Sunday 7: Patriots QB roster decision may be influenced by other positions

Ryan Hannable
August 25, 2019 - 6:00 am

1. Following Brian Hoyer not playing at all in preseason game No. 3 last Thursday, the debate of how many quarterbacks the Patriots will carry has heated up. Do the Patriots carry both Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham to backup Tom Brady, or just go with Stidham? Going into training camp it seemed like all three would make the team, but now it’s trending towards being just Brady and Stidham — and it has more to do with the rest of the roster. The Patriots have one of the deepest rosters they have had in years, which will make for some difficult cuts next week. Bill Belichick is all about value and getting the most out of every player on the roster, so does it really make sense to keep three quarterbacks and in turn have to cut a talented player who likely would have been able to contribute? Think about it — does keeping Hoyer and cutting a player such as Keion Crossen, Duke Dawson or even Elandon Roberts make sense? No, especially for a coach like Belichick. If the roster wasn’t as deep as it is, a better argument could be made for keeping Hoyer, but with how many talented players there are on the 90-man roster, it seems hard to envision Belichick keeping Hoyer.

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2. Observing the Patriots sideline Thursday night against the Panthers, it’s pretty clear Jerod Mayo is the one calling the defensive plays. While all the coaches are on the headsets, Mayo is the only one with a play sheet in his hands. Belichick hasn’t yet confirmed anything when it comes to play-calling, for obvious reasons, but it appears at least for now the first-year coach is calling the plays. This doesn’t mean he’s the defensive coordinator by any means since it’s likely Belichick will play a heavy role in coming up with the gameplan. But when it comes to gameday, Mayo appears to be on the one running the show.

3. As it relates to Patrick Chung’s situation, it’s hard to envision it impacting his status for Week 1. With the start of the season being so close, the league doesn’t seem to have enough time to evaluate the case and come to a decision on possible discipline. Also, the NFL usually doesn’t make rulings until legal cases are completely wrapped up. If this goes to trial, it may not be until after the season. If Chung is healthy and Belichick allows him to play, he should be on the field Sept. 8.

4. Do not be surprised in the least to see the Patriots make a trade or two over the next week or so. They have an excess number of linebackers and cornerbacks, while are weak at the tight end and offensive tackle positions. There’s no question Nick Caserio, Belichick and Co. will be working the phones the next few days to see if players at these positions are available. Also, when the Patriots make their 53-man roster next Saturday, don’t think that’s what it will be going into Week 1 against the Steelers. The Patriots likely will be looking at the waiver wire every day to see if upgrades can be had.

5. Undrafted rookie Gunner Olszewski has impressed a ton of people this summer. Even more impressive is him being a cornerback his entire life until this spring when the Patriots wanted to see him as a receiver. He reminds us a lot of Julian Edelman when he was a rookie and how he was playing wide receiver for the first time. They also appear to have similar personalities. Them spending quite a bit together on the sidelines Thursday night caught our eye.

6. A storyline making the rounds over the weekend is Jimmy Garoppolo being a bad practice player. A quote from Patriots radio analyst Scott Zolak from Thursday has surfaced with him saying Garoppolo is “one of the worst practice quarterbacks” the team has had. This has been blown way out of proportion. Garoppolo certainly wasn’t a great practice player, but saying he’s one of the worst is doing him a huge disservice. The current 49ers QB undoubtedly looked better in games, but he wasn’t as bad in practice as this quote makes him seem. 

7. The Patriots will have some interesting decisions to make Thursday night against the Giants. Receivers Edelman, Josh Gordon and Demaryius Thomas have yet to play in the preseason and this would be their last chance before the regular season. Gordon obviously would need to come off NFI in order to do so, but does it really make sense for any of them? It’s not like Tom Brady would play extensive snaps (if he played at all), so it may be a case where these players get as much work with Brady on the practice field as they can before Week 1 against the Steelers.

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