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New England Patriots links 11/21/23 - Running backs bloom into bright spot on offense

Daily news and links for Tuesday

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New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins
Ezekiel Elliott
Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images

Lots of news stuffed into the links today, but I decided to focus on some positives heading into Thanksgiving. Running backs are one of them. The position started the season flat-lining for a number of reasons but is humming along now.

The ‘news’ is the media dissecting Bill O’Brien’s presser yesterday. O’Brien spoke about the quarterback situation and insinuated there is a competition among them at practice to determine this week’s starter. Karen Guregian isn’t a fan of that idea and sniffed out the possibility that Mac might be winning at practice and it’s already been shown he hasn’t been able to translate that into wins on Sundays. My guess is that it’s still Mac’s job to lose. Bill Belichick said this morning that he told everyone to be ready to play. So even if Mac starts, he could be on a very short rope.

Either way, it makes for an extra element of anticipation leading into the Week 12 matchup with the Giants at MetLife Stadium. I noticed there’s only a one-letter but a world of difference between the words “exiting” and “exciting”. Rooters-of-draft-position aside, I’m pulling for an “exciting” game on Sunday — whoever starts or exits.



  • Mike Reiss reports Bill O’Brien said Monday that the team’s starting quarterback decision will be made by head coach Bill Belichick, and that practice may help determine who it is.
  • Karen Guregian doesn’t want Mac Jones to fool anyone by winning on the practice field again.
  • Andrew Callahan sizes up the Patriots QBs as “a morass of bad passers handcuffed to one of the NFL’s least talented rosters” and wants Malik Cunningham to get a shot. “Sure, his accuracy is erratic. And he’s inexperienced. ...Unlike Jones and Zappe, Cunningham has a plan B against pressure: scramble or work to extend the play. And if he takes a sack, how is that different from what Jones is doing?”
  • Zack Cox tells us 7 things we learned about the QB situation from Bill O’Brien. 1. Sounds like a QB competition.
  • Andrew Callahan doesn’t believe Bill O’Brien when he says Mac Jones’ struggles are ‘fixable’.
  • Chris Mason spotlights the bright spots to be thankful for in this slog of a season.
  • Taylor Kyles grades the Patriots offense exiting the Bye. Running backs in bloom.
  • Tom E. Curran can’t understand why the Patriots are still not being treated like the cellar dweller that they are.
  • Jordy McElroy (Patriots Wire) Ranking 8 most disappointing players for Patriots in 2023.
  • Jordy McElroy (Patriots Wire) Studs and duds midway into Patriots’ 2023 season.
  • Mike Kadlick’s Patriots Mailbag: Will New England have a new coach in 2024?
  • Chris Mason passes along a report that the Packers poached Patriots practice squad RB Patrick Taylor.
  • Matt Dolloff finds the Patriots are already scouting top quarterback prospects for 2024.
  • Dakota Randall points out the other variables involved besides overall record, when it comes to the quest for a top NFL draft pick.
  • Matt Geagan relays Tom Brady who has a hard time thinking about Bill Belichick coaching anywhere else.
  • Dakota Randall reports Jack Jones’ first game with the Raiders looked a lot like some of his final games with the Patriots: minimal playing time and multiple mistakes.
  • Darren Hartwell notes Former Patriots CB Jack Jones sounds off about the NE media and some fans for taking his social media post out of context. /That’s the New England media in a nutshell.
  • Locked On Patriots podcast: Mike and Murph tackle Mailbag Monday: Mac Jones, Starting QB? Offensive Line and More. (38 min.)


  • Jeffri Chadiha ( The First Read: One thing each NFL team has to be thankful for entering Week 12. Patriots: No football last week.
  • Albert Breer (SI) NFL Week 11 takeaways: No one will complain about watching the Lions on Thanksgiving this year; Plus, QB injuries across the league, the Browns are all hands on deck, DaRon Bland’s pick-six record, Russell Wilson is playing better than people realize and more.
  • Will Brinson (CBS Sports) Week 11 storylines: Are the Jaguars and Trevor Lawrence about to get white hot again?
  • Jeff Kerr (CBS Sports) Week 11 overreactions and reality checks: Are Browns a playoff team? Brock Purdy MVP? Daron Bland DPOY?
  • Judy Battista ( Separation season: Which teams helped/hurt their playoff chances Sunday.
  • Steven Ruiz (The Ringer) Making sense of the AFC’s most confounding teams.
  • Staff (Bleacher Report) NFL Team Needs: Prioritizing every roster’s biggest weaknesses after Week 11. Patriots: OT, WR, QB, EDGE, CB.
  • Chad Reuter ( 2024 NFL Draft order: Patriots closer to No. 1 overall pick; Jets enter top 10.
  • Danny Heifetz (The Ringer) The Kansas City Chiefs are literally dropping the ball.
  • Michael David Smith (ProFootballTalk) Steelers fire offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
  • Charles McDonald (Yahoo! Sports) Clock should be ticking on Kenny Pickett in Pittsburgh.
  • Andrew Crane (NY Post) Zach Wilson banished to third string for Jets matchup against Dolphins.
  • Brian Costello (NY Post) Jets’ Zach Wilson failures were self-inflicted.
  • Dean Blandino & Dr. Jessica Flynn (The33rdTeam) NFL examining hip-drop tackles, could ban them. (7 min. video)
  • Danny Heifetz (The Ringer) The NFL and Amazon are coming for Black Friday … and your holiday spending. It could change the future of live sports advertising for good.