Sunday 7: Do Patriots have an age problem?

Ryan Hannable
May 31, 2020 - 6:00 am

1. Even losing a 42-year-old Tom Brady this offseason, the Patriots still have one of the oldest rosters in the NFL, especially on defense. Defensively, they have one of, if not the oldest units in the entire league. Just look at their best players on that side of the ball: Devin McCourty (32 years old), Dont’a Hightower (30 years old), Lawrence Guy (30 years old) and Stephon Gilmore (29 years old). It’s unknown what the rookies from this year will turn out to be, but the Patriots need them to turn into impact players because those players mentioned do not have many years left in them and the team doesn't seem to have many players in place to take over to lead the way. Even on offense, Julian Edelman is its best player right now and he’s 34 years old, not to mention Marcus Cannon (32 years old), Mohamed Sanu (30 years old), Rex Burkhead (29 years old) and James White (28 years old). While it doesn’t seem to be an issue right now, the Patriots need to keep this in mind moving forward. While it’s good to have veterans to help set a good example, the organization is trending towards having too many of them, which could impact the future.

2. Earlier this week we wrote about N’Keal Harry doing better with Jarrett Stidham as his quarterback, and the same can be said for Jakobi Meyers as well. Meyers was clearly impacted by not wanting to let Tom Brady down on multiple occasions last season. “You only get so many chances, honestly," he said following the December game against Houston. "So I need to tighten up, get my stuff together, make sure we don’t have no more instances like that. Hopefully we don’t do that again.” It seems unlikely Meyers will be making such comments with Stidham at quarterback as he will be in his second year and is still learning too.

3. The Stidham-Brian Hoyer debate continued this week and we still maintain it makes zero sense to start Hoyer in Week 1 of the regular season. Also, the actions of the organization this offseason by not drafting a quarterback high in the draft or going after a player like Cam Newton shows it has confidence in Stidham and wants to see what he can do when the lights shine bright.

4. On Friday’s Ordway, Merloni & Fauria, former NFL general manager Mike Tannenbaum called the Patriots running backs room the best position room in the entire NFL. When discussing the players, he mentioned Damien Harris, who was only active for two games last season as a rookie. Even with the same players on the roster, it’s very likely Harris has more of a role this season and the Patriots could rely on their running backs more than any other team in the league. 

5. “The Match: Champions for Charity” was a massive success on so many levels, including raising more than $20 million for COVID-19. One of the highlights of the match was Brady holing out from the middle of the fairway for birdie on the seventh hole. It’s a good thing Brady did this when he did because things were not going well for him early on and this caused him to be much more loose. It’s worth wondering what would have happened if he continued to struggle because everyone knows he doesn’t handle losing well.

6. One reason why the new alternative to an onside kick with a fourth-and-15 play didn’t pass is perhaps fear of some of the best offenses and quarterbacks in the NFL. Just think of the Chiefs with Patrick Mahomes. They could convert two in a row and their opponent could potentially not see the ball for the final 10-plus minutes of a game, or they could come back from a 21-point deficit in a heartbeat.

7. The NFL offseason program has been extended two weeks, which will take it until mid-June. This is longer than most years as typically teams break for the summer the first week of the month. While coaches and some players may be able to return to facilities at some point this month, it doesn’t seem likely full squad workouts will be able to be had. With that being said, getting coaches and some players back into the facilities is a positive sign towards the regular season starting on time.

Related: Devin McCourty, wife share emotional posts mourning loss of child