Week 4 of the NFL season is upon us, and it will see the New England Patriots take on the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The biggest story is that Mac Jones missed out on the contest, but there are plenty of others worth mentioning as well.
Let’s use this forum right here to go over some of the stories that came up over the last week that we didn’t have time to cover elsewhere – welcome to this week’s meeting. Sunday Patriots Notes.
The Patriots seem optimistic about the prospect of Mac Jones. The Patriots made several moves Saturday, including sending offensive tackle Yodny Cdonde to injured reserve with a thumb injury. Cfit will now miss at least four games on IR, per NFL rules.
Interestingly, the team also decided not to send the aforementioned Mac Jones to the reserve list. The second-year QB suffered a high ankle sprain against the Baltimore Ravens last week that will reportedly keep him out of several games. So injured reserve seemed like a realistic possibility, especially after he was scratched from the game against the Packers on Friday, but no such move has been made.
Interpreting this decision from the outside, it appears the Patriots are optimistic about Jones’s prospects. If they believed he would miss four games no matter what, they probably would have freed up the roster spot to bolster his depth, either at quarterback or elsewhere.
However, without such a move, they may think Jones will be able to return sooner than originally planned.
Bailey Zappe is now just an instant away from seeing meaningful action. With Mac Jones gone for the foreseeable future, the Patriots’ quarterback depth chart now consists of Brian Hoyer as the backup starter and Bailey Zappe as QB3. A fourth-round draft pick by the Patriots earlier this year, Zappe is now next in line should something happen to Hoyer.
Obviously, that’s not ideal given his lack of experience, but the Patriots like what they’ve seen from him so far.
“He’s done a really good job, mentally and physically, making progress since the spring when we got him,” quarterbacks coach Joe Judge told reporters earlier this week. “He is very, very committed. He’s done a great job on the sidelines with us now, whether it’s at home or away from home, just sitting there and participating in the game, and then communicating throughout the game with the things that he’s seeing. Or, if a problem arose, how would you fix it?
“That’s all you can really do right now, practice and get better. He has done everything we are asking of him right now. So in terms of when he comes into the game, you know, we’ll see. I’m not going to speak for anyone else, but I like the way he has worked and is preparing, and the progress he is making.”
While he has only been in the league for five months, the youngster has already had some sizable opportunities. Not only did Hoyer miss time this summer, Zappe also appeared in all three preseason contests and played a total of 119 offensive snaps, by far the most among any quarterback on the list. He completed 45 of 71 pass attempts (63.4%) for 462 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
Sam Roberts could be making his debut. Mac Jones is the Patriots’ biggest absence against the Packers, but not the only one: Starting defensive tackle Lawrence Guy is also out of the tournament after suffering a shoulder injury last week against Baltimore. With the veteran unable to go, New England could decide to bolster the depth of their interior line by giving Sam Roberts a chance.
The sixth-round rookie from Northwest Missouri State has been a healthy scratch for the Patriots’ three games so far this season. However, considering Guy’s injury situation, the team could at least dress him up to improve his depth at the position.
Aside from Guy and Roberts, New England also has Christian Barmore, Davon Godchaux, Deatrich Wise Jr., Daniel Ekuale and Carl Davis Jr. on its active team at the job. Also, LaBryan Ray, more on him in a sec, and Jeremiah Pharms Jr. are on the practice squad. However, with neither promoted, Roberts might have a chance for once.
Tyquan Thornton will be eligible to come off injured reserve soon. Speaking of rookie players who haven’t yet made an impact this regular season, second-round wide receiver Tyquan Thornton remains on injured reserve after breaking his collarbone in preseason. However, he will be eligible to come off the list next week.
An immediate return seems unlikely given the nature of his ailment, but there is a realistic chance he could return before New England’s Week 10 bye. According to his position coach, Ross Douglas, Thornton is working hard on his comeback.
“One thing about Tyquan: He really loves football,” Douglas told reporters earlier this week. “That’s the number one thing. When you are close to him, you feel the energy. He loves soccer and he wants to be really good.
“He’s doing a great job with our strength staff and our recovery staff. Since it’s been here, they’ve bought it. He did a good job picking up the playbook, getting to play in a lot of different places and learning from the veterans that we have in our room. I expect no less for when I return. He’s injured, but it’s not like he can’t improve during this time while he’s out. He has to control what he can control… He will be fine.”
Christian Barmore’s impact extends beyond the stat sheet. Three games into his sophomore season, defensive tackle Christian Barmore has yet to put up impressive numbers. The former second-round draft pick has recorded just five tackles and one sack. Yet you can still feel his impact on the New England defense: Barmore is among the most double teams interior D linemen in the league this season, according to ESPN’s Seth Walder, creating 1-on-1 opportunities for teammates elsewhere.
New England has been hurt quite a bit through penalties. The Patriots have some cleanup to do in the penalty department. In each of their games there have been some calls against them at the worst possible time.
In this particular case, the perception seems to be the reality. The following chart shared by Anthony Reinhard on Twitter, after all, shows that New England has been hurt quite a bit by committing fouls at bad times:
Teams most assisted by penalties (in net terms) this year:
1) CHI (+2.7 expected points/game)
2) HOU (+2.6)
3) IAS (+2.6)
4) ATL (+2.4)
29) IPS (-2.6)
30) SF (-2.6)
31) TUE (-3.0)
32) DAL (-3.7)
—Anthony Reinhard (@reinhardNFL) September 27, 2022
The Patriots rank 27th in the league-wide comparison, having lost nearly two expected net points per game due to penalties. In total, the team has been penalized 13 times, and some of those penalties created unfavorable away situations. While New England has also benefited from nine infractions from opponents, the Patriots’ flags have come in comparatively worse places.
For a team focused on not shooting itself in the foot, those mental lapses are an issue that needs to be addressed and improved.
The practice team’s injuries begin to pile up. With Mac Jones and Lawrence Guy out, New England’s injured list for the game against Green Bay is remarkable. However, the team’s problems in this area extend beyond the 53-man roster: Several members of the practice squad are also dealing with ailments.
The latest is running back JJ Taylor, who suffered a foot/ankle injury on Friday according to a report by ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss. If Taylor is forced to miss time, it would not only put more stress on a running back depth chart that no longer has Ty Montgomery, he will miss at least two more games (at Green Bay, vs. Detroit) on injured reserve. , but it will also be reduced. the pack on the practice team even more.
Offensive lineman Bill Murray, defensive lineman LaBryan Ray and linebacker Cameron McGrone have been absent from media practice portions recently. The belief is that all of them are also dealing with some form of injury.
The Patriots have the 14th exemption claim priority. As of Tuesday, the NFL changed its waiver claim order. Unlike teams listed by their 2022 draft slots, the rankings are now based on the current record and will be updated weekly going forward; the team with the worst record in football will have the first opportunity to claim a player who has been waived, the best being 32nd.
At the moment, the Patriots are tied with the Detroit Lions for 14th place. A coin toss will decide who gets a player should both clubs decide to make claims.