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#PostPulpit Mailbag: Exploring Trent Brown’s return and Nelson Agholor’s slow start

Related: Patriots offensive tackle Trent Brown spotted back at practice, opening 21-day window to return

NFL: New York Jets at New England Patriots Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Riding a three-game winning streak, the New England Patriots return to Foxboro for a game that could hold some serious playoff implication down the line with the Cleveland Browns. Despite the importance of Sunday’s contest, this week’s attention has been shifted to off the field, as the NFL world waited for former Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to announce his new team.

The Browns released the disgruntled star earlier this week and the Patriots were one of many teams to hold interest in acquiring Beckham’s services. However, Beckham Jr. decided to join the Los Angeles Rams Thursday afternoon, ending the ongoing saga.

Looking ahead to Sunday, both sides already appear to be running out of steam. As Cleveland lost running backs Nick Chubb and Demetric Felton to positive Covid-19 tests, New England has been without Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson, who are both in concussion protocol.

So, now that the stage is set, let’s hop into this week’s #PostPulpit mailbag.

@laurapied What’s your take on the “dirty” play by Mac Jones on the Panther player that hurt his ankle? I missed it and can’t find a good clip of it where I can see what happened.

Mac Jones was in the headlines this week after getting tied up with Panthers defensive end Brian Burns. For anyone who has not seen a good clip of the play:

As Mac said throughout the week, he just believed Burns had the ball and was trying to stop the play. Jones absolutely twists Burns ankle as that was really the only way he had a chance of getting Burns to the ground. The fact that people are saying he did it maliciously or with the intent to injure the lineman is where I would draw the line.

Also, Burns’ response to this play the last few days has been quite odd. Burns wished fellow defensive ends in the league “happy hunting” on Jones, while adding he hopes to play the Patriots again.

@beaud0in What’s the best way to get agholor involved more?

Agholor was finally able to haul in a deep ball from Mac Jones two weeks ago against the Chargers before being held off the scoresheet in Carolina. To me, the Patriots are close to hitting on more of these deep balls, but Agholor and Jones are not always on the same page. There have been several instances on some comeback/back shoulder passes where the timing is wrong between the two.

On more of the deep passes, Agholor getting open hasn't been the problem, the two just have not been able to connect for whatever the reason (like the play below). If the rookie and receiver can get on the same page, look for Agholor to really start capitalizing down the field.

Ronnie Perkins was widely considered to be a steal during this year’s NFL Draft — falling to the Patriots at No. 96 overall. Perkins was an impressive EDGE rusher throughout his three years at Oklahoma, pilling up 16.5 sacks. As a run defender however, he often appeared to rely on his strength and often had discipline issues (chasing lead blockers, backs, etc.). With a loaded group of linebackers and EDGE defenders, New England is certainly in no rush to push Perkins into game action. He is basically undergoing a redshirt season unless a significant injury bug strikes Foxboro.

@Chris69193368 Why are the pats players so public about the whole OBJ thing? Usually bill tells them not to be so public

It was different to hear so many Patriot players not only talk about Beckham, but admit that he’s been a topic of conversation inside the locker room. We’ve heard from leaders like Devin McCourty, quarterback Mac Jones, and even from fellow wide receivers such as Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor.

It’s certainly an usual sight to hear this much about a player who is not on the roster. Whether Belichick is pushing his team to campaign for the former All-Pro or if maybe he is adapting some of his player media policies to today’s NFL players. Your guess is as good as mine, but the public praise for Beckham certainly couldn't have hurt their chances of landing the receiver.

@Bamber413 What’s the over/under on how many weeks before Trent Brown comes back?

Well, the over/under is now 2.5 weeks as Trent Brown’s 21-day activation window opened on Wednesday as the tackle was back at Patriots practice. It’s a welcome sight, as Brown has largely (no pun intended) been MIA since playing just seven snaps in Week 1.

If he returns healthy, the real question is where he plugs back into the lineup. Obviously, the team envisioned their best five heading into the season with him at right tackle and Michael Onwenu at left guard. With Onwenu playing so well at right tackle, would they bump Brown back to left tackle - a position he dominated at in 2018 — and perhaps try Isaiah Wynn at left guard? One would assume they would transition back to the set-up they used all throughout the offseason and in Week 1, but having contingency plans is never a bad thing.

@Nate_Soto28 Any chance we see Brian poole soon cause I know we signed him to the PS

Well, since this was asked, Poole was released from the Patriots practice squad — perhaps a domino affect of how well Myles Bryant as played in the slot the past few weeks. With an open spot on the practice squad, it would not be a surprise to see a new running back brought into the fold, as both Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson are in concussion protocol.

@Dongatello If a jimmy Garropolo was left on your doorstep one night, would you take him in?

No, thanks. I will take my Mac Jones, please and thank you.

@RealChrisSiegel can Ben simmons play TE?

One would have to imagine he’s better at catching a football than shooting a basketball, right? Either way, he’d be quite the red zone threat at 6-foot-11 — as long as it’s not for $33 million dollars.

That’s all for this week’s #PostPulpit mailbag. If you have questions you’d liked to be answered next week, submit them on Twitter using #PostPulpit! Make sure to be following @iambrianhines and @PatsPulpit as well!