Guy Boston Sports

I previously worked as a free lance blogger covering the New England Patriots for a website called Guy Boston Sports.

Below are three of my blogs that were published this Spring, as well as a button where you can find author page.

Patriots Mailbag – Does This Team Have Enough to Compete?

By: Mike Kadlick – June 9, 2021

As Patriots OTA’s wrap up this week, we’re slowly starting to get a sense of where things stand with the team heading into training camp. After Julio Jones was traded to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, it looks like New England is going to stick with the wide receiver room that they have. The chances of star cornerback Stephon Gilmore being traded also don’t seem too high.

The one player I am curious about is Dont’a Hightower. An opt-out in 2020, Hightower has yet to be at the Patriots facility for optional offseason training. We may get out answer on Hightower next week when the team enters their mandatory mini camp on June 14.

Thank you to everyone for your Twitter questions. With your help we are able to debut the Guy Boston Sports Patriots Mailbag:

Which Free Agents Could the Patriots Still Sign?

The Patriots have solid players at just about every position heading into the summer. KJ Doyle wrote a top 25 list of remaining NFL free agents a few weeks ago, check it out here. New England potentially coming in at the 11th hour and taking a chance on cornerback Richard Sherman would excite me. I think he’s still got some gas in the tank, and you can never have enough depth in the backend of your defense. I could also see them taking a flier on Golden Tate to bulk up the wide receiver room.

Position Battles to Watch?

Quarterback is the obvious answer here, but I’m curious to see what the Patriots will do at the linebacker/EDGE position. They’ve quickly gone from no talent to too much talent in that area, and there are now a lot of mouths to feed. The room consists of Matt JudonKyle Van Noy, Dont’a Hightower, Ja’Whaun BentleyChase WinovichJosh UcheRonnie Perkins, and Raekwon McMillanAnfernee Jennings, a third round pick just a year ago, could end up being cut due to this stacked Patriots defense.

Who Will be the Most Utilized Running Back? How Much Will Each Running Back Play?

Damien Harris. Damien Harris. DAMIEN HARRIS! I am expecting a monster season from the third-year running back out of Alabama. With an offensive line that was able to retain David Andrews and bring Trent Brown back, Harris should have nothing but green grass to work with this season. According to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Harris ranked as the 10th most explosive runner in 2020.

As far as the other running backs go, I would expect James White and J.J. Taylor to be in the rotation as pass catching backs. Then they’ll use Rhamondre Stevenson and Sony Michel to spell Harris when he needs it. Don’t get it twisted though, Harris isn’t splitting carries. Damien Harris should be and will be the bell cow for this offense.

Who Will be the Surprise Cut?

I think there’s a chance we don’t see Sony Michel on the roster come week one. The running back room has some depth now after drafting Stevenson in the third round. The Patriots did not pick up Michel’s fifth-year option, making him expendable. They will want Brandon Bolden on special teams, so Michel could be the odd man out.

Other surprise cut candidates include N’Keal Harry, Chase Winovich, and Cam Newton.

Will There be a True Quarterback Competition?

Absolutely. The Patriots didn’t draft Mac Jones 15th overall to let him marinate on the bench. Belichick can play the “Cam’s our starter” card all he wants, but as I’ve noted in the past, rookie’s almost always play sooner than expected.

From When Will Mac Jones Play?:

The narrative with rookie quarterbacks, outside of the phenoms who step in week one, is that they will redshirt for their entire rookie season and just learn from the guys in the room. However, this rarely plays out in practice. A few recent examples:

Blake Bortles became Jaguars starter over Chad Henne in week three

Deshaun Watson became Texans starter over Tom Savage in week two

Tua Tagovailoa became Dolphins starter over Ryan Fitzpatrick in week eight

There’s no doubt in my mind that they’re going to give Jones the chance to win the job during training camp. He was already taking second reps behind Newton to start OTA’s. May the best man win.

Are the Patriots Trying to Avoid a Mac Jones vs. Tom Brady Matchup?

For some reason I don’t think Belichick is going to make a big deal out of this. I think the Patriots are going to play the best player at the position regardless of the semantics surrounding the game. Do we really think Belichick would rather lose with Newton than win with Mac Jones? No way. Belichick wants to win the game and prove he is the reason behind the Patriots success, no matter who he has behind center.

What Will the Patriots Week 1 Quarterback Room Look Like?

  1. Mac Jones
  2. Cam Newton
  3. Brian Hoyer

What are the Patriots Chances of Winning the AFC East?

Julio Jones as a number one wide receiver would have helped, but I think the Patriots will certainly compete in the AFC East. The teams weakest position is wide receiver, and they have still drastically improved from last year. The defense is going to be outstanding, and if the offense runs the way it seems like it can, they will be ahead of Miami and compete at the top of the division with Buffalo.

We will know more about this team as the summer moves on, but I’m confident in the improvements they’ve made. The team finishes up OTA’s this week, and will conduct their mandatory mini camp June 14-16.

When Will Mac Jones Play?

Mac Jones

By: Mike Kadlick – May 27, 2021

The Patriots selected Alabama quarterback Mac Jones with the 15th overall pick in the NFL draft, presumably to be the team’s quarterback of the future. Now that they have their guy, the next question is simple: when will he actually play?

After signing veteran signal caller Brian Hoyer to his fourth stint with the team, the Patriots quarterback room now consists of Cam Newton, Brian Hoyer, Jarrett Stidham, and Mac Jones. When he drafted Jones last month, coach Bill Belichick told the media, “Cam’s our quarterback… whatever time Jarrett (Stidham) or Mac are ready to challenge him and compete, we’ll see how that goes.” When asked when a transition would take place, Belichick gave a typical Belichick answer:

The narrative with rookie quarterbacks, outside of the phenoms who step in week one, is that they will redshirt for their entire rookie season and just learn from the guys in the room. However, this rarely plays out in practice. A few recent examples:

The belief with this years quarterback class is that Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson will step in right away, while Trey Lance and Justin Fields are considered projects. The wildcard is Mac Jones.

When Jones was the presumed number three overall pick to San Francisco, it was because he was deemed the most NFL-ready by many league pundits – specifically Chris Simms. Simms said that, “after Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson… he’s the most NFL ready right now.”

Simms has since changed his stance on Jones starting right away. When asked on his Unbuttoned podcast who he thinks will be the rookie quarterback that takes over mid-season to save their franchise, Simms said that: “I’m going to take Mac Jones out of there right now. I do have faith in Cam, that team, and that his year will be good enough. [Cam] will play the whole year.”

ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky diagrees. Orlovsky was asked who should start between Newton and Jones for the Patriots season. He said that, “Jones SHOULD be their day one starter, [and] I think Jones WILL be their day one starter.” Orlovsky said that this draft pick was about the Patriots going, “back to their old school offense a little bit. The offense that they ran for such a long time with Tom Brady.”

He also mentioned that New England offense is going to be heavy on the run game this season and that “this is a top five offensive line in the NFL… When you do that, third down becomes paramount. Third and five or less is going to be about decision making and accuracy… I think that’s where Mac Jones is going to have a distinct advantage versus Cam Newton.”

The simple answer to the question is that we don’t know. Right now it seems like Cam Newton will be allowed to control his own destiny. If he can win football games and show he has improved his throwing, then it will be his job to lose. However, if Newton plays the way he played last season post-COVID, we may see the rookie sooner rather than later.

The signing of Brian Hoyer also throws a wrench into this. With four quarterbacks now under contract, someone is destined to be a cut candidate. Will the Patriots let Jarrett Stidham go? Will they use Hoyer as a rental/teacher for Mac Jones and then cut ties during September cut downs? We will find out their plan soon enough. The Patriots began their offseason training period on Monday, May 24, with the first day of media availability being Thursday, May 27.

Will the Patriots Trade Up for a Quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft?

Trey Lance, Mac Jones, Justin Fields

By: Mike Kadlick – April 16, 2021

With the NFL draft just under two weeks away, there are plenty of questions that remain unanswered. One that seems to be on everyone’s mind lately: will the Patriots trade up for a quarterback?

Several different mock draft’s from NFL analysts have the Patriots doing so. Most notably, Mel Kiper from ESPN. He has New England trading up for the 10th pick to select Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields.

The team seems to be taking a more collaborative approach to the draft this season, which team owner Robert Kraft hinted at earlier this month. “I don’t feel we’ve done the greatest job the last few years and I really hope, and I believe — I have seen a different approach this year,” he said during NFL owners meetings.

Patriots head coach and general manager Bill Belichick held his first press conference of the offseason on Thursday and gave some insight into the team’s thoughts heading into the draft.

He told reporters that this year’s quarterback class is “definitely an interesting group.” Thus far, the Patriots have sent their brass to all of the top signal caller’s pro days.

Belichick was asked about the possibility of moving up the board to draft a quarterback. NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry reported that he said they wouldn’t rule this out – but that it applies to all positions, not just quarterback.

A trade this far up the board would be unprecedented for the Patriots. However, in an offseason where they shelled out over $159 million in guaranteed money to free agents, anything seems possible. The draft kicks off on April 29, less than two weeks away.