Patriot Maven Notebook: Moving on from Miami, Patriots Host Four for Workouts, and More

The Patriots face an interesting roster decision in the coming days, plus Mac Jones describes his methods of leading by example.
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As the New England Patriots look to leave their season-opening 17-16 loss to the Miami Dolphins behind, the Pats must now turn their attention to the New York Jets. The two AFC East divisional rivals will meet on Sunday, September 19 at MetLIfe Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. However, the Pats continue to make news, leading up to Sunday’s showdown with Gang Green. From special teams news and notes to hosting free agent workouts, here are the latest Pats news and notes, courtesy of the Patriot Maven Notebook:

Pats Work Out Four Free Agents

As first reported by ESPN’s Mike Reiss, the Patriots hosted four free agents for workouts on Tuesday: Offensive tackle Derwin Gray, running back Nathan Contrell, guard Jordan Meredith and defensive back Linden Stephens.

Gray entered the NFL in the seventh round of the 2019 draft as the 219th overall selection by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Having played his collegiate football at Maryland, the offensive tackle appeared in five games for Pittsburgh last season. The 26-year-old was claimed off waivers by the Jacksonville Jaguars in December, and most recently spent time on the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad.

Cottrell joined the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted rookie out of Georgia Tech in 2020. The 25-year-old spent time on the practice squad and active roster, appearing in eight games and returning seven kickoffs for 123 yards. Cottrell was released from the Jaguars’ practice squad last week.

Meredith went undrafted in the 2021 NFL Draft. He would eventually sign with the Los Angeles Rams as a free agent. The 23-year-old product of Western Kentucky was waived at the NFL roster cutdown deadline on August 31.

Also having made his way to the NFL as an undrafted rookie, Stephens signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2018. The former Cincinnati cornerback also spent time with the Los Angeles Rams, Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins and the Washington Football Team. In 16 career games, the 26-year-old compiled six tackles, while playing 36 percent of Seattle’s snaps on special teams last season.

Elevation Complete?

As both quarterback Brian Hoyer and kicker Nick Folk were standard roster elevations for the team’s season opener on Sunday, each reverted to the New England’s practice squad on Monday.

While the elevations were expected, they do have both present and future implications. Under the league’s addendum, both may be elevated only once more before necessitating spots on the 53-man roster.

The Patriots currently have one roster spot available, after having placed wide receiver Malcolm Perry on injured reserve last week. Should the Patriots wish to fill that spot with either Hoyer or Folk, it would eliminate the need for the team to deplete their eligibility for elevation.

While rookie Quinn Nordin was inactive for Sunday’s matchup with Miami, Folk converted on all three field goals, as well one extra point. Hoyer served as the sole backup to starting quarterback Mac Jones.

Folk Extends Streak

Speaking of Nick Folk, the 36-year-old extended his streak to 29 consecutive field goals made with a 27-yard field goal in the second quarter, a 42-yard field goal in the third quarter and a 33-yarder in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s Week One contest. After missing his first two field goals of the 2020 season, Folk has not missed since. It is the second-longest field goal streak in team history and the longest streak in Folk’s career. His previous best was 23 straight field goals in 2013 when he played for the New York Jets.n

Mac the Lead

While tasting defeat is never enjoyable (primarily for a rookie, making his NFL regular-season debut), learning from a loss can be an invaluable part of improvement. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones knows that as well as anyone. Beyond fine-tuning his skill on the field, Jones is determined to lead by example; even if that means making an example of himself.

On Monday, Jones joined WEEI’s Merloni and Fauria and addressed his reputation for being hard on himself, and how he will approach his next task at hand:

“A lot of people say that, but it’s just trying to be perfect and being a perfectionist," Jones said. "I think something we all want to do here is try and be as perfect as we can, but I think we did a good job yesterday of not getting too emotional or anything like that, too. When I play my best, [I] just stick to my rules and trust the people around me who have played a lot of football. My goal is to be able to do my job even better every week and then I know the guys around me who have played in the NFL for a while are going to do that too. If I can elevate my game, they are going to elevate theirs. We’ll just keep stacking days together.”

Again, the Patriots travel to the ‘green side’ of the Meadowlands, New Jersey as they will take on the New York Jets (0-1) at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey at 1:00pm ET on Sunday, September 19.