The New England Patriots continue to march closer to the start of the 2021 NFL Season. The Pats will open the regular season on Sunday, September 12 at 4:25pm against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. However, the Pats continue to make news, leading up to Sunday’s showdown with the Dolphins.
From McDaniels confidence in Mac to a former Patriot working out for the Fins, here are the latest Pats news and notes, courtesy of the Patriot Maven Notebook:
Pats Looking Healthy to Start the Week
On Monday, The Patriots kicked off their week-one preparations for the Miami Dolphins. The Pats hit the practice fields on Monday, and enjoyed perfect attendance. Running back Brandon Bolden and practice-squad cornerback D'Angelo Ross were the only two players wearing red "no contact" jerseys. With the first injury report of the week set to be released this week, New England is looking to be enjoying sound health to start the season.
McDaniels Has Confidence in Mac
While Patriots fans everywhere are both excited and eager to see rookie quarterback Mac Jones take the reins of the Patriots offense on Sunday, it should be noted that Jones will be making his first NFL start. As such, there is a degree of uncertainty that accompanies the anticipation. To date, Jones has exuded comfort and confidence in running the Patriots offense; traits that have already endeared him to his teammates and coaching staff.
Perhaps most notably, Jones has the confidence of Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. When speaking to the media on Monday, McDaniels acknowledged that preparing for regular-season competition will bring about changes for Jones. However the Pats OC is secure in knowing that his young quarterback has both the talent and the temperament to adjust accordingly. Here’s what he had to say about Jones’ preparations for his debut on Sunday:
"I think the biggest change is just understanding that there's actually a specific opponent there in front of you. Now, being familiar with the players on the other team, the staff, the scheme and some of the specifics that we can now pinpoint and prepare for that we see on film. Prior to that, it's been a lot of practice against our defense and some other defenses that were rotating a lot of players. The best thing we can do is focus on the things we can control. I think that's what [Mac] will do and that's what we're going to advise him to do. We can't worry about the outcome, the outcome will be what it will be. We have to focus on the process, working hard to understand one, what they do, two, what we wanna do and how we're asking him to do his job. It's really going to be the same process that we'll use all year."
Hunter Henry Good to Go?
While Patriots’ prized free-agent acquisition Hunter Henry missed significant time in the preseason due to a shoulder injury, he has recently been seen at practice as a full participant in team drills. Henry has even jettisoned the ‘non-contact red jersey.’ All signs seem to point towards Henry being ready to play on Sunday against the Dolphins. Henry, himself, seemed to imply his status on Monday when asked by the media about his thoughts on Mac Jones being named the Patriots starter. The 26-year old tight end replied: “[I’m] excited to go out and compete with him this weekend.”
Calhoun works out for Dolphins
Former Patriots linebacker Shilque Calhoun worked out for the Miami Dolphins today. The 29-year-old spent the past two seasons in New England (2019, 2020). During that time, he compiled 27 tackles, 6 quarterback-hits and 2 sacks. Calhoun is a versatile depth defender who is capable of playing along the defensive line, as well as at outside linebacker. Miami might be intrigued by his ability to get after the quarterback, while finding his knowledge of the Patriots defensive system quite valuable.
Pats Play the Numbers
In addition to practice participation and attendance, the Pats also had a few jersey number changes to report on Monday. Most notably, wide receiver N’Keal Harry (currently on IR) took to social media to announce that he would be wearing the number 1, moving forward. Harry wore that number in college at Arizona State, and it was recently vacated by former Pats quarterback Cam Newton.
With Harry’s former number (15) now available, fellow receiver Nelson Agholor will now wear 15, the number he wore last season with the Las Vegas Raiders. The following number changes were also reported:
Linebacker Harvey Langi will now wear no. 52 (previously having worn no. 48)
Rookie defensive lineman Christian Barmore will now wear no. 90 (previously having worn no. 70)