Random Thoughts from the Stands: 2022 Recap
I didn’t write a "Random Thoughts From The Stands“ this year, so I thought I would fix that a little bit by looking back and forward some. Keep in mind that these are just home game moments.
The Bears Game/The Worst Of The Year: Not only did the Patriots lose that game in their worst of performance of the year but the fans put on their worst behavior of the year. Mac Jones played bad and threw an interception early in the second quarter and he got benched. Before he got benched their were a lot of boos. I almost never boo and I didn’t then. The Zappe chants were the worst. I have heard backup QB chants before but this was the most unfair. Looking back at it and to brake the Zappe myth, Zappe threw for one TD and 2 INT’s. When Zappe came in the crowd went wild and that soon subsided when he actually played. I wasn’t happy with the crowd behaving that way. Crowds will be crowds but I think they went overboard that night.
The Lions Game/The Best Game of the Year: We had the best tailgate weather and we had 14 people from our crew attend. We had three Lions fans with us. Two had no tickets but used a website that was tracking the dropping prices prior to the game. When the price got low enough they bought them. The Lions had the most productive offense in the NFL coming into that game. As you recall the defense and solid rushing from Stevenson were the keys to that 29-0 win. Zappe was good enough to win throwing for 188 yards and 1 TD and 1 INT. Also, another key was that Dan Campbell went 0/6 in fourth down attempts. The Lions fan that went with me was upset and frustrated that Campbell didn’t take the points on some of those fourth down attempts. Campbell made a lot of bad calls that day. As it turned out the Lions really took off in the second half of the year.
The Best Play of the Year: The best play of the year was the Marcus Jones 84-yard punt return with 5 seconds left to win the game against the New York Jets. It wasn’t the most exciting game of the year but when you are at the game it is different. You hang on every play and when it's tied in the fourth quarter you just want the Patriots to win. The Patriots held the Jets to just two yards in the second half. We can debate wether the Jets should have even punted it to Jones but they did.It was great that they did. Marcus Jones got couple of good blocks, made a couple of good cuts and he was gone. The crowd went wild - it was the loudest we had been all day and all year for that matter. It was amazing to see live and the play came right towards me. I watched it over and over on the big board and watched it over and over when I got home.
Going Back/Forward on the 2022 Patriots Draft :
1st Round Pick: LG Cole Strange : Many will remember Cole just for the fact that he was benched later in the season but I will remember him for the entire season. Being a rookie LG in the NFL isn’t easy especially when the LT in Trent Brown doesn’t play well. As someone that watches the line play a lot through my binoculars I think he did alright. He is a strong kid and I think he will get bigger and stronger next year. I think he will be a solid LG in this league. Of course the fact that he was a first-round pick as a guard will be use to downgrade him but I don’t care anymore.
2nd Round Pick: WR Tyquan Thornton: First off, Thornton got hurt in preseason and missed the start of the season. He showed speed and separation when he played. He had 22 receptions and 2 TDs. I am not overly worried about his frame or durability at this point. I think he has a chance to improve.
3rd Round Pick: DB Marcus Jones: So here it is, the best pick of the Patriots draft so far right here!! He played some CB, PR, and WR. He has speed. Speed is something the Patriots need more of and with Marcus Jones and Thornton they got it in this draft, so hopefully speed on this team is on the rise. Going forward he may be a slot back or, who knows, he may be a slot receiver. He is the real deal as a punt returner. I am excited for his future here. I read the other day he wants to play defense but he will do anything to help the team.
4th Round Pick: DB Jack Jones: I think Jack Jones had a solid rookie season. His tackling in the first part of the season was too high for my liking but he tackled lower and better as the season went along. He also had 2 interceptions. I am not overly concerned about the suspension although it is certainly not good. It is something we have to watch. He could be a starter on this team.
4th Round: RB Pierre Strong: He is another one of the draft picks that has speed. He didn’t get many carries. He had 10 for 100 yards, a long run of 44 yards, and 1 TD. Maybe he will get a chance as a receiving back.
4th Round Pick: QB Bailey Zappe: After seeing Bailey Zappe with this offense in 4 games and starts, I have no idea if he will become a starter in the NFL. I know he is a fan favorite but the backup QB often is until he plays.
6th Round Pick: RB Kevin Harris: He didn’t see much action but I liked him in training camp.
6th Round Pick: DT Sam Roberts: He didn’t play much. I have no clue what his future is.
6th Round Pick: G Chasen Hines: He didn’t play at all.
6th Round Pick: T Andrew Stueber: He got here but the Patriots are going to need depth at OT so you never know.
Friends Of Bill: Before and during the search for a new OC, Tom E. Curran wrote that he didn’t think any candidates outside of “Friends of Bill: would be interviewed for the job and he was right. All of the candidates like O’Brien, Nick Caley, Adrian Klemm, Keenan McCardell, and Shawn Jefferson were coaches or players under Belichick. I had read that maybe they would look at people outside of the Patriots circle of people Bill knew well, that guys like Adam Gase and Frank Reich would get an interview, but they never did. I am thrilled that Bill O’Brien is the new OC; he is the guy that I wanted last year. Here is what I would like to see them do with the coaching staff going forward: fire Cam Achord and take Troy Brown and move him to special teams coach along with one Patriots coaching assistant currently on the staff, guys like V’Angelo Bentley or Keith Jones. Belichick has promoted a lot of coaching assistants in the past. Now, I have heard that Joe Judge will be retained and moved back to special teams. I hope that isn’t true as I would like to have a clean break from him. Hire Shawn Jefferson as wide receivers coach. The spacing with receivers last year was not good so I would bring in a veteran coach like Shawn Jefferson to go along with Bill O’Brien in improving that. Make O’Brien QBs coach. We don’t want anyone else coaching Mac Jones other than O’Brien. That way he gets direct coaching. As OL coach I think they will hire either hire Adrian Klemm or Ryan Wendell, two more Friends Of Bill. Not only are they friends of Bill but they were trained as offensive linemen by Dante Scarnecchia. Let’s go Belichick - there is work to be done improving this coaching staff.
Germany Game: The Patriots will be playing in Germany as the home team thus taking away a home game from Patriots season ticket holders such as myself. I know the NFL is a business but this is not good for the loyal paying people that support the Patriots. I’m not happy.