The New England Patriots travel to the Dawg Pound for a Week 6 matchup against the Cleveland Browns. New England will do so searching to get back to .500 and put together their first winning streak of the season.
Let’s waste no time and empty out this week’s #PostPulpit mailbag.
We’ll start off with the hot topic across New England, the quarterback position. To get things straight, there is absolutely no quarterback competition. This is Mac Jones’ job to lose not Bailey Zappe’s to win. Bill Belichick somewhat alluded to that when he explained Wednesday that Zappe’s play is “totally independent” when deciding Mac’s timetable.
The idea that Zappe should start over Jones is also a silly thought for those interested in winning. With Zappe, New England has retreated to the offense they ran with rookie Mac Jones under center last season. While it got the Patriots 10 wins and a spot in the Wild Card, the ceiling of that particular offense was evident in the 47-17 beatdown from the Buffalo Bills in wild card weekend.
The Patriots even acknowledged that style of offense would not allow them to compete late into the season as they dialed up the aggressiveness on offense through the first three weeks with Jones this year. Jones’ average depth of target is over three yards higher than Zappe’s (10.4 to 7.1) while his tight window throw percentage is also significantly higher (26.8% to 16.7%).
Through three weeks with that offense, the downside with the aggressi buffalo bills store orchard park ny veness was added turnovers — as Jones tossed five interceptions to begin the season. When Jones returns, the Patriots need to do a better job of finding balance with the downfield passing attack, but they do not need to turn back the clock to where they were last season.
@KennyRiggleman Will Rhomandre take the starting RB spot even when Harris returns?
This has been another hot topic of late as Damien Harris (hamstring) may miss time in the upcoming weeks. Again, it’s another silly debate to have in my opinion.
While there’s no disagreeing that Rhamondre Stevenson is buffalo bills 25 jersey the more talented back, part of what makes the Patriots’ rushing attack so effective is the duo, which is perhaps the best running back tandem in the league behind Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. New England is able to keep both backs fresh throughout a game while the other wears down the opposing defense during their respective drives.
There’s no such thing as a bell-cow back in New England, especially when Harris has done nothing but effectively run the football over the past few years. Running Stevenson into the ground to secure a few wins in October and November would make no sense. And if they were to run a running back consistently in the regular season, it probably would be Harris as he enters a contract year (unfair, but how the NFL works).
With both backs healthy going forward, I would not expect a drastic change from how they've been used the past few weeks with Stevenson getting roughly 60 percent of the snaps. Perhaps that percentage leans more towards Stevenson if they reach the playoffs.
@RichieT_FTW With Jack Jones apparent arrival do you expect him to gravitate more towards a starting role now?
The strong play from Jack Jones has given the P NFL Lawn and Garden Decor atriots another piece in the secondary. They have a number of way to mix and match these chess pieces, but I believe the potential path got a bit clearer in Sunday’s win over Detroit.
For the first time this season, rookie Marcus Jones got real work in the slot. If Jones can carve out a role there, the belief is they could then rotate the trio of Jalen Mills, Jonathan Jones, and Jack Jones on the outside, similarly to what they did w buffalo bills jersey 4xl ith Stephon Gilmore, J.C. Jackson, and Jason McCourty in 2018.
If the Patriots want to bump Jonathan Jones back inside, they could rely on Jack Jones and Mills along the boundary. But, Jonathan Jones’ strong play to st NFL Sweatshirts art the season would make me hesitant to pull the trigger on such move.
New England will always be a week-to-week game plan team which will allow them to deploy their versatile secondary pieces in a number of ways. But the way they rotated their corners against Detroit seems like the best plan of action moving forward.
@PatsSoxFanVA Over/Under cur date for Miles Bryant.
If Marcus Jones takes over slot corner duties, that leaves Myles Bryant as the odd man out. It’s clear the Patriots value Bryant’s intelligence and a role would certainly still be available. He’s best as a zone defender/robber, as he just does not have the athletic profile to keep up with slot receivers in man-to-man. In a depth role, he’s a strong piece to keep around.
@BostonEvan11 Carolina trade targets?
With the firing of head coach Matt Rhule earlier this week, Carolina seems to be on the verge on the blowing things up for draft capital. While names like D.J. Moore and Brian Burns stick out, the name that immediately came to my mind is defensive tackle Derrick Brown.
Brown was the seventh overall pick in the 2020 draft and has one-year remaining on his rookie deal plus his potential fifth-year option. The 6-foot-5, 320 pound tackle would give the Patriots a true nose tackle, which is something frequent readers would know we were clamoring for this past offseason or draft. A true nose tackle would allow the Patriots to bump Davon Godchaux out to his best fit as a five-technique, which should drastically increase their run defense.
The Patriots love collecting former first-round draft picks and top high school recruits, and Brown checks both boxes. And as true two-gapping nose tackles aren't a premiere position in the NFL, the return price may not be extremely significant.
@Skywal1Thaddeus Which WR is most likely to come here: Robbie Anderson Odell Beckham Jr. DJ Moore Love these Q&As! Keep up the good work!
First off, thank you very much! As for this question, I really don't see the Patriots going out and bringing in another wide receiver. They already have a deep group and were struggling to get all of them on the field after Tyquan Thornton’s return, which ultimately led to Lil’Jordan Humphrey ending back up on the practice squad.
If they were to add one of these three however, I’d predict Robbie Anderson in the offseason. Carolina will most likely release him — meaning you would not have to surrender draft capital in a trade — and the Patriots have been interested in the receiver multiple times in the past.
@sumeetsumeet4 How do Pats plan to contain the Browns rushing game?
The Patriots will have their hands full with Nick Chubb and the Browns rushing attack this week. Running behind one of the best offensive lines in the league, Chubb currently leads the NFL in rushing yard 716 buffalo shirts s, rushing touchdowns, rushing yards after contact, missed tackles forced, and runs of over 10 yards. He’s a force.
To try and slow down the attack, New England will hope to get Lawerence Guy back from a two game absence with a shoulder injury. If Guy returns, a defensive line of Barmore, Guy, And Godchaux up the middle will likely be in place. From there, one of the biggest things is simple: tackling. If the Patriots can limit Chubb from breaking eight- to 10-yard rushes into 30-plus yard gains, they should be in decent shape.
@jd_hazel How much of a role should we expect from Pierre Strong Jr while Damien Harris is out with his hamstring injury?
If Damien Harris is forced out of this week’s matchup against Cleveland, Pierre Strong’s usage will be extremely interesting to watch. In somewhat of a surprise move, the team signed rookie Kevin Harris off the practice squad NFL Salute to Service fo Odell Beckham Jr Jerseys r additional depth on Thursday. Harris joins Strong as the only other healthy active running back on the 53 man roster besides Stevenson.
Against Cleveland, Kevin Harris provides New England with more of a p Teddy Bridgewater ower element which he showcased in the preseason. His main struggle in the preseason was with ball security, so it will be interesting to see how much the Patriots trust either of their rookies as neither have tallied an official NFL carry.
Strong would also provide an interesting skill set in the passing attack if they can trust him in pass protection. Using his skillset in the screen game will help slow down Cleveland’s dynamic edge rusher duo of Jadeveon Clowney and Myles Garrett.
As the Patriots signed Harris over the veteran J.J. Taylor, who still could be elevated off the practice squad, we’ll read the tea leaves that they trust the two rookies enough to see real NFL action. I’d predict perhaps 10-12 combined touches for the two as long if the game remains in contention.
@MrJimGeer Which QB is going to take us to the playoffs next?
@Cinjeopardy Have we seen the ceiling for Mac jones or will he forever be an alex smith type manager?
While Mac Jones will most likely be the next quarterback to lead New E buffalo bills 1960 jersey ngland to the playoffs, wondering if he’s the guy to get them to Super Bowl contender is a fair question. He obviously has physical limitations that will never allow him to make some of throws a Josh Allen or Justin Herbert can make, but the Patriots can still compete with Jones.
As we discussed earlier, the Patriots have tailored their offense to Jones’ strengths this past offseason. They are playing more spread offense with three wide receivers, have drastically increased their shotgun usage, and have begun sprinkling in more RPOs per Jones’ request. Also, as we touched on they are pushing the ball downfield more, which isn't a coincidence.
“Mac coming out of college, he had some big plays downfield,” Matt Patricia said several weeks ago. “He had some receivers that could get down field and he could get the ball out to them and throw some really accurate passes in those situations where you have opportunity for big plays. Certainly for us, as we looked at it through the spring and trying to work through training camp that’s been something we’re trying to do.”
And what did they do in the draft? Select a wide receiver who can get downfield in Tyquan Thornton. Jones does not have the physical stature of some of the elite NFL arms, but in the right situation can be a playmaker to bring New England to contention.
@dmord12 Brady to Gronk has to be the only QB to receiver pair that have scores TDs in super bowls with two different teams right?
Only Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Craig Morton, and Kurt Warner have played two in Super Bowls with two different teams — the former being the only two who have won with different squads. So, yes, Brady to Gronk is the only duo.
@KIDKICKS23 How does this affect lebrons legacy?
LeBron’s legacy is now doomed.
@BrianCo84 How bout some love for our boy Big Kick Nick!!!
We always love and respect Big Kick Nick around these parts.
That’s all for this week’s #PostPulpit mailbag. If you have questions you’d liked to be answered next week, submit them on Twitter using #PostPulpit! Make sure to be following @iambrianhines and @PatsPulpit as well!