New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

  • HENDERSON, NEVADA - AUGUST 23: Quarterback Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots throws during a joint practice with the Las Vegas Raiders 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: Quarterback Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots throws during a joint practice with the Las Vegas Raiders 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 Patriots’ final week of training camp is underway. On Tuesday, they’re holding the first of two joint practices with the Raiders in Las Vegas. Here’s the highlights and analysis from those in Nevada…

  • A shift at the running back position?

    We’ll actually start with something Bill Belichick said before practice. When asked about the pass blocking responsibilities of running backs, Belichick mentioned that the Patriots’ current running backs “are looking at all three downs.” This contrasts with the team’s traditional approach of having dedicated early-down backs and passing-down backs.

    With James White now retired, one of the questions for the Patriots to answer in camp was who would fill his role as the team’s primary passing down back. It’s starting to look like they may go another way though, and platoon their backs across situations. They did that in the second preseason game against the Panthers, when their three top backs (Rhamondre Stevenson, Damien Harris, and Ty Montgomery) each got a full drive with minimal to no substitutions.

    Among other benefits, this should help the Patriots’ offense be less predictable. It also potentially lessens how much the team might need to ask of their rookie running backs Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris. In the past, the Patriots have not given significant roles to rookies at the running back position, with a few exceptions (such as Stevenson last year).


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  • Cornerbacks struggling early

    The Patriots cornerbacks will truly be tested this week, given the talent and depth the Raiders have at wide receiver. Early on, the Raiders appeared to have a big advantage in one-on-ones.

    This is a big week for a number of the Patriots’ cornerbacks. Jonathan Jones continues to be tested as a boundary cornerback. Myles Bryant and Marcus Jones are competing for the starting job in the slot if Jonathan Jones moves to the outside. Jack Jones is trying to prove he’s ready for significant playing time, and Shaun Wade is looking to make a push for one of the final roster spots.

  • Offensive starters return

    Isaiah Wynn had missed over a week of practice, while Hunter Henry hadn’t been with the team in three days. Wynn’s return in particular is notable. Not only may he be in a position battle with Yodny Cajuste for the starting right tackle job, it was also reported on Monday that the team has discussed him in trade talks.

  • Offense struggles early on

    After what appeared to be a positive week against the Panthers, the Patriots’ offensive line didn’t get off to a good start against the Raiders. However, the second unit made some noise. It’s also notable that Kendrick Bourne remains with the second stringers after returning.

  • Players dealing with the heat

    It’s in the high 90’s in Henderson Nevada and only getting warmer. Expect conditioning to be a big part of today’s practice.

  • Getting on the same page

    As has been the case throughout training camp, the Patriots’ offense improved when things moved to 7-on-7’s. Still, it appears as though Mac Jones and Jakobi Meyers are still working to get on the same page.

  • Offensive issues continuing

    The Patriots offense still struggled to get going as they moved into red zone work. It is worth noting though that Kendrick Bourne is now back working with the first team (albeit with a drop).

  • Defense finding its rhythm

    The Patriots’ defense seemingly has started to bounce back after a rough start to practice. Jonathan Jones battling with Davante Adams is notable as he continues to make the transition to working on the boundary.

  • Mac Jones dejected?

    While the defense is starting to get things together, the offense is still stuck in first gear. This wouldn’t be the first time this sunner Mac Jones has been visibly frustrated during a practice.

  • Finishing strong

    The Patriots won both final 11-on-11 periods. After Matthew Judon took over a drive for the Patriots’ defense, Mac Jones spread the ball around and led the offense into the end zone.

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