The New England Patriots have their attention squarely focused on Week Thirteen and a matchup with the Buffalo Bills on Monday night at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York.
Currently sitting at 8-4 on the 2021 NFL Season, a win is of utmost importance for the Pats to maintain their momentum in contending for both the top spot in the division, and the conference.
From roster trimming to a team captain paying homage to his coach, here are the latest Pats news and notes, courtesy of the Patriot Maven Notebook
Patriots Release Nordin, Keyes
The Patriots announced on Thursday that they have released rookie K Quinn Nordin, as well as DB Thakarius (BoPete) Keyes from the practice squad.
On Monday, Nordin had been designated for return from injured reserve. The Michigan product was a part of the Patriots initial 53-man roster to start the 2021 season. However, he had been on IR with an abdomen injury since September 18. The 23-year-old was one of New England’s training camp standouts, showcasing an impressive ability to kick for distance. However, veteran Nick Folk has admirably handled the kicking duties for New England, thus far, making 31 of 34 field goals.
While Nordin would be eligible to sign with New England’s practice squad, should he clear waivers, the Pats are taking a risk by waiving the rookie. With the kicker position always at a premium throughout the league, a needy team may be all too happy to put a claim on a player who might end up being a dynamic young talent at the position.
Keyes’ tenure in New England, however, was to be very short-lived. The 24-year-old was signed by New England to the practice squad on Nov. 30, 2021. He originally entered the NFL as a seventh-round draft pick (237th overall) by Kansas City out of Tulane in the 2020 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-1, 202-pounder was released by Kansas City during roster cut downs and was claimed off waivers by Indianapolis in early September. Keyes was released by Indianapolis on November 13, was signed to the practice squad on November 15 and then released on November 22. Overall, he has played in 12 games with one start and has seven total tackles.
Trent Brown on Calf Injury: “It’s All Right”
Patriots right tackle Trent Brown has had a bit of a rough road when it comes to injury in 2021. Brown suffered a calf injury in the Pats’ season opener against the Miami Dolphins and was sidelined until November against the Cleveland Browns. His presence on the line has brought about marked improvement in New England’s run and pass protection.
Still, the 28-year-old continues to feel the lingering effects of his calf injury. The 6-foot-8, 380-pound lineman missed one practice last week, prior to Sunday’s matchup with the Tennessee Titans. However, Brown seems intent on not letting the injury get the best of him.
“Some days are better than others,” Brown told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s all right.”
Following Monday night’s matchup with the Buffalo Bills, the Patriots will enter their bye-week for some much needed rest.
Mac Trademarks ‘MJ10’
Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones is the latest NFL player to pursue a trademark involving his initials and jersey number.
According to Darren Rovell of The Action Network, the 23-year-old has filed to trademark "MJ10." Both the moniker and logo is expected to adorn casual, athletic apparel.
Jones is not the first Patriot to seek such endorsement opportunities. Former Patriots Tom Brady (‘TB12’) and Julian Edelman (‘JE11’) have found such endeavors to be notably lucrative.
The pats rookie is enjoying a stellar rookie season to date. Jones has completed 70.3 percent of his passes and thrown 16 touchdowns to just eight interceptions over his first 12 games in the NFL.
McCourty praises Belichick
While Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is often known for his stoic, all-business demeanor, those who have had the privilege of playing for him get the chance to see a different side of the man in charge. Having spent twelve seasons under Belichick in New England, Pats safety and team captain Devin McCourty offered some interesting insight on his head coach.
“My 12 years here, I think that’s one thing that has always stood out: How much he enjoys coaching the team,” McCourty said. “Even last year, obviously the worst year of my career, I’ve always felt like he doesn’t take for granted what guys come in and do. Whether it’s guys playing through injuries. Guys being here early. Being here late. Guys like Myles (Bryant) who start on the practice squad and just work their butts off continuously and just be ready to go when they get called.”
Though some may wish to push the narrative that Belichick is somehow an undesirable coach for which to play, McCourty strongly refuted that narrative, praising the Pats coaching staff in the process.
“I would say for all the stuff that gets talked about playing here, for me as a player in my 12 years, I’ve enjoyed every minute of playing for him,” McCourty said, “And the opportunity you get because of his dedication and his staff’s dedication to give you a chance on Sunday or Monday night to go play your best, because of the work they put in to prepare you. I’ve appreciated that a lot, and obviously I haven’t been anywhere else, but I don’t think there’s a coaching staff that works harder than our staff out there. And I think that shows for us. Us going out there and playing fast, that directly correlates to what they do during the week as a staff.”
The Patriots and Bills are set for an 8:20pm kickoff on Monday night, December 6, from Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York.