Assuming the Patriots have five running backs, who makes the team? -Dennis Laughman
At this point, I’m going to project five riders to make the roster and that would be Rhamondre Stevenson, Damien Harris, James White, Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris. Also, I can see Ty Montgomery in a versatile Brandon Bolden-style role where he can play special teams, serve as a running back and receiver.
I have a similar question but from a different perspective. Which coaches (and players, if any) will be involved in creating the offensive game plan each week? Does Bill Belichick get involved or does he just go along with it once the plan is created? And who will Mac go to when he walks off the field after a three and out? That will be interesting to watch as it will provide a clear indication of who is communicating with him. -Mark Wright
I think Belichick has always been the guy who has largely been responsible for the game plans each week, both offensively and defensively. In the past, I think he’s been comfortable with his coordinators following those plans and allowing them to call the plays however they see fit. That has certainly been the case in recent years with Josh McDaniels. I would expect Belichick to be more involved this year due to his lack of experience on the offensive side of the ball. As a result, he could be more active in the play-calling process, but that could be hard to determine over the course of a game because Belichick is so involved with everything as a head coach. I could see Jones talking to Matt Patricia and Joe Judge at times, and it’s also possible that he’s on the headset talking to a coach in the booth and that will make it even more difficult to understand. But my gut feeling is that Patricia will be the one Jones talks to most of the time.
Typically, New England likes to have two quarterbacks and keep a third on the practice squad. With Mac heading into his sophomore year and the Patriots drafting a quarterback, do you think we could see Brian Hoyer as the odd man out or even on a practice squad? -Kyle DePaul
I think Hoyer will surely be the primary backup, even if he ends up spending some time on the practice squad like he did last year. He will be promoted and serve as a backup, and the fact that he has some money guaranteed in his contract tells me that he will be here. Bailey Zappe has a chance to stay as the No. 3 quarterback, either as part of the 53-man roster or the practice squad. I guess Zappe’s performance this summer might help clear that up. If he plays really well, the Patriots may not feel confident getting him through waivers to the practice squad, but Zappe might also want to stay with the team after he learns the system and feels comfortable in Foxborough. Sorry for the noncommittal nature of the answer, but the bottom line is that I think all three will be part of the Patriots in 2022.
It looks like Tre Nixon has shown some flashes that could potentially land him a role on the practice squad or maybe even find a way to get some in-game snaps this year. One name that people seemed to hold in high regard by the end of the year was Kristian Wilkerson. Has Nixon passed Wilkerson on the depth chart? Wilkerson obviously only started one game last year, but it was the next one when N’Keal Harry was out. I’d love to know who you think he has the advantage at that WR5 or WR6 spot. -Josh O’Neal
For the most part, Wilkerson and Nixon play different positions with Nixon primarily as a slots option and Wilkerson on the outside. Last year, when Harry went down, it made more sense to raise Wilkerson, since he was more prepared to take plays on the outside. Nixon trailed Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski in the slot and now that Olszewski is gone, he has more opportunities. So I don’t really think it’s as simple as one being ahead of the other, but I think Nixon showed more in the spring than anything I’ve ever seen from Wilkerson, and that includes Wilkerson’s game against a Jacksonville team very little. staff last December. . There should be some competition for the last spot or two at the wide receiver position this summer.