Patriots Stockwatch: Outfield concepts finally show signs of life


FOXBORO — The Patriots offense emerged from Tuesday’s practice able to breathe deeply. With days to go before their first preseason game against the Giants, they were able to hold a representative workout.

There was some consistency in running and passing games. Mac Jones was protected for a reasonable period behind the centre. It wasn’t explosive. It wasn’t even a machine. But that wasn’t what they concocted on Monday, when even assistant quarterback Brian Hoyer admitted the performance on that side of the ball was embarrassing.

“We are all competitors,” he said after work on Tuesday. “When you have a day like yesterday, you come in and look your teammates in the eye and say tomorrow has to be better. You don’t want to go out and be embarrassed on any level, at any point of time.”

While there may not have been the full complement of reps for Jones and the starting offense that there was on Monday – the team appeared to be using some of their time on the field to prepare backups to see the Giants – there were signs of progress.

Let’s get into these in our latest stockwatch…

Storage: Out of area

The concept that has been central to some of the most obvious offensive changes for the Patriots this summer has finally paid off. It takes cohesion and timing up front to block those plays – linemen bolt laterally in one direction, aiming to work harmoniously to get to the second tier and set up reduction openings for fullbacks – and these things had been lacking. for the vast majority of the camp.

But on Tuesday, during team scouting, Damien Harris found a wide circulation corridor on a given outer zone (also called “wide zone”). Later, Rhamondre Stevenson danced through a narrow lane for a touchdown on a similar play in competitive 11-on-11 work. Stevenson took another similar type of carry later in the session and spun behind a huge block of Mike Onwenu’s wall for a sizable gain. Ty Montgomery, a sub-back who seemed more comfortable with these types of plays than most backs, also took one for a real win in a competitive team period.

The Patriots have also turned to more familiar downhill racing game concepts in recent days. They ran the power shooting guards. They also used gap patterns between tackles and inside zone runs. All seemed relatively productive on Tuesday, which was a serious departure from what they had been able to do previously at camp. The out-of-area attack seems to remain a fundamental part of this new attack, but in their last real training before their first game of the pre-season, they showed their ability to set up an effective and diverse fast attack.

The only question now is whether they can continue.

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Refueling: Yodny Cadjus

One of the reasons the offense could have been better on Tuesday was because Justin Herron — who made our “Stock Down” squad for Monday — was out and Cadjus was in. Was Cadjus, a third round of 2019, a dominant force? No. But he got in the way. He was helpful. And while he’s mostly retreated to the left tackle for the majority of camp’s practice, inserting him on the right side and making him go almost unnoticed (usually a good thing for offensive linemen) may have had him. elevated to number one. 3 tackles on the list. Considering how much time Isaiah Wynn (now time-strapped with an undisclosed issue) and Trent Brown have missed in their careers, this third tackle will likely be critical.

Refueling: Jakobi Meyers

If you’re wondering which of Jones’ receivers is the guy to go to if you have a problem, Meyers provided an emphatic answer on Tuesday. Where did Jones turn after an abysmal offensive day less than 24 hours earlier? Meyers caught his first three attempts in competitive 7-on-7 bouts.

He was targeted five times on Jones’ first nine competitive pitches. Meyers wasn’t able to roll up a slot fade that was well covered by Myles Bryant, but he understands how to open up and open up fast. Considering how Jones’ pass protection systems have worked in camp, this is a vital skill set for this receiving corps.

Out of Stock: Out-of-Zone Game Action

The Patriots are still under construction right now. Jones told me yesterday that “we do the same thing, we just run these plays and try to figure out what the best matchups are and see who can make plays.” That’s basically where they were last week. There’s not much game-changing on the line – although Jones quite clearly adjusted routes and shields at times before breaking the ball – in order to “win” the rep against the defence.

All this to say that there could be more to come. But at this point in camp, there just hasn’t been much success in the action game that would logically build off of the out-of-zone racing games that have been so prominently featured. They tried. We’ve seen Jones sprint in the same direction as an out-of-bounds fake to try and hit linebackers crashing over the top, but in the various practices they’ve tried, that usually results in a throwaway from Jones.

Part of the advantage of Shanahan-style offenses conducted throughout the league is that there are usually strong action-shooting opportunities on the field where the defense is stressed on multiple levels, providing quarterbacks with easily readable openings and explosive winning chances. . Those didn’t materialize for the Patriots (who desperately needed vertical play last season). Still.

Out of stock: Nelson Agholor

Agholor has now implemented a few seemingly clumsy practices in a row. He had a pass to his chest plate and soared through the air for a pick during practice at the stadium on Friday. He appeared to have an alligator arm moment down the middle on a crosser thrown by Jones on Monday, and later in the same practice it looked like he nearly dropped one of the few productive passes of the afternoon in a period of precipitation.

He caught two passes from Jones during competition on Tuesday, but he didn’t seem ready for a late third target. After catching a quick exit in a two-minute drill, Jones again searched his way on the exact same route. Agholor didn’t seem to anticipate a repeat and didn’t seem to finish his pattern. Jones’ pass, the last of practice for him, bounced harmlessly out of bounds.

Out of Stock: Justin Herron

Herron entered camp as the favorite to be the team’s swing tackle. He has played in this role before. And the team proved they like him. He spent enough time early in camp at right tackle that it made you wonder if the team was hoping to see enough there to give him a chance with the starters, potentially making Wynn expendable. But he had chances in the last few days and squandered them. He argued with Josh Uche on Friday and was kicked out of training.

Monday’s training was brutal for him. And on Tuesday, he was in the middle of another brief scuffle (hard to see who was on the other end) and lost his helmet. Later, he lost his most significant reps – and a chance to prove he could hang with starters – to Cadjus. I still believe he will make the roster, but it hasn’t been a good week for Wake Forest’s 2020 sixth round.


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