The New England Patriots wrapped up their off-season mini-camp activities with two exercises this week before Bill Belichick gave the team an early summer vacation. While the real competition begins to rage next month at boot camp, the two working days are still eventful for New England.
Despite the competition waning, it was a very impressive start to the second year of the quarterback Mac Jones. Jones, who often stayed up late to work on his deep ball, displayed what appeared to be newly found arm strength, highlighted by 60-yard cents to Trey Nixon. After the junior season, questions have arisen about Jones’ “roof” when it comes to his arm strength, but he seems to be doing his best to put those to bed. The impeccable Mac Jones has always been the biggest clue to the Patriots’ offense as they take the next step, and early indications are that this is where they might be headed.
Now, again, it’s just a couple of practices in June, but it’s an encouraging first step. For the rest of the mini-camp details, let’s move on to this week’s #PostPulpit mailbag.
@Obese_Gorilla63 With the kind surrounding Trey Nixon, can he really contribute?
Along with Mac Jones, Tre Nixon stole the show all over the Patriots’ minicamp. The second-year receiver appeared significantly outside the hole with his starting attack and damaged a pair of highlight reel on both days. Nixon appears to be picking up where he finally left off with Mac Jones, as the two up-and-coming players have shown a strong bond in training camp. They seem to have built that relationship all season long, as Jones mentioned on Thursday that they’ve often been driving together for the past year.
So, could a seventh-round pick for 2021 shape the team and contribute? The Patriots seem poised for fierce competition along this off-season receiver depth chart, so Nixon and a 4.44 40-yard dash speed would definitely be involved. Even with Christian Wilkerson-like performances this summer, it would be hard to see him spending that much time playing on the likes of DeVante Parker, Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor. Nixon was seen riding a ball during junior camp, a turn that should help him see the field more.
Either way, it’s a pleasure to see progress after the red jersey season, especially as the Patriots may be looking for a new future for the slot next season as Jacoby Myers is set to arrive at free agency after this year.
Riley_Longhair Who would be 4 or 5 WRs to make up the 53 men’s roster?
My early predictors would be DeVante Parker, Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne, Nelson Agholor and Tyquan Thornton (with the exception of Matthew Slater). Hopefully after that, Nixon will still be on the coaching staff. The real name of the watch will be Aholor. With the Patriots in a cover crunch, Thornton’s strong summer could make them comfortable enough to move on from the veteran for a pay cut.
jd_hazel with Damien Harris, Ramondry Stevenson, James White, JJ Taylor, Pierre Strong Jr., Kevin Harris, Ty Montgomery all jostling for RB points, which players look from the outside in, and who’s more willing to trade? ?
The biggest question in the running back room is James White, as the 30-year-old will be coming out of hip surgery at the end of the season. White is a lock on roster creation, but the world where the season starts on a slate physically unable to perform is right there.
Beyond white, Kevin Harris and JJ Taylor seem to be the outsiders. The Patriots kept five players running last year, which means Harris, Stevenson, Wyatt, Strong and Montgomery are the frontrunners to exit the club. New England will likely want to keep all seven in some capacity.
Swirtzy Could Damien Harris see a huge drop in shots/lose his ‘primary’ role this year?
Damian Harris wouldn’t see a huge drop in shots if he was on the list, but there’s a chance he wouldn’t be on the list. Given the seven runners above, a strong summer from rookie Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris – combined with continued improvement from Ramonder Stephenson – could force the Patriots to tackle Harris.
The 25-year-old is ready to secure a new contract at the end of this season, and it’s hard to see the Patriots suddenly paying big money in a relegation position. If the stars line up, Harris could be a player to watch in the commercial market for the duration of training camp.
@bostoncollege5 How worried are you, if any, that Mac Jones is on his second offensive/offensive plan in two years? Especially when Bates is likely to hire a newer OC over the next few years?
I’m not worried yet, but the anxiety only gets longer if they keep going this way. The hope is clearly that the new “simplified” attack is a good foundation to build on for years and build continuity with Jones.
@win112346 Which UDFA will make the list if any?
My early favorite is Labrian Ray in Alabama. Spots across the defensive line are wide open at the moment and Ray is entering the league in a typical NFL setting.
Swirtzy What’s the roof and floor for the team this year?
I would say the ceiling is a playoff win, and the floor is nine wins.
According to my calculations, the Celtics are, in fact, the balls currently.
CynicalPatsFan Was this my last chance to submit a legitimate question?
Yes this has been. I bet you wish you could take advantage of it.
KiddinLikeJason If the sun is hot why is space cold?
Jared, this has been on my mind for years. Why is the core the hottest part of the Earth but farthest from the sun, while the crust is the coldest and closest? Why does snow cover the longest and closest thing to the sun on Earth? Make it reasonable.
That’s it for this week’s #PostPulpit mailbag. If you have questions you’d like answered next week, post them on Twitter with #PostPulpit! Make sure to follow Tweet embed And the Tweet embed like that!