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New England Patriots links 10/20/21 - Pats uber-conservative on 4th downs; Fans say lift restraints

Daily news and links for Wednesday

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NFL: OCT 17 Cowboys at Patriots
Mac Jones gets a lift from David Andrews after a TD pass
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images



  • Evan Lazar analyzes how the Patriots and Bill Belichick became the most conservative team in the NFL. The Patriots are playing not to lose based on their conservative decisions.
  • Zack Cox puts a hat on Week 6 with some final Pats-Cowboys thoughts: Where Mac Jones really improved and More; Plus: The Patriots have been uber-conservative on fourth down.
  • Bill Burt sees the Pats as more like 2000 than 2001. ‘Mind you the 2000 Patriots finished 5-11... More importantly, in nine of those 11 losses, the Patriots lost by eight or fewer points and had the opportunity to take the lead or tie in eight of them in the fourth quarter. In other words, they lost a lot of exciting, close games. ...The Patriots’ road to the top, which many of us expect to happen, will take more time than we’re used to. Get over it.’
  • Karen Guregian reports Mac Jones’ resilience continues to impress the Patriots coaching staff. Maybe they can try not to test it quite so much each week.
  • Jerry Thornton explains how as good as you think Mac Jones is, he’s been better than that.
  • Andy Hart looks at the statistical trends starting to take hold across the league: Numbers slot Mac Jones as clearly NFL’s best rookie QB.
  • Zack Cox relays Kendrick Bourne explaining one difference between Mac Jones and former teammate Jimmy Garoppolo: Garoppolo has a more powerful arm, but Jones throws a more catchable ball. “Mac, he’s throwing it hard, but when you catch it, it’s like a pillow, man.”
  • Chris Mason addresses 3 lingering questions: Can Rhamondre Stevenson fill James White’s pass-catching role?
  • Karen Guregian notes Josh McDaniels voices confidence in the offense to make fourth down plays, but he defers to Bill Belichick on those calls.
  • Hayden Bird highlights Mac Jones on why he doesn’t mind getting hit, “The best part is getting back up and knowing that you’re fine and you can just go out there and keep playing.”
  • Karen Guregian notes Josh McDaniels says he is encouraged by Rhamondre Stevenson as a pass catcher.
  • Mike D’Abate (PatriotMaven) Patriots place Chase Winovich on Injured Reserve: What impact will it have?
  • Zack Cox talks about how the Patriots will handle being without Chase Winovich (hamstring) for at least the next three games.
  • Henry McKenna (PatriotsWire) Ty Law rips Patriots defense: ‘I’m really upset about what’s going on’.
  • CBS Boston notes that nearly 30 million people tuned in to see the thrilling end of Patriots-Cowboys.
  • Jaleel Grandberry (MusketFire) 3 Mac Jones moments vs Cowboys that should have fans believing.
  • Zipporah Osei hears from readers on what were the best and worst moments of the Patriots’ dynasty.
  • Locked On Patriots podcast: Mike and Murph break down the good, the bad and the ugly in the Pats’ loss to the Cowboys. (41 min.)
  • Patriots Fourth and Two podcast: Derek and Steve look back at the Patriots loss to the Cowboys, and preview the upcoming game against the Jets. (58 min.)


  • Josh Alper (ProFootballTalk) Josh McDaniels confident offense can make critical plays, won’t argue with Bill Belichick decisions.
  • Jenny Vrentas (SI) 6 things to know after Week 6: Ravens in control of the AFC; Plus, Bills did the right thing on fourth down, why Dak’s injury could be an issue, offensive background for defensive stars, Germany game; More.
  • Cody Benjamin (CBS Sports) One thing we learned about each NFL team in Week 6 of 2021 season. Patriots: Despite all the offseason hoopla, they might end up being worse than in 2020. Not surprising, perhaps, with a rookie QB, but still, the expectations were raised with their spending. Bill Belichick’s defense is so unpredictable (in a bad way) right now.
  • Anthony Treash (PFF) NFL Week 6 Team of the Week & Awards.
  • Barry Werner (TouchdownWire) NFL Week 7 announcers’ schedule. Jets at Patriots on CBS: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton.
  • Cameron Filipe (Football Zebras) Week 7 referee assignments. Jets at Patriots: Brad Rogers.
  • Chris Trapasso (CBS Sports) Grading NFL’s next generation of QBs. Mac Jones grade: B; Season grade: B-.
  • Sam Monson (PFF) Grading all 32 first-round picks after Week 6. 15th - Jones was very impressive this week against Dallas. He barely missed a throw all game, completing 71.4% of his passes with an 84.2% adjusted completion rate. Unfortunately for him, when he did miss, it ended up in the hands of Trevon Diggs and went back the other way for a touchdown. The Patriots also didn’t exactly lean on their young quarterback and give him a chance to make as many plays as he could have, electing to kneel rather than try to score before the half with 90 seconds on the clock. Jones is accurate and doesn’t miss many throws, but he has been running the training-wheels version of this offense, and they need to come off at some point.
  • Michael Renner (PFF) NFL Rookies: Top 15 highest-graded players through Week 6. Mac Jones 3rd: Jones earned a 92.5 overall grade against the Cowboys in Week 6 — the best game of his young career. The former Alabama star hasn’t had a truly below-average game grade since Week 2 against the Jets. He now ranks seventh in adjusted completion percentage on the season (78.9%), as he’s rarely missing throws.
  • David Carr ( Offensive player rankings, Week 7. No Pats.
  • Steven Ruiz (The Ringer) Who has the edge in the NFL MVP race a third of the way through the season? No Pats.
  • Josh Edwards (CBS Sports) NFL Week 7 Rookie Power Rankings: Race for Offensive Rookie of the Year heats up.
  • Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Once unconventional, go-for-it aggressiveness on fourth down is becoming the norm.
  • @NFL (Twitter) The Best throws from Week 6. (2 min. video) Mac Jones to Kendrick Bourne included.
  • Conor McQuiston (PFF) Examining quarterback aging and Tom Brady’s race against Father Time.