does not have to call the Week 1 starter proper now, however the clock is ticking as it’s just some weeks away from internet hosting the Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 13. If Stidham is spending most of his time earlier than the opener recovering from an harm, that does not put him in one of the best place to beat out Newton to a minimum of begin the season as QB1. Time is now turning into Stidham’s largest enemy. 

Listed here are another Patriots-related information in notes from the previous week:

Platoon QB state of affairs 

One of many quirkier headlines we noticed out of Foxborough this week was Invoice Belichick leaving open the opportunity of the Patriots rolling with a quarterback platoon to start out the yr, saying he would “definitely contemplate” something that he felt would assist the membership. What I feel could give this some legs is how Belichick and the Patriots have traditionally regarded on the first month of the season. Over the pinnacle coach’s tenure in Foxborough, September has been famously coined as an extension of the preseason, with the group testing and tweaking sure points of the roster earlier than totally stomping on the gasoline in October. 

With the precise preseason being scrapped, that could possibly be additional emphasised this yr, particularly beneath middle. In contrast to in years previous, when New England did not must surprise who’ll be QB1, the preseason would have been a useful instrument to see if any quarterback might separate himself throughout stay, in-game eventualities. Whereas there aren’t any exhibitions this yr, Belichick might use the primary month to just do that and create this form of platoon operation to start out. As soon as one quarterback is the clear man, they transfer ahead with him. 

This is able to additional make sense if Newton is not totally in control with the offense by the point the opener comes round. Underneath this hypothetical, you could possibly begin both Hoyer or Stidham, two quarterbacks with a historical past in New England’s system, and permit Newton to ease his means into the offense, presumably beginning off with a red-zone bundle. 

My intestine says that the Patriots go the extra conventional route and easily identify a starter, however I additionally would not rule this out completely, contemplating the unconventional begin to the common season that 2020 has introduced upon us. 

Dion Lewis was one of many extra electrical gamers to return round Foxborough over the past decade and lightening could also be placing twice because the Patriots have discovered a participant with a really comparable skillset. Working backs coach Ivan Fears in contrast J.J. Taylor, an undrafted rookie out of Arizona, to Lewis on Friday and even known as him “Little Dion.”

“Identical quickness, identical suddenness,” stated Fears throughout a videoconference with reporters. “He is a hell of a pass-catcher. Nice imaginative and prescient. There is a (expletive) of stuff that is good about him. He has to be taught to play greater than his measurement.” 

Taylor’s greatest collegiate season got here again in 2018, when he rushed for 1,434 yards and 6 touchdowns. His dashing totals dipped in 2019, however he was capable of have his greatest yr as a pass-catcher, hauling in 32 passes for 289 yards. If New England can convey him alongside like Lewis, who totaled 1,110 yards and 9 touchdowns from scrimmage throughout his ultimate yr in Foxborough, that’d be fairly the discover for a backfield that’s in search of playmakers. 

For 2020, nonetheless, Taylor could also be checked out as merely a developmental piece within the backfield who finds his time spent between the lively roster and observe squad. 

Julian Edelman has now gotten up shut and private with Cam Newton on the sphere and it appears protected to say that the veteran Patriots receiver likes what he sees. Whereas showing on The Greg Hill Present on WEEI on Friday, Edelman was requested about Newton and he has been notably impressed with the quarterback’s confidence. 

“He is positively a former MVP for a motive,” Edelman stated, as transcribed by “The man is an expert. He works his tail off. He is extraordinarily dynamic and he is obtained a captivating persona. It has been enjoyable to be round. He has a confidence about him — all quarterbacks have a confidence, however it’s just a bit totally different with Cam. It is a vibe that may gasoline you and get you in a mindset. It has been enjoyable.” 

Edelman additionally pumped up Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer, and even developmental quarterback Brian Lewerke, saying that it has been enjoyable to work with them as effectively, however his excessive reward for Newton ought to be famous right here. It is one more sturdy endorsement by the present face of New England’s offense. It additionally highlights the aura that is been round Newton since he arrived. His vitality and robust presence have definitely been felt, which is noteworthy for that place.  

It should really feel slightly like Groundhog Day for former first-round receiver N’Keal Harry. Final summer time, he handled accidents main into his rookie yr and in the end discovered himself on injured reserve to start out the common season. Harry was activated in early November and completed his first yr within the league with simply 12 catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns over seven video games performed. Quick ahead to the right here and now and Harry is as soon as once more lacking time, because the 6-foot-4, 225 pounder missed three consecutive practices to finish the week. The rationale for Harry’s absence has not been disclosed. 

In fact, any time missed over this stretch is lower than preferrred, particularly as New England tries to seek out its id on the offensive facet of the ball, particularly beneath middle. For Harry, he is checked out as a crucial piece to New England’s passing recreation and poised to start out alongside Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu. After what will be thought-about a misplaced season in 2019, having him wholesome out of the gate is vital to his improvement, and bucking the pattern of extremely drafted Patriots receivers failing to make an impression. That is value monitoring as camp progresses. 

Second-year receiver Gunner Olszewski is placing collectively a powerful camp, beginning his 2020 season off on a particularly optimistic be aware. The previous Bemidji State cornerback even obtained rave evaluations from Belichick as he sees a fairly vital bounce from his rookie season to Yr 2. 

“Gunner’s improved tremendously,” Belichick stated. “Once more, each bodily and from a soccer standpoint. He is a sensible child, he works extraordinarily arduous. He is powerful, he is very, very aggressive. He must discover ways to do lots of various things for us and he continues to work on issues that can broaden his alternatives. So it’s going to be fascinating to observe him take benefit, or attempt to make the most of these alternatives, and watch him play and see how all of that is coming collectively. 

“His general background, information, understanding, being an expert athlete, coaching, a few of his basic athletic expertise – he is refined these fairly a bit and he is a lot, a lot, a lot additional forward from the place he was final yr.”

Olszewski, who famous how far more snug this yr is in comparison with coming in as an undrafted free agent in 2019, performed in eight video games for New England earlier than touchdown on IR with ankle and hamstring accidents. Over that stretch, Olszewski hauled in simply two receptions for 34 yards whereas additionally factoring in on particular groups and within the return recreation. This yr, he’ll think about someplace behind Edelman, Sanu, and Harry at receiver and will declare punt return duties out of the gate. 

With Sony Michel and Lamar Miller nonetheless sidelined, that is opened the door for second-year operating again Damien Harris to see an elevated workload to start out camp. Thus far, it looks as if Harris, a third-round decide in 2019 out of Alabama, has made essentially the most of his alternative and obtained some reward from Invoice Belichick on Wednesday. 

“He had lots of alternative to work because the scout group operating again and do the issues that these gamers did, whether or not it’s within the operating recreation or the passing recreation,” Belichick stated of Harris’ restricted rookie season, when he logged simply 4 carries. “He is a sensible participant and he has lots of expertise that I feel we’ll be capable of make the most of. He is had a chance to get fairly a number of reps right here within the work that we have completed so far, so I feel that is helped him, however he looks as if he is in good condition and able to go. Wanting ahead to seeing him.”

Harris famous on Tuesday that this elevated workload is a chance to indicate the group that “I will be reliable,” which is one thing the place has lacked a bit in recent times. Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead have each handled accidents since their preliminary arrival to Foxborough and that has restricted the ceiling to New England’s dashing assault. If Harris, who rushed for 876 yards and 9 touchdowns throughout his ultimate season with Nick Saban at Alabama, can proceed to make optimistic strides and proceed to impress as a pass-catcher, he’ll get a chance safe a large position within the Patriots backfield even when Michel is prepared for Week 1. 

Belichick’s sons have distinctive perspective

Heading into 2020, Invoice Belichick now has each of his sons — Stephen and Brian — as positional coaches on employees with New England. Stephen Belichick has been working within the group since 2012, however started working as a positional coach beginning in 2016 and has now risen via the ranks and is probably knocking on the door of turning into the defensive coordinator one among nowadays. Brian Belichick is getting into his first season as a positional coach, working with the safeties. 

When requested about issues coming full-circle along with his children now on employees, Invoice Belichick gave a moderately fascinating reply about how Stephen and Brian have a singular perspective of the group.  

“Each Stephen [Belichick] and Brian have grown up quite a bit they usually’ve come a good distance, particularly after I’ve had an opportunity to see them their entire lives,” he stated. “However they have been round lots of soccer, they’ve seen lots of soccer. They’ve seen issues completed from a distinct perspective than different individuals. However ultimately, I do not know anyone that is aware of our soccer program higher than Stephen, who’s been in it slightly bit longer, however Brian as effectively. They’ve simply lived their entire life with this program. So all of the issues that we do, for all of the totally different causes and the way it all ties collectively and so forth, they’ve an excellent understanding of all of the issues which might be concerned and the way it all is interwoven. And that is beneficial to me as a result of they’ve a perspective of that. 

“We now have lots of good coaches on our employees, I am not saying that. These guys are very, superb coaches and really proficient they usually do a terrific job. Nevertheless it’s slightly totally different to see it from the angle that Brian has seen it from, or Steve. All of them assist, they’re all beneficial and I am glad we now have them.”

No followers at Gillette Stadium 

Gillette Stadium officers introduced this week that after consulting with the Massachusetts Reopening Advisory Board the stadium can have no followers attending video games via September as a result of present COVID-19 pandemic. Which means on the very least the Patriots house opener on Sept. 13 and the sport on Sept. 27 will likely be performed with out followers.

“Pats Nation, with the information yesterday, I can see why a few of you might be disenchanted and pissed off,” Julian Edelman stated in an Instagram message reacting to this information. “Indubitably it should be totally different this September with out each single one among you cheering us on. However do not you are concerned … we’ll be proper right here while you get again.”

Gillette Stadium officers added that the stadium will “will proceed its preparations to soundly host followers later this fall and can depend on steering from the Massachusetts Reopening Advisory Board and our group of impartial consultants. The well being and security of our gamers, coaches, employees, followers and surrounding group has and can proceed to steer our efforts.”


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