New England Patriots

A view of the practice field next to Gillette Stadium in Foboro, Mass., where the Patriots take part in off-season workouts and in-season practices. (Credit: Alex Barth/98.5 The Sports Hub)

The New England Patriots’ first open practice of the 2022 season took place on Monday at the fields next to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. Sessions remain closed to the public, but reporters were able to get their first look at the team, and we’ve got a roundup of the most interesting developments.

It was a non-padded, non-contact practice for the Pats, who had plenty of players absent and more limited. But starting quarterback Mac Jones let it rip in front of reporters for the first time as an NFL sophomore, and notably, he had head coach Bill Belichick working very closely alongside him. We’ll see how involved Belichick is with the offense in particular when the regular season starts. But clearly, he’s taking on a significant role in a crucial year of development for Jones.

A couple of Patriots rookies stood out to those in attendance, while other information came out about the coaching staff and who they were working with on the field. The Sports Hub had boots on the ground in Foxboro with our own Alex Barth, who will have more in-depth coverage of OTAs in the near future.

  • There was a surprisingly good amount of things to take away from the first day of open practice, as light a day as it was. Without further ado, here’s our first practice roundup of 2022…

    Mac Attack

    BUFFALO, NEW YORK - JANUARY 15: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots looks on against the Buffalo Bills during the first quarter in the AFC Wild Card playoff game at Highmark Stadium on January 15, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)

    BUFFALO, NEW YORK – JANUARY 15: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots looks on against the Buffalo Bills during the first quarter in the AFC Wild Card playoff game at Highmark Stadium on January 15, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)

    Starting quarterback Mac Jones stood out to reporters with his vocal approach running the offense during team drills. Let’s not give him a trophy just yet, but it’s good that Jones is looking to take on the kind of commanding leadership role that is a prerequisite for a successful quarterback at the NFL level.

    Per multiple reports, Jones also stayed on the field after practice for extra work, along with perennial overtime grinder Deatrich Wise, according to Mike Reiss. Per Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald, Jones worked specifically on his deep ball.

  • Coaches

    Jun 16, 2021; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reacts during the New England Patriots mini camp at the New England Patriots practice complex. Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

    Jun 16, 2021; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reacts during the New England Patriots mini camp at the New England Patriots practice complex. Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

    This year, eyeballs will be all over the Patriots’ coaching staff, almost as much as the players. Who’s running the offense in the post-Josh McDaniels era?

    Per multiple reports, it looks like Bill Belichick is handling it himself. For now, anyway. As you can see in this video from ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Belichick worked closely with the offense, here with the wide receivers during individual drills:

    Belichick spent most of practice with the offense, per multiple reports. He also called the offensive plays during the final 11-on-11 drills of the day, according to Andrew Callahan. But, as reported by Jeff Howe, Matt Patricia also called some plays and Joe Judge “was involved.” So, unsurprisingly, the Patriots still have some roles to hammer out in the coaching department.

    Patricia mainly worked with the offensive line, while Judge worked with the quarterbacks, per multiple reports. Jones said after practice that Judge has “done a great job coaching us” (via Karen Guregian).

  • Rookie Watch

    Nov 27, 2021; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils defensive back Jack Jones (0) against the Arizona Wildcats at Sun Devil Stadium. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 27, 2021; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils defensive back Jack Jones (0) against the Arizona Wildcats at Sun Devil Stadium. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Of all the Patriots rookies who practiced, cornerback Jack Jones was the “most involved”. His fluid movement and change of direction stood out. Considering the Pats’ question marks at outside corner, it wouldn’t be surprising if Jones carved out a role for himself in year 1.

    Elsewhere, guard Cole Strange “spent a lot of time” with Patriots starting center David Andrews. It wasn’t a full-contact practice for the offensive line, but it’s good that Strange is learning as much as he can from Andrews early on, because they will most certainly be lining up together when the real football starts.

    According to Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal, Strange appeared to line up at left guard, with Mike Onwenu at right guard.

  • Attendance

    Linebacker Matthew Judon was the most notable player absent from the field on Monday. Wide receiver N’Keal Harry, safety Adrian Phillips, tackle Isaiah Wynn, and defensive tackle Lawrence Guy were some other key players who didn’t practice. Several others were limited.

  • More Notes…

    Here’s a smattering of tweets from Alex Barth, on some of the other notable things that happened during practice on Monday…

    Barth will have plenty more for you in a Patriots Notebook column later on. And we’ll have a lot more Patriots coverage for you throughout off-season workouts here at 985TheSportsHub.com.