New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

  • HENDERSON, NEVADA - AUGUST 23: Head coach Josh McDaniels of the Las Vegas Raiders looks on during a joint practice with the New England Patriots at the Las Vegas Raiders Headquarters/Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center on August 23, 2022 in Henderson, Nevada. The Patriots and Raiders will play a preseason game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on August 26. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    HENDERSON, NEVADA – AUGUST 23: Head coach Josh McDaniels of the Las Vegas Raiders looks on during a joint practice with the New England Patriots at the Las Vegas Raiders Headquarters/Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center on August 23, 2022 in Henderson, Nevada. The Patriots and Raiders will play a preseason game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on August 26. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    The New England Patriots finished strong in Tuesday’s joint practice with the Las Vegas Raiders, on both sides of the ball. While the offense walked away with something good to feel about after an otherwise bad day, the defense can go into Wednesday’s practice feeling even better.

    It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Patriots would be more familiar with the Raiders’ Josh McDaniels-led offense than they would with another team’s system. But in a summer when the offense has been slow to get everyone, players and coaches alike, on the same page, the defense seems ready to go.

    So it should be considered a good sign that, as McDaniels told reporters during his Tuesday press conference, the Patriots were calling out his team’s plays during the two-minute drill. They were able to decipher the Raiders’ play-calls on the fly, due to their familiarity with the verbiage.

    “I thought it was funny, we didn’t have noise [Tuesday], so we were calling out things in the two-minute offense, and their whole sideline’s yelling what it is,” McDaniels said. “Thought that was funny. Didn’t have much success with [the two-minute drill].”

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  • Obviously, if there’s any offense the Patriots should be well-prepared to defend, it’s one built by McDaniels, who was New England’s offensive coordinator from 2012-19. And it clearly wasn’t a perfect day for the defense, which had no answer for Davante Adams – then again, who does? – and struggled to cover Hunter Renfrow in the slot.

    But that flipped at the end of practice, when the Patriots outperformed the Raiders on both sides of the ball, Defensively, they grabbed three would-be sacks from Matthew Judon, Josh Uche, and Ja’Whaun Bentley, according to multiple reports. Per Evan Lazar of Patriots.com, the Patriots’ defensive front was the “biggest positive” and the run defense “held up.”

    It almost certainly had to help the Patriots’ defense that they basically had all the answers to the test. But this isn’t the first time that their front-seven has been a bright spot in practice. They’re at their healthiest in years on the defensive line, and their retooled linebacking corps looks like the best and deepest since 2019.

  • It was important for both teams to close practice well. So the Patriots get the check mark in that department. Just as David Andrews was pleased with how the Patriots finished on Tuesday, McDaniels wasn’t so happy with his own guys.

    “They obviously got the better of us there at the end,” McDaniels said. “Finishing practice was a huge point of emphasis for us, and we obviously didn’t finish it as well as they did, on either side of the ball.”

  • Patriots and Raiders stretch before joint practices in Las Vegas

    Patriots and Raiders stretch before joint practices in Las Vegas

    Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick has, ostensibly, spent more time with the offense than the defense throughout the summer. So it’s a good sign for the D that when left in the hands of linebacker coaches Jerod Mayo and Steve Belichick – the latter of which is calling the plays – everyone still seems to be on the same page.

    Now, as the calendar flips to Wednesday for the final joint practice, we’ll see whether the Patriots can have a better start-to-finish day, and whether the Raiders can correct the issues they had in Tuesday’s two-minute drill.

    As McDaniels himself said, ideally, in this setting, both teams get better.

  • 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 [email protected].

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