June 25, 2024


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Will Drake May play in the Patriots’ prime-time game in Week 3?

Will Drake May play in the Patriots’ prime-time game in Week 3?

FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts – Quick thoughts and notes about the New England Patriots and the NFL:

1. May’s big call: When Hans Schroeder, the NFL’s executive vice president of media distribution, analyzed the league’s 2024 schedule on a conference call with reporters last week, he pointed to the presentation of the top three picks in the NFL draft.

“Some of the new faces — Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, Drake May — you’ll see them in the first few weeks of the season when you look at the schedule with Chicago, Washington and New England all appearing in national windows. It’s one of the benefits of moving the version of the schedule to what’s next,” Schroder said. After the draft.”

Schroder’s remarks highlight how the NFL has always been keen to promote the next generation of up-and-coming stars. Williams and the Bears visit the Texans on Sunday night in Week 2, May and the Patriots travel to face the Jets on Thursday night in Week 3, and Daniels and the Chiefs visit the Bengals on Monday night in Week 3.

This assumes, of course, that May plays at all.

First-year Patriots coach Jerrod Mayo has been clear about his plans at quarterback: He supports Bill Belichick’s philosophy that a lot of rookies aren’t ready to play right away, saying it will be an open competition for veteran Jacoby Brissett (48 career starts), and Maye, a fourth-round pick. 2022 Billy Zappe and 2024 sixth-rounder Joe Milton III to determine the best signal caller.

“They’re trying to put timelines on it, but you never know when that time will be,” he specifically told Maye, the night the Patriots drafted him.

The Bears have already decided that now is the time for Williams, after naming him the Day 1 starter. Many leaders will eventually do the same to the 23-year-old Daniels, in part because he’s an experienced NFL prospect with 55 career starts in college. Meanwhile, the 21-year-old Maye has started 26 games for North Carolina, and thus some believe he will benefit from watching behind Brissett, while others – such as ESPN analyst and… Former NFL quarterback Tim Hasselbeck – Subscribe to the philosophy that the best way to learn as a quarterback is to play.

Mayo’s decision on when to include Maye in the squad, the underlying intrigue surrounding a team that had no league appeal in prime time, will be among the most important of his young coaching career.

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The hope Maye provides for the Patriots is similar to 1993 when quarterback Drew Bledsoe — who like Maye was among the youngest candidates at the position that year — was selected No. 1 overall in the NFL draft. Then coach Bill Parcells said privately at the time: “I promise I won’t throw him to the wolves.”

Bledsoe, of course, was thrown to the wolves. The team went 5-11, but in winning its final four games showed an arc of improvement to suggest that better days were ahead for the franchise. The Patriots went 10-6 the following year and played in the Super Bowl in the 1996 season.

Bledsoe, in an interview with ESPN.com, was asked if he sees a connection between those days and the Patriots’ current setup.

“It’s different in that the Patriots have never had much success [when I got there]. They’ve been to one Super Bowl [in 1985], but other than that it was not always relevant. While it hasn’t been that long since they’ve been running the world, there’s still a lingering level of expectation from all this success. This part is a little different. But shoot, they have earned the right to choose the place of their choice; “There wasn’t much to look at last year, that’s for sure.”

“You have a new coaching staff and a new rookie quarterback, so there are also some obvious similarities for sure. I don’t think that’s crazy at all. Now it’s going to be very interesting to see where things go from here, and whether or not they do that.” “He can rebuild the championship culture and start rising again.”

Bledsoe said offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt, who was his assistant with the Bills in 2002 and 2003, will be a major asset to Maye because of his “football knowledge and attitude.”

As for his advice for Maye, Bledsoe said: “He’s going to have to have a thick skin and be patient. It’s not going to happen right away. He’s going to have to be very mentally and emotionally strong to get through some tough times — if they start him right away, you’ve got Jacoby there; They’re not in a position where they have to throw him on the field right away.

2. Brady calls NE: The Patriots currently have six of their games scheduled to air on Fox, which raises the question: Could Tom Brady, in his debut season as the network’s No. 1 analyst, call any of them?

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Fox’s games will be Sept. 15 vs. Seahawks (1 p.m. ET), Sept. 29 at 49ers (4:05 p.m. ET), Oct. 6 vs. Dolphins (1 p.m. ET) and Nov. 3 at Titans. (1 p.m. ET), Nov. 10 at the Bears (1 p.m. ET) and Nov. 17 vs. the Rams (1 p.m. ET).

Brady will always be assigned to Fox’s top game of the national window, making it unlikely he will have a large slate of New England games (if any at all) given the Patriots’ lesser-known status.

At first glance, a Patriots-Bears game (possibly Williams vs. Maye) might be the best chance for a landing, as CBS has a doubleheader that week with Eagles-Cowboys at 4:25 PM ET.

3. Judon next? Elliot Wolf, the Patriots’ newly appointed executive vice president of player personnel, has checked off items on his contractual “to-do” list, the latest of which is extending the deal of starting center and team captain David Andrews.

So perhaps the most important piece remaining is with veteran outside linebacker Matthew Judon, who is set to make a base salary of $6.5 million in the final year of his contract. That’s well below the market for a player of his calibre, and it’s hard to imagine Judon agreeing to play on those terms. Meanwhile, Godon’s return from a torn biceps tendon, which limited him to four games last season, coupled with his age (32 in August), add layers of note to any negotiation.

4. The new stage: The Patriots are scheduled to hold three voluntary organized group activities this week, which marks their move into the third phase of the offseason program. Members of the media are scheduled to be present for the first OTA on Monday. Brissett, who complemented Maye, is expected to get the starting reps at quarterback. https://x.com/MikeReiss/status/1791165872783990901

Regarding the QB dynamic, Brissett said: “The good part about our room is everyone wants to be the guy, and everyone is competing to be the guy. That’s what you want. If neither of us wants to play, it’s going to be a mess.” “We would be in bad hands in this organization.”

5. May’s business trip: Maye was one of 40 rookies who attended the NFL Players Association Premiere in Los Angeles from May 15-19, joining receivers Ja’Lynn Polk (second round) and Melton (sixth round). The purpose of this annual event is to educate players on the business side of the game and help them expand on their existing endorsements. Pro Football Hall of Fame member Kurt Warner addressed the rookie players, who also wore their game jerseys for the first time.

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6. Mayonnaise approach: Mayo is the seventh coach Brissett has played under, joining Belichick, Chuck Pagano, Frank Reich, Brian Flores, Kevin Stefanski and Ron Rivera. Brissett’s initial impression of Mayo’s coaching style was positive.

“It brings a lot of good energy,” he said. “The great thing is that you can tell he’s trying to get the players on the team to run the team. Obviously he’s the head coach and he sets the standards, but he definitely puts a lot of responsibility on us players. I like that.”

7. Goodbye late: NFL Vice President of Broadcast Planning Mike North He explained last week How many NFL teams don’t call a bye after a week of playing international games, which explains, in part, why the Patriots’ bye week falls on Dec. 8 instead of Oct. 27. It’s the last possible bye for New England, which plays Jacksonville at London’s Wembley Stadium on Oct. 20.

Of the seven decisions made when considering the Jaguars playing back-to-back international games, four teams (Vikings, Bears, Giants, Panthers) asked to say goodbye during the week upon their return to the United States, while three teams (Jets, Jaguars, Patriots).

8. They said that: “I feel like I’m gaining a lot of muscle in a lot of areas that I need [it]; Just so I can take more influence. “I feel like all my injuries came from hitting the ground, so I’ll be able to bounce back when I hit the ground.” — Tyquan Thornton, the Patriots’ third-year receiver, who opened his first two seasons on injured reserve (broken collarbone and shoulder).

9. Bill Walsh’s colleagues: The Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship has helped college coaches become familiar with NFL training camp and offseason training programs for more than 30 years, and the Patriots welcome Purdue’s TJ McCollum and former Browns/South Carolina assistant coach Montrio Hardesty this offseason as part of the program. McCollum already has a connection with a member of the organization, having played alongside linebacker Jawaun Bentley at Purdue in 2017.

10. Did you know: The Patriots are one of 12 teams this season not scheduled to face an opponent coming off the bye week. They are the only team in the NFL that does not have weeks on the schedule where they have less rest than the opposing team.