New England Patriots

  • Patriots and Raiders stretch before joint practices in Las Vegas

    Patriots and Raiders stretch before joint practices in Las Vegas

    It may not be over-the-top to suggest that the Patriots salvaged their entire week at the end of Tuesday’s practice.

    Obviously, there’s still another day of practice and a whole preseason game left to go in Las Vegas. But by all accounts from reporters in attendance at the first of two joint practices between the Pats and Raiders, nothing was going the Patriots’ way.

    According to multiple reports, the Raiders’ performance on both sides of the ball ranged from better to dominant. But it’s reasonably understandable that the Patriots defense had trouble covering Davante Adams. It’s the Patriots’ offense that has had more issues to work through during the summer, and it sounds like they got quite a punch to the mouth on Tuesday.

    Quarterback Mac Jones went 7-of-17 with an interception over the first three periods of team drills, including a two-minute drill that ended with the pick, per Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald. Callahan described their day, to that point, as “the most troublesome offensive practice of summer.”

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  • But apparently, the Patriots offense did what they happened to do with Tom Brady in so many games over his 20-year run in New England: they pulled a scoring drive out of their asses at the very end.

    In one of those games, many of us would call it a win that felt like a loss. And this is just a joint practice, so it’s not like they “won” or “lost” anything to begin with. But from the player’s perspectives, their final two-minute drive seemed to leave them feeling far better than they would’ve felt had they come up short.

    According to Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston, Jones was 5-of-7 with a touchdown in the final two-minute simulation to close out practice, including a spike to “stop the clock.” Jones spread the ball around, with completions to Hunter Henry, Jakobi Meyers, DeVante Parker, Jonnu Smith, and a TD to Kendrick Bourne. The throw to Meyers was on a third-down play.

    The touchdown may have carried particular importance, not just because they scored, but because of who caught it. Bourne hasn’t seemed like himself throughout the summer, and ostensibly has a prove-it week ahead of him. So it’s promising to know he, especially, ended practice on a high note.

  • Based on post-practice comments from center David Andrews, it really did mean a lot to the Patriots offense to be able to finish strong. Earlier this summer, Andrews spoke to reporters after a bad practice and an animated players-only meeting. In that presser, he laid his frustration bare and tried to end the questions relatively early. So it’s notable that Andrews came out of Tuesday’s practice, which was on the verge of leaving quite a bad aftertaste, with an optimistic outlook.

    “We’ve all been in those games where maybe a couple things don’t go right, but you end in a big two-minute drive or get the lead, four-minute drill-type thing run, the clock out,” Andrews said after practice. “Maybe it was an ugly day, but there’s a lot to build on.”

    Andrews continued: “I liked the way we finished and competed the rest of practice. That’s a really good football team out there. … I’ll take the way we finished, competed all day. Obviously it’s a change in climate for us. I think it’s going to be a big day for us [Wednesday] to come out here and do the same thing. I think that’s kind of a championship football team. Worked hard Monday, worked hard today – can we do it again tomorrow? So, I think that’s going to be the big thing, is to come out tomorrow and have a great day.”

  • Jul 30, 2022; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) lines up behind center David Andrews (60) at the Patriots training camp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    Jul 30, 2022; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) lines up behind center David Andrews (60) at the Patriots training camp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    The Patriots’ strong finish doesn’t undo what was, according to everyone there, an ass-kicking at the hands of the Raiders. But as Andrews explained, it can at least give them a chance to carry some momentum over into Wednesday. Belichick’s message to the team was likely, “Way to finish, fellas, but we got a lot to work on.”

    That starts with having a better day Wednesday.

  • 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.