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New England Patriots links 2/17/22 - Assume the position: RBs fine, WRs need upgrade, LBs need ... something

Daily news and links for Thursday

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New England Patriots v Philadelphia Eagles
LB Josh Uche
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

TEAM TALK

LOCAL LINKS

  • Mike Reiss identifies a key question for New England: Why aren’t their young LBs emerging? Early draft picks Josh Uche, Chase Winovich and Anfernee Jennings have been wildly disappointing. Is it the scheme? New England needs answers. /Good read.
  • Dakota Randall continues his Patriots positional outlook series, with a look at one of the very best running back groups in the NFL.
  • Scott Engel (FullPressCoverage) Patriots running backs are New England’s fuel for the future.
  • Zack Cox examines the wideout group, which he feels is in need of an offseason upgrade.
  • Zack Cox considers whether free agent Dont’a Hightower will return next season. Hightower turns 32 in March.
  • Dakota Randall notes Devin McCourty is coming off another strong season but will turn 35 in August. Should the New England Patriots bring him back in free agency for a 13th season?
  • One Patriots Place podcast: Clare, Murph & Steve are joined by 3X Super Bowl Champion Matt Chatham. (1 hour)
  • Locked On Patriots podcast: Mike D’Abate and Clare Cooper discuss the Patriots top needs on both offense and defense heading into the upcoming season. (51 min.)

NATIONAL NEWS

  • Matt Miller (The Draft Scout) 2022 NFL Draft: Myths vs. truths: Separating truth from fiction as the rumor mill for the 2022 NFL offseason heats up.
  • Ben Solak (The Ringer) The new path to a Super Bowl: The last two Lombardi Trophies have been won by teams with veteran quarterbacks in their first seasons with a new franchise.
  • Adam Schein (NFL.com) NFL’s biggest Super Bowl windows right now? Bills, Chiefs and 49ers top the list. No Pats.
  • Gregg Rosenthal (NFL.com) NFL QB Index: Ranking all 62 starting QBs of the 2021 NFL season. No. 16 Mac Jones:

I never understood the narrative that the Patriots weren’t asking Mac Jones to do much. If anything, the cautious Patriots staff’s willingness to ask a lot was one of the defining traits of Jones’ rookie season. He was running a hurry-up offense while throwing the ball 40 times in the rain against Tom Brady by Week 4. Immediately stepping in as a league-average starting quarterback on over 600 dropbacks is usually a sign of great things to come. Jones needs to get stronger, but that’s attainable. His already-excellent pocket movement and accuracy are harder to learn. His ceiling looks higher than most analysts expected, Kyle Shanahan excluded.

  • Bucky Brooks (NFL.com) Top five 2022 NFL Draft prospects by position 1.0.
  • Parkins & Spiegel (670 The Score) Mike Pereira: ‘I can’t say it was a poorly officiated’ Super Bowl.
  • Nate Davis (USA Today) NFL mock draft 2022: Post-Super Bowl look. Patriots pick Alabama WR Jameson Williams at No. 22. /Mistake. Pats pick at No. 21.
  • Move the sticks (NFL.com) 2022 free agency primer. (11.11 min. video)
  • Josh Alper (ProFootballTalk) Jim Harbaugh agrees to new contract at Michigan.
  • Conduct Detrimental: The sports law podcast - Dan Wallach and Dan Lust discuss the Super Bowl, Brian Flores; Stephen Ross and Dan Snyder forced team sale; More. (1 hour)

EXTRACURRICULAR

  • Alex Reimer believes Al Michaels’ free agency forecasts what could be a wild offseason for NFL broadcasters. Michaels has likely called his last game on NBC.
  • Jacob Camenker (Sporting News) Cowboys voyeurism settlement, explained: Cheerleaders paid $2.4 million after allegations against former VP Richard Dalrymple
  • Brian Baxter (BloombergLaw) NFL taps Loretta Lynch to fend off Brian Flores bias suit.
  • Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) NFL hires former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to defend the Brian Flores lawsuit.
  • Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Deshaun Watson can now be questioned under oath in 22 pending lawsuits.