Patriots Downplay Potentially Serious Issue Heading Into Bye Week

Getty New England Patriots, Bill Belichick

Is the New England Patriots offense so predictable that opposing linebackers call out the plays? It appears that way. Is this a major problem? According to the Patriots, not so much.

Head coach Bill Belichick discussed the New York Jets’ CJ Mosley and the Indianapolis Colts’ Shaq Leonard apparently calling out the team’s offensive plays before they happened during the Week 8 and 9 games.

Per a quote captured by NESN’s Zack Cox, Belichick said, “it was almost like (Mosley) heard the play in the huddle he was so fast.”

The Boston Globe’s Jim McBride captured a quote from Patriots safety Adrian Phillips:

“If you’re a student of the game and you watch film, you’re going to pick up on some things that the offense does,” Phillips said Wednesday. “Sometimes you’re right; sometimes you’re wrong. It’s really not a big deal. Everybody across the league does it. If you watch film and if you’re a good player and you go out there and make the plays more times than not, you’ll pick up on a play or two.”

McBride also captured quarterback Mac Jones’ take on the concept, which is interesting considering that the defenses are picking up on his calls at the line of scrimmage.

“Like I always say, in the NFL, there’s good players everywhere. We watch film, we sometimes know what teams are doing, sometimes we don’t,’’ said the quarterback. “I think people just watch a lot of film and there’s good players out there, so you just have to give credit where credit’s due. Obviously, we want to fix anything that we’re giving away, but at the end of the day, we’ve got plenty, and we just need to do better.’’

The Patriots don’t seem overly concerned, but there may be more to this than what is being acknowledged by New England. During the Patriots win over the Jets in Week 8, rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner seemed to sniff out multiple quick passes and wide receiver screens.

Is New England tipping their plays? Does it all boil down to a rudimentary and overly simplistic approach to playcalling from Matt Patricia?

It’s possible, but whatever it is, the Patriots’ attack has to improve if they hope to reach the playoffs and advance if they get there.


Around the NFL: Jeff Saturday Addresses the Media

The Patriots handed the Colts a lopsided 26-3 loss in Week 9 thanks to a stifling defense that recorded nine sacks. The loss was the final straw for owner Jim Irsay, who decided to fire head coach Frank Reich and replace him with former All-Pro center Jeff Saturday on an interim basis.

Many have and will continue to question the Colts’ decision to bring in a guy with no NFL coaching experience. The Colts will also draw some criticism because they are seemingly hurdling the mandated interview process. Still, you have to love the honesty and passion Saturday displayed when he met the media for the first time on Wednesday.

Take a look:

The Colts will be interesting for the rest of the season, if nothing else.


Around the NFL: CBS Sports Points Outs Eye-Opening Justin Fields Numbers

While the Patriots’ Jones seems to be regressing, another quarterback drafted in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft is coming into his own.

The Chicago Bears’ Justin Fields–whom the Patriots saw up close in a loss on Monday Night Football in Week 7–has been wreaking havoc on opposing defenses.

Take a look at the stunning statistics CBS Sports posted about Fields’ play this season.

If you’d asked most people which quarterback from the 2021 class looked like the best player, you probably would have heard Jones’ name more times than not. Ask that same question today; almost everyone would tell you it’s Fields.

It looks like the Bears might have finally found themselves a franchise quarterback.

 

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