Sunday Patriots Notes: Josh McDaniels could be a popular 2022 head coach candidate
The 14th Sunday of the 2021 NFL season has arrived, and even with them goodbye, there’s a lot going on around the New England Patriots and the rest of the league. Let’s take this forum right here to review some of the stories that have emerged in recent days: the time of our Sunday Patriots Notes.
1. Josh McDaniels is projecting himself as a popular head coach candidate next year. After struggling for a 7-9 record in their first year without Tom Brady, the Patriots are back among NFL contenders. There are a number of reasons for this, but one of the most significant is rookie quarterback Mac Jones’ stellar play.
The first-round selection deserves a lot of praise for winning the starting role in one of the most difficult offensive systems in the game, but his current coach, who also happens to be his offensive coordinator: Josh McDaniels helped Jones to make the transition to the game of the NFL by creating an attack around him that focuses on his strengths but also aims to take the pressure off him.
Jones ‘early career development and the Patriots’ offensive productivity as a whole are two main reasons McDaniels should be a prime candidate for the head coach again in the next offseason. A short-term head coach from the Denver BroncosMcDaniels has been a coordinator – first briefly in St. Louis, then New England – since 2011.
It has generated some interest over the years, mainly from the Indianapolis Colts in 2018, but for whatever reason, did not leave New England. Will 2022 be any different? His work with Mac Jones will certainly be a factor, although a majority of Patriots fans believe he will stick around: according to latest SB Nation report Reacts 83 percent of respondents believe McDaniels will stay put for another year.
2. Davon Godchaux had an impressive game against Buffalo. Defensive tackle Davon Godchaux has been a big addition to New England’s defense this offseason, literally and figuratively. The 6-foot-3, 311-pound helped the team solidify their leakage defense and performance against the Bison tickets Monday was a perfect example.
In fact, according to Zebra Technology, Godchaux posted a racing tackle rate of 56% – the highest for a nose tackle in the past six seasons. Buffalo averaged just 3.1 yards per carry when Godchaux was on the field.
3. The Patriots wide receiver group has some of the best bursts in the NFL. The New England wide receiver squad may not have the star power of other units, but they are among the league’s elite in one category: According to NFL Next Gen stats, the squad has some of the best line-of-scrimmage bursts in the game; their top three spreaders – Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor – made it to the top 30 in top speed in one second:
The WR Patriots body has some of the fastest bursts in the NFL LOS.
Kendrick Bourne (9.49 mph) averages the fastest top speed in 1 second of his routes (min. 200 routes). Jakobi Meyers (9.29 mph, 3rd) and Nelson Agholor (8.55 mph, 28th) also place in the top 30.#ForeverNE pic.twitter.com/KPzwoM19fO
– Next generation statistics (@NextGenStats) December 8, 2021
Kendrick Bourne’s average top speed of 9.49 mph in the first second of his routes is the best number of its kind in the NFL. Jakobi Meyers’ 9.29 mph is ranked third. The two spreaders lead the Patriots in yards and receptions, respectively, and their burst could very well be one of the reasons why.
4. Mac Jones explains how he lowered his turnover rate. In the first six games of his NFL career, Mac Jones transformed football seven times in total. During the Patriots’ seven-game winning streak that began in Week 7, that number dropped significantly: Jones only gave up football three times during that streak.
How did he manage to lower his turnover rate? According to the man himself, his improved experience played a role in this regard.
“I just think I’m playing on the offensive, figuring out how to win games, which teams are doing wrong and exposing that,” he said earlier this week. “Obviously I’ve learned all my footballing life that when you don’t turn the ball, good things happen. The more you can do this, the more you can play in your attacking pattern, the better. I can continue to do a good job there. We just did a better job with it. Everybody has.
“The fumbles and the interceptions were a lot of my fault, obviously, because you can’t throw it to the other team. This is an area for improvement, but you also can’t be shy with guns or anything like that. You just have to go over there and try to throw it at the right guy. “
5. Kyle Van Noy was one of the first to believe in Mac Jones. Speaking of rookie Patriots quarterback, linebacker Kyle Van Noy appeared on the Green light with Chris Long podcast earlier this week, and also spoke about Mac Jones. Asked about Jones’ victory over his teammates, Van Noy referred to a particular week of training camp.
“What’s been impressive, I would say with Mac, is – and I don’t want that sounding bad or anything – but when Cam [Newton] was out that week, and it was the day before our clash against the Giants, he was fighting against us, ”said Van Noy. “It was like, ‘Oh, this guy is good.'”
Outgoing incumbent Cam Newton had to miss three days of training due to an apparent “misunderstanding” over Covid-19 protocols. He had left New England for a team-approved medical appointment, but as an unvaccinated player at the time, he had to go through a period of acclimatization.
As a result, Mac Jones received more reps with the First Team offense – including joint training against the New York Giants. As Newton started the preseason game between the two teams, he was eventually knocked out soon after.
6. Hunter Henry won’t have to miss a game for personal reasons. Patriots tight end Hunter Henry has raised the possibility of missing a game due to the birth of his first child. Neither he nor the team have to worry anymore: Henry and his wife, Parker, announced the birth of their son, Ace, on Thursday.
7. Stephon Gilmore clarifies his comments on the Patriots. Before facing his old team at the start of the week, Carolina Panthers cornerback Stephon Gilmore shed light on his departure from the Patriots. Gilmore noted that “things just didn’t work out” and that he “just didn’t like the way they handled my situation with my injury”.
Last week Gilmore explained what he meant by that. Speaking to Joseph Person of The Athletic, he gave an overview of his statement:
When you come back to the game, you want to readjust to come back to the game. But I felt like they were doing more exercise than rehab, that they were training more like someone (who) was at. 100% healthy and in the offseason schedule. But I was in rehabilitation, coming back from an operation. So it’s different. I think you should take action to come back and play.
It just made me do all types of running and lifting a lot more than I was supposed to.
Gilmore, who is in the final year of his contract, was traded from New England to Carolina in early October. The Patriots received a sixth-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft in exchange for former Defensive Player of the Year.
8. The Week 14 bye is late but not the last in Patriots history. While New England’s current bye comes very late in the regular season schedule, it’s not the last the franchise has seen so far. In 2001, the team were initially scheduled to retire on the last weekend of the season.
That goodbye finally came on the penultimate week, however. With the NFL having canceled its entire 2 week after the 9/11 attacks, these games were added to the season. That meant the Patriots were given a pass for Week 16, followed by a game against the Panthers, followed by a first-round playoff break and a possible Super Bowl run.
“I still think it’s pretty interesting how the NFL schedule gave us a pass in the last week of the season. Like, “You won’t be there, so you can start your vacation sooner.” Go home, ”Belichick said of the original 2016 schedule.“ Of course we ended up having to play because the 9/11 game was postponed with Carolina in week 2. But when the schedule came out we saw that our goodbye was the last week of the season.
“I think we sure didn’t follow the script they wrote for us. But it does not matter.