New England Patriots

  • Mac Jones during Patriots training camp on July 28, 2022. (Syndication: The Providence Journal)

    Mac Jones during Patriots training camp on July 28, 2022. (Syndication: The Providence Journal)

    Mac Jones recently said the Patriots offense needs to get everybody on the same page. On Wednesday, in a lighter practice than the first two padded days, it felt like they focused on correcting the problems causing what’s been a disjointed unit so far.

    Jones was 14-of-16 with an interception in 11-on-11 drills on Wednesday, and a perfect 4-of-4 in 7-on-7. So, the efficiency was there, and it seemed like they moved closer to gelling. The pick was his only big blemish, but once again, it looked like a miscommunication with the receiver.

    This time the culprit was DeVante Parker, and it looked like almost the same exact mistake made by Tyquan Thornton earlier in camp. Parker kept running upfield while Jones threw a shorter outside pass, which landed in the hands of (coincidentally) cornerback Terrance Mitchell.

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  • A promising development for the offense, however, was that Jones was 7-of-8 passing during an 11-on-11 period featuring loud music to simulate crowd noise. But this period also included the interception, so it certainly was far from perfect. But despite the light walkthrough-esque nature of the team periods, it seemed like the offense got perhaps 1 percent closer to being on the proverbial same page.

    Red zone work, though, continues to be a grind. Jones completed a pass over the middle to Kendrick Bourne on his first rep in the red zone period, but on the next play, he scrambled around the backfield for what felt like 7-8 seconds before throwing the ball away. Matthew Judon broke through early in the play and can be credited with a “sack” on the play.

    Linebacker Mack Wilson also grabbed a would-be sack in this period, marring what looked like a potential step forward for a group that’s clearly behind the defense at this point in camp.

  • It’s hard to tell whether the linebackers are making plays or the offense is struggling to set the proper protections. But as usual, it’s probably a little of both. Wilson’s speed has stood out shooting gaps on the inside. We won’t really know until the games start counting in the standings whether the Patriots are any better at that position, but they’re certainly faster.

    Tackle Justin Herron was dinged with a false start “flag” during the loud music portion of 11-on-11, earning a lap for his troubles. Herron projects as, at best, a swing tackle, but he can’t be considered a lock to make the roster if he’s going to commit pre-snap penalties.

    Ty Montgomery led the way in terms of catches, with four total, two each in 11s and 7s. With no timetable projected for James White’s return, the door is blowing open for Montgomery to secure a 53-man roster spot. He’s been utilized as a back, receiver, and returner during camp so far. His versatility has always screamed “Patriot!”

    May 23, 2022; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Ty Montgomery (14) works with assistant coach Troy Brown at the team's OTA at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    May 23, 2022; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Ty Montgomery (14) works with assistant coach Troy Brown at the team’s OTA at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

  • It’s tough to assess the offense after a practice like Wednesday’s, which was largely like a glorified Friday walkthrough. But the approach does suggest that they recognized areas that needed correcting, and felt it necessary to scale back the contact and work more on getting everyone to know their assignments and pull in the same direction. Jones’ interception was a sure sign that there’s still plenty of work to do in that department.

    Head coach Bill Belichick noted “communication, techniques, [and] adjustments” as three things the Patriots wanted to improve upon at Wednesday’s practice, so that’s certainly what it looked like on the practice fields.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the Patriots attack practice on Thursday, when temperatures are expected to reach as high as 95 degrees in Foxboro. They have one more practice on the side fields this week, before taking part in their annual in-stadium practice for season ticket holders on Friday night.

    Be sure to keep checking back after every practice for the newest Mac Watch column. And click here for complete Patriots training camp coverage at 985TheSportsHub.com.

  • Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.