Aug. 12, 2021

2021 New England Patriots Season Preview with Karen Guregian from The Boston Herald

2021 New England Patriots Season Preview with Karen Guregian from The Boston Herald

Check Out Our Latest Episode Here

Follow Karen on Twitter
Her Latest from the Boston Herald

On this episode; We’re once again joined by the lead beat writer of The New England Patriots for the Boston Herald, Karen Guregian, to preview the New England  Patriots 2021 Season.

We’ll take a look at the quarterback battle between Cam Newton and 2021 First Round Pick Mac Jones, N’Keal Harry's impressive camp showing after requesting a trade, the improved Patriots offense & defense, and where we think the Patriots will finish come the end of the season.

Hosts:  Joe Malkin, Michael Marcangelo
Guest: Karen Guriegien
Producer: Craig D'Alessandro

Tweet your questions to @MTPshow with hashtag #askMTP, email us at Craig@MTPshow.com, or leave us a voicemail on our website to be featured on the show!

Visit Missing the Point’s website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
TikTok


BOXO CRAFTS HOLIDAY BOX
Save 15% on your first order with the promo code: MTP

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/MTPshow)

Transcript

Craig D'Alessandro:

On this episode of missing the point, we're joined once again by the lead beat writer of the New England Patriots for the Boston Herald Karen Guregian to help us preview the New England Patriots 2021 season. We'll take a look at the quarterback battle between Cam Newton and rookie Mac Jones. N'Keal Harry's impressive camp showing after requesting a trade the improved patriots defense and where we think the Patriots will be come the end of the season. This is missing the point Episode 78. But it's all relative.

Joe Malkin:

Welcome to missing the point I'm Joe Malkin joined by Mike Markangelo and back for her second appearance on the show. linked to the first episode that she was on the show notes the Boston Herald patriots be writer since 2007. Karen Guregian Karen has covered all the Boston sports teams to Winter Olympics men's and women's professional golf, tennis and soccer. Karen, thank you once again for coming on the show and talking to us. When we're recording this it's the day before the Patriots first preseason game against the Washington football team, a name that has caught on with everyone. And I guess we'll start off with the first question. How's everything in Foxborough?

Karen Guregian:

Well, moving right along last year with the pandemic and everything there. There were no preseason games, they were barely practices to watch. And or players to talk to. That was the at least in person. So a lot of things changed in from that perspective, for the better, and for the good. And hopefully it stays that way. The and I think there's a little more buzz about this team than the one that last year that we chatted about.

Joe Malkin:

Yeah, in a lot has changed in the four months since we last sat down with you. I mean, the last time we talked to you, you know, Cam Newton had signed back with the team that was fairly fresh and Bill went on a huge spending spree. And now we've gone through the draft, which happened a couple of weeks after we spoke to you last. And you know, the quarterback taken in the first round by the New England Patriots. And when we were coming fresh off of a Tampa Bay Super Bowl in which Tom Brady was the Super Bowl winning quarterback again. And you know, it's amazing how far we've come with no football regarding football. So what one thing I just mentioned, is the Tampa Bay Super Bowl. And we've talked about this a little bit, but do you think that Bill Belichick is going to push a little bit harder to be successful? This seems in the immediate aftermath of Tom Brady in Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning the Super Bowl

Karen Guregian:

He won't admit it. He wouldn't admitted on a lie detector test truth serum wouldn't get it out of them. But I do think it's somewhere deep down. Maybe not so deep down. He kept score. He saw what Brady did. And he keeps hearing now that, you know was more Brady than Belicheck and Brady's getting all the credit. And Brady is subtly or not so subtly kind of needling that narrative. And so yeah, I would suspect that somewhere in under the hoodie Belichick wants to kind of bring things back in a positive direction for himself. And it's, and that's been you know, it's

Joe Malkin:

kind of a silly question after I asked that. I'm like, you know, of course he wants to be successful. But you know, is he going to push that much harder with the team that he has and there's been a lot of good things coming out of camp that we've seen in the last week and a half that they've had camp all the new guys are there obviously on defense you have the Matt Judon and on offense you have you know, Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholr . So you know, you've been able to see these guys out on the field and offensively, which was a sore spot with this team in 2020. throwing the ball and being able to get it to receivers was an issue for what we believe is was an injured Cam Newton. Who is the New England Patriots number one receiver going into 2021 and why is it not N'Keal Harry?

Karen Guregian:

Well, prior to him missing time recently, I would say Nelson Agholor he looked really good early in camp. He looked very good in mini camp. And and then all of a sudden he's kind of faded away, but I think injury might have something to do with that. But it's clear that again from the practices that we are we've been able to see every single day at least early on. He's good speed and he can be one on one coverage but he's not just a run down the field get by wherever deep threat he's, you know, they can use them all over the field and he can he looked really good in crossing paths. done all kinds of, you know, different ways than just straight line run down the field. So I think he's a little more polished receiver than perhaps his reputation. So I would definitely put him as the number one. assuming he's healthy

Michael Marcangelo:

Would it be fair to say that can might also target one of the tight ends more than a receiver? Because when you look at the when you look at this roster, I saw that question, and I thought, it might not even be a receiver. It could be Jonnu Smith, or Hunter Henry, if he gets his panes of glass, a tape backup, and it actually plays six to 16 or 17. Games.

Joe Malkin:

Well, a little early to be going and hunter Henry,

Michael Marcangelo:

sorry. But what are the odds that this is this is a breakout year for john?

Karen Guregian:

Well, I actually agree with your assessment that he might be the top gun and the top guy. And that's just based on what I've see, and how he's been used. And the frequency both Newton and Mac Jones go through him as either an outlet or down the field or across the field. Or, again, some I'm not supposed to give away all these little trick plays. We're not supposed to report on those things. But let's just say let's just say they you they've been using Jonnu Smith in a variety of ways, both across the line and in the backfield. And that might be saying too much? Well,

Michael Marcangelo:

I think I think our listeners would know that that's the old Aaron Hernandez. Well, that's the most comparable comparison, right is that you're going to have a dedicated tight end and Hunter Henry who might not be a blocking tight end again, if he can be there. And then Jonnu smith can just go everywhere on the field for the offense.

Karen Guregian:

He can block to let me tell you, I've seen him level people already. Yeah,

Michael Marcangelo:

he's a big boy. And and in that in that same vein, because, you know, Joe had mentioned, obviously, we drafted Mac Jones, I was thinking about this. This is Bill's first real quarterback competition. Since 2001. Right? We know that he thought Brady was the best on the practice field, but he went withdrew because through was a known commodity. In your opinion. How do you think Bill Belichick has handled this quarterback controversy or decision making process so far?

Karen Guregian:

Yeah, I wouldn't call it a controversy yet. Yeah. But it might be shaping up to be one. That's why we put it that way. A lot of people are calling it a competition. Yep. I'm calling it a countdown. Basically Cam's the guy. And it's just a matter of time before Mac jumps over him. So it's kind of a countdown. And I mean, he is a first round pick number 15 overall, so everyone knows cam included that Mac Jones is the quarterback of the future. I think it's just a matter of how long can can hold him off. How is Bill Belichick going about it? Well, it's interesting that the reps are similar, almost equal, if not even more from Macc Jones. And some people would kind of scratch your head at that. Like what you know the starter needs the majority of the reps, but this is such a different such a situation. You have a starter in Cam Newton last year was the 30th ranked quarterback in QBR. And obviously, they were things conspiring against him last year, you know, joining them late getting COVID trying to learn the offense on the fly. So, you know, coming back from numerous injuries, so you know, maybe that wasn't the fairest year to assess him. But that being said, He's not somebody like Brady, where Brady shows up, and he's the guy and a story. They have to know what they have in Mac Jones, for two reasons, at least in my view, one can he overtake Cam? Number one, you know, can you learn fast enough? Can he grasp everything yet? He has to do to lead him? And if not, will they feel comfortable enough for him to be the sole number two backup. So they don't have to carry three quarterbacks and I think that's a very important distinction. And they can't find that out if Cam's taking 80% of the snaps and he's taken 20.

Joe Malkin:

You mentioned you mentioned not having to carry three quarterbacks and that's very interesting to me, because right now, the quarterbacks coach for the New England Patriots is listed as Josh McDaniels on the website, which is fine however, you mentioned Three quarterbacks, the third quarterback on this roster right now is BrIan Hoyer, who we know was always someone that Tom Brady would mention in post games. He'd mentioned in interviews that Brian Hoyer was a very big asset to this team, something we've seen in the past is that maybe Cam Newton doesn't pick up offenses as well as other quarterbacks do. So is with Mac Jones developing. And you know, I was thinking of Should I ask her if she thinks he's an NFL ready quarterback right now, I won't put you on the spot, but is Brian Hoyer there as the third quarterback to essentially bring him up to speed and get him to that level. And Cam Newton kind of knows his role, as you mentioned that maybe prior to 2020 when he signed he knew that he was just the bridge guy.

Karen Guregian:

Well, I'll attack this this from a couple of places. Number one, there's no question warrior was brought back. Because he's just, at least at this juncture, a much better mentor, Mike Jones, because believe it or not, after Tom Brady and maybe Josh McDaniels, there's nobody out there who knows the offense better than Brian Hoyer. He's been here so many times and like through the ages, and through the years where things have except you know, where they keep expanding and expanding and expanding. So from that perspective, he's such a good guy. And you can see through practice, too, that, you know, if Jones has a bad moment, warriors right in his ear, if, what if Mac Jones does something good. There's Hoyer, again, he's encouraging him for pointing out things and helping him along. It's hard to expect Cam Newton was fighting for his life and fighting for his job to really tutor and mentor someone who's going to take his job, although I must say, a Cam Neton has been very supportive of them. The other role, there's actually a couple roles. The other role that might keep Brian Hoyer on this team is he's been such a good as the number two and sometimes number three, a very good scout team quarterback, week to week. The scout team quarterback prepares the defense and basically mimics the other quarterback or the other offense. And Brian Hoyer has been so good in that role. I mean, they kept him here last year, Jarett Stidham was here last year, Jarett Stidham is still around. But he just had back surgery. And it'll be interesting to see if he's healthy if if they don't just I are in the whole year. Or if they bring him on. Here's the one asterisk I'll put into the equation that might go against having them just keep to assign from what Brian warrior does for the scout team. And again, if you want Mac Jones to learn Do you want him on the scout team? Or do you want him taking reps with Cam as the number two? So so that's why Brian Hoyer serves a purpose, although they could get somebody on the practice squad to do it. But here's the other thing. What happened last year, when Cam went down COVID COVID is still lurking, and it might wipe out one quarterback to quarterback. I mean, who knows how many quarterbacks it might wipe out, look what happened to Denver, they were playing wide receiver at quarterback. So that might necessitate them. Keeping mo re than two

Joe Malkin:

they kept more than two quarterbacks or add more than three quarterbacks on an active roster was in 2001.

Karen Guregian:

Brady

Joe Malkin:

Brady was the number four to begin near so

Karen Guregian:

and he was fast of the floor during training camp.

Joe Malkin:

And you know, it's it's so interesting to and people now are compare it and this is just a quick rant. But comparing Mac Jones to what Tom Brady was back then. And it's like you can't we just can't do that anymore. Because that hindsight is so I've said this before on the show, to look back in 2001. And if anybody can honestly tell me that when Tom Brady stepped onto that field after Drew Bledsoe was taken out by Moe Lewis, that the season was gonna go the way it was, and he was gonna have the career who I would have told you you were crazy because there was no predicting that you can do that with Mac Jones either. Now, you mentioned Brian Hoyer being on the other side of the ball playing scout team quarterback.

Karen Guregian:

Can I jump in for one sec. Yeah, that thought, as you were reeling off information Brady that though, his first couple of years, the writers who watched training camp those years, raved about him and But he was, again, better than Drew Bledsoe at that time during the training camp window, let him with that. Whether people could predict how great he was going to be, probably not. But there were signs during that training camp, according those who, to those who were there, that Brady was going to be good. I was asked today by somebody, you know, have I ever seen a quarterback, a rookie quarterback in the Patriots run? Missed, yet so many raps? And the answer was no. Or be such a beats at such a fast learner in so fast track. And again, the answer is no. But I think the circumstance and the fact that he's a first round draft pick, kind of dictate him getting the reps, whereas, you know, Jared Stidham was a fourth round pick. Why are you gonna, you know, use up his raps while except Tom Brady was there. So I just think circumstances a reflects the snaps he's getting, but also he's handling the work. And that's another reason. Yeah, I

Michael Marcangelo:

was gonna say last time that Yeah, you're on caring. We were all we all hypothesize or speculated that we thought that bill and Josh, were gonna draft someone that that that was more like Cam, Right? There was a mobile ish type of quarterback right? And then they took they didn't move up to pick Justin Fields, like I had hoped that they would do. And they took Mac Jones. So how surprised were you about that pick? And now that you've had some time to see him in person, did they make the right decision?

Karen Guregian:

Well, and we sing hard to, you know, when looking at all the quarterbacks and watching their college film and seeing what each one of them does. Mac Jones, in theory was the perfect fit, but he was like the perfect fit for the Tom Brady offense. They've been playing for the past two decades. Without question he in that scenario, you know, and a lot of people were predicting that they were going to take Mac Jones string jump, for that very reason. But when Bill brought Cam back, it almost seemed to be kind of at cross purposes. Why would you get a drop back pocket passer when the guy in front of him is a mobile, read on action, you know, pass run option type quarterback who's mobile? It just it didn't make a lot of sense to me. But again, what do I know?

Joe Malkin:

bringing that full circle a little bit. It's very interesting that you brought that up. And Mike brought up the Aaron Hernandez style offense that they ran when Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski were here. That is kind of the offense they're looking to get back to. And it's so interesting because they wanted to run that offense with Tom Brady. They did run that offense with Tom Brady with a drop back quarterback now Cam allows that extra dynamic of being able to move as long as his feet are as long as he's healthy. I mean, that's the thing is we can talk as much about the quarterbacks as we want. But if Cam Newton is healthy, and he's 2016 cam, even not the year after his MVP season, and we're doing pretty well for ourselves. But if they go back to that offense, and they've really kind of we talked about this back in April, that signing jonnu Smith hunter Henry bringing in Kendrick Bourne Nelson Agholor . They're really kind of mimic the Carolina offense that he had when he had Greg Olson and Steve Smith SR. now, I don't think Nelson Agholor or Kendrick born or 75% of the player that Steve Smith senior was. But if they can bring that style of offense back and kind of plug Mack into it a little bit more. Couldn't you see that? Could you see it being kind of a quarterback by committee if they're trying to run this Tom Brady style offense of the past with Cam Newton having MacJones waiting in the wings?

Karen Guregian:

Who's the starter?

Joe Malkin:

I would? That's a great question. I'll tell you what,

Karen Guregian:

like if you're going to use utilize both of them, as I think you're saying, who starts and who comes in? How does the dynamic work?

Joe Malkin:

I don't think that's a bill style. I don't think Bill wants to do it. I don't think he likes that style, because he's had opportunities in the past to do it. And this conversation came up when they had Garoppolo oh and Brady and Brady was aging and at that time, you know, I mean cam is aging less gracefully than Tom was. 32 years old, as we all know, but I think right now, I hate to say it, and Mike's gonna smile and say it, but it's a Cam Newton offense.

Michael Marcangelo:

I think just to quickly answer your theoretical question, Karen, because I love this question. And because you're there, I'm not. I think Bill loves Cam, I think because cameras done all the right thing. So in that instance, he would, he would start camp so that can gets paid the incentives of his contract. But I think could you I mean, let's just say that this happens, it's the most. It's just the weirdest universe of all time. Yeah, I think would you ever see a situation where bullets Okay, well, can I like you done all the right things you can you're going to start to get paid. But the plays are going to be 75/25. For you. camsell maximum been there for six plays seven plays again?

Unknown:

Yeah, there's been discussion about that. But again, the dynamic if cam is the starter, and they bring man kid, but here's the thing, cams, actually is helps the offense in the redzone with his mobility. So let's like would you have him moving all fall all the way down the field and then hand off to Mac Jones? Or do you flip it the other way around, have Mac moving all the way down the field and then bring cam in as a Taysom Hill type of weapon

Joe Malkin:

that offends me less? Not that I'm offended by it, but that would offend? I think that would offend patriots fans less to do it that way. And I think that that would be something that Mac Jones would understand more.

Unknown:

Right. Well, I don't here's to face the brain, though that I don't see. Cam Newton going along with that scenario.

Joe Malkin:

It's so interesting. You mentioned that because as we're talking about this, I'm like, Cam Newton's not, he's not a top 10 quarterback anymore. But five years ago, he was top 10. I mean, he was one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He won the MVP. He went to school, he's not sewn, you know, journeyman, quarterback that and speaking of journeyman quarterback, I wish a lawyer never got hurt when he was with the Browns because I think he would have been the best Browns quarterback since Tim couch. No, no, I go back one Anyway, moving on. But going back to it, it's the same thing. So we have to treat cam the same way we would treat any other starting quarterback in New England. That's just the way we have to do it. It never would have happened on a Tom Brady. That he would have been okay. So why should we expect Cam to be okay with

Michael Marcangelo:

it happen under Blitzer though? Right. Right. Karen? I mean, do you remember the 2000s? Yeah, of course you do your 2000 season? I think Michael Bishop was in there for what was it? Was it 18 different plays that year, he was the Hail Mary guy. So right. Looks done it before.

Karen Guregian:

Very true.

Joe Malkin:

In year one.

Michael Marcangelo:

Sure.

Unknown:

But again, the dynamic of it, but drew was still the guy, right. But does it make sense? Again, if cam still the guy and you bring in Mac for 15% of the place, which 15% of the plays are rows? Yeah,

Joe Malkin:

kneel downs.

Karen Guregian:

Okay, let me put this another way or present an interesting dynamic. Okay. I think obviously,Bill Belichick has likes Cam Newton likes him personally. And it's been sticking by him as a player. But I think part of that is cam kind of he was one of the first mobile quarterbacks. I mean, a lot of people are getting credit for it now. But he was, you know, he was Lamar Jackson before Lamar Jackson. And I think Bill knows how much harder it is to defend a mobile quarterback like a Cam Newton, because guess what, he has to defend Larmar Jackson. He's had to defend somebody like a Patrick Mahomes who will kill long running the football if he lets him. So all of these mobile quarterbacks basically take away a defender on defense because somebody has to account for the quarterback. And I think since bill knows how tough that is to do, you know, to defend these mobile guys. Why don't I have one it may get hard for harder for the defense because obviously when he had Brady, did the safety have to play out? Did the linebacker have to spy Brady because he was going to take up now they could flood the zones, all of his passing zones. But the reason why it didn't matter because Brady was so damn good. And they're on offense. Let's predicated on quick real quick passing. Get the ball out. In Britain it in it shit Brady to a tee and him being smart. And being able to read defenses was also in line with that Mac Jones is not Tom Brady, but he is a carbon copy of that type of quarterback. And I think Josh McDaniels is completely enamored with Mac Jones. So do you have bill on one side? The cam guy, because what cam can do and how he can impact a defense of Mac Jones, who basically is the perfect fit for Josh McDaniels offense. So that's why I find this all fascinating.

Joe Malkin:

It is fascinating. And now we talk about the quarterbacks and if they'll be ready, to the best of your knowledge. And I want to ask you that when they saw him, because you're not necessarily you're not an employee of the New England Patriots. But is Cam Newton healthy enough to run the offense the way they want them to run the office?

Unknown:

Well, he's, I mean, he's definitely no different during training camp, different meaning better. Yeah. But what's the degree of better? I mean, you know, there was been a couple of days, when he was incredibly accurate, that you would go wow. And then the next day, it would be more toward the candy saw last year, you know, couldn't hit the side of a barn door. But the instances of the barn door have been much fewer and far between I mean, Cams.... The reason why Mac Jones is an above him right now is because cam has kind of been holding them off and has done a good enough job in training camp to this point. Hold advocate

Joe Malkin:

that must be great in the coaches offices when Josh and Bill go back and forth and one of them has a good day over the other one. But you mentioned bill being you know, the cam guy and Josh being the Mac guy came backwards. But now one thing we talked about, the last time you run was Robert Kraft talking about how other people in the room were going to have more of a chance in what was going on in the front office than they had in the past build not the bill was gonna take a backseat. But more people were going to be involved. I think because of what you said about Josh McDaniels being enamored with Mac, we can say that that Mac Jones pick was one of those instances where people were a little more involved is Josh McDaniels voice going to be bigger in those game planning sessions and allow him to have a little more control over his offensive side of the ball? And I don't want to say in one position or the other because I kind of mean this everywhere on offense, because right now there needs we all know, there needs to be a revamp of this offense. So I don't want to say is he gonna overstep bill and put Mac understanding, that's not one of masculine, but it's, you're gonna have more of a say in the game plan offensively.

Unknown:

Josh, he's always had, I think Bill pretty much just says you handle the offense. And that, I mean, in last year, that's sort of how it had to be because there were so many missing people from defense and whether it was OPT outs or injuries or whatnot, that bill's focus had to be on trying to put the defense together. Okay. You know, dress, you handle the offense. I mean, that's drawn just baby just like defense is Bill's baby. But, you know, insane. Mac is Josh's guy and Cam is bills guy. Bill has a set of eyes to it, and he sees what's happening in practice. And I have to think that what he's seen from Mack Jones is intrigued him. You know, to the point where, yeah, give him more. Let's see what it can do. Let's see what he can do. I mean, feels all about putting the team in the best position to win. And if ultimately he thinks Mac's that guy, maybe he would want Mac over his guy and for a couple of reasons. I know he doesn't like playing rookies, that's kind of a given. Right. But we've seen our check, adapt. I mean, he he adapted some of his coaching style, but whatever worked in clean When he tried to fix in change, I mean, he's he had the guys out, playing cornhole together I mean on a group outing. I mean, it's like he's done things to try and change it up. So he's not so set in his ways. And while we're all assuming, no never play a rookie at quarterback, and upper is typically his Mo, I think he's he can bend. And I also want the back of his mind is the Brady thing. And he needs to put the Patriots in the best position to win. And I don't think he's going to be blind to Mac Jones just because he's a rookie.

Michael Marcangelo:

You just brought that up the Brady thing. So I'm so happy that you did. I have a two part question. One in your time in you know, covering major Boston sports and covering the New England Patriots. Has there ever been a more anticipated regular season game than that of the week for matchup when the goat comes back to the farm number one and number two? Is there any chance that that Belichick starts Mac Jones before that game?

Unknown:

Yeah, that's a great question. alumna I mean, some people think it would be wise to have Mack Jones avoid that game. And that's where the people in Cam's camp think. Yeah, start Cam the first couple games are easy build some momentum, get crest week four and then bring bring the kid in. So I don't know. I

Joe Malkin:

think we save everybody the hassle and just start Brian Hoyer that game.

Michael Marcangelo:

Doesn't that scenario accomplish two different things right. Let's say that the Patriots because their first three games are per, quote unquote easy right? If you could say that going into that week for matchup there's a real possibility that the Patriots and the Bucs are both three and out. Let's say they get trounced by the Buccaneers, which I fundamentally believe will happen when they bench cam cams three and was started in 2021 had a pretty good year. But they'd bench Tim for the next guy doesn't that set cam up for an okay position to go find themselves a starting job next year?

Unknown:

I must interject a new skill. You know, I predicted an upset week for

Michael Marcangelo:

Oh my

Karen Guregian:

I'm thinking either it's gonna be a slaughter by the rip by Tampa Bay. Which probably will happen, but you know what, it would not shock me or surprise me one bit if the Patriots won that game. And as much as Brady knows the defense and knows, you know, valid check. The reverse is true, too. Yeah. Belicheck knows what his weaknesses are, or knows how to get to him and knows how to rattle him. And he brought in pass rushers, he brought in guys who were in the middle of the line. And we know we've seen Brady vulnerable if they could penetrate up the middle. All I'm saying is if anyone knows a blueprint, how to beat Brady. It would be Belicheck. Well, Bill

Joe Malkin:

built Oh, I mean, I mean, Mike sure he came in prebuilt. But he I mean, he added the parts. But you know what, I see that that game in, we saw it back in the late 2000s. And the undefeated season was one down linemen, and the other six of the front seven floating around the ball and floating around and not kind of being an amoeba defense, and not showing what's gonna come in order to confuse the old man across the other side. You know, I think that that's a possibility. I think I actually meant that now that I've thought about it, that Hoyer should probably start that game.

Michael Marcangelo:

Stop it. Why Okay, so that I agree with Karen here. This is this is a classic patriots underdog gain. It will either be a blowout, or the Patriots will win by three. That's it. They'll either lose by 20 or they will win by three. That's 40. Yeah, right. But that's like that Baltimore game last year. That's how that's how that feels it's going into Alright, this will either be the worst game that you've ever witnessed.

Joe Malkin:

Or we might win. Every beat writers gonna have a field day with downloads patrons can pull that off. Right? Yeah.

Michael Marcangelo:

So one of the you know, one of the things that the Patriots have really done that we've already kind of touched on this offseason is they've really retooled that offense. They have that double head you know that two headed monster and tight end I am not. I've actually was on the air on this show the night before. The pages picked him up to say I'm so glad they picked up Jonnu Hughes Smith Hunter Henry, six, five 265 made a glass dry quote, next day and they signed him. Do you have any concerns with with with his ability to stay healthy in terms of the Patriots success this year? Karen?

Unknown:

Well, the fact that he's injured now and 10 injured would lead you to believe that. But I mean, I don't know if people think guys are injury prone or whatever, you know, the Patriots when assigned them. I mean, I think Bill Belichick has loved hunter Henry for many years. And, you know, we'll see how it plays out. But there's no question that there's successes, an offense is gonna be predicated on both of those Titans being healthy. And again, it's just, it's the whole picture. It's the offensive line. It's their running gait. It's the trade ends. And also, again, with the run running game, expected to be good, that is going to set up quite a bit of play action. And I mean, things like that help a quarterback, it helps, it's gonna help Cam Newton it would help Mac Jones if everyone bites on the run, because they're successful running team, and that opens up opens up so many more avenues. So again, their offense is going to be run first, shoved down your throat. And that will allow them to set up the passing game

Michael Marcangelo:

along those same lines because I before we talked about the first preseason game tomorrow night, or tonight for those of you listening on Thursday, I think the Patriots have always not always but they had made some pretty notable either trades or cuts in the preseason that really just kind of baffle you. And you just mentioned the running game. So I have a question for you. I'm gonna give you my answer. And I'm gonna ask the question, I think it's James White. Who might be a surprise cut or trade in the preseason?

Unknown:

Well, I've seen the James White things I mean Sony Michel is another one.

Michael Marcangelo:

Oh, I hope it sorry Michelle. Was that sorry I hope it's don't even show you can't say that but I'll say it is

Unknown:

especially true you know a team like there's teams out there they're losing running backs Hello Rams Yeah, it might net you something in return but I here's my word of caution on you know dumping James White or even dumping Sony Michel. Because their offense is going to revolve around the running game. And you know you're gonna have we're going back to the kind of short dumps whether it's tied in or to the running backs. I would just be cautious before getting rid of Sony Michel or James White for those very reasons if Damien Harris gets hurt, okay, who's your back and chances are you know running backs get hurt Damien Harris gumpert. Last year, Sony Michel always hurt you but you need it. So what are you going to do? I mean, okay, Brandon Bolden. You're gonna lead the you're going to lead the charge

Michael Marcangelo:

Oh, no.

Joe Malkin:

A Gila Brandon Bolden. But I would rather see Sony Michelle go over Brandon Bolden if we're just going out of the backfield. But To that end, and I don't think it's going to be James White for the exact reasons you just mentioned Karen. I think that he is that back that is going to again same thing that cam kind of had in the Carolina and somebody that that Tom had towards the end of his time here was James White you need Yeah, he's that veteran guide. So you know, originally my next question was going to be do the Patriots need another whiteout but I'm gonna I'm gonna rephrase that. Could you see them trading N'Keal Harry for another piece in the backfield or trying to package something for a better why no, that might fit the system better.

Karen Guregian:

They would not get that in return. And that's that's fine. That's why you get a sixth round pick.

Michael Marcangelo:

That's such a nice way for you to say that Karen

Joe Malkin:

i don't disagree with you because I had that actually as my first pageant Mike and I

Karen Guregian:

wouldn't it be great like oh, you know cheese in my good

Michael Marcangelo:

friend and kilohertz and a pic right now Oh, yeah.

Joe Malkin:

Yeah, hey, listen. taysom Hill needs somebody to throw to why would you want to be Michael Thomas when you can have N'Keal Harry but you that was actually the first thing Mike and I had written here like N'Keal Harry, you see a real wide receiver threat or will he be traded? That's a direct quote, but based on your answer, they're probably neither.

Karen Guregian:

Now I wouldn't I wouldn't say that. I think the Patriots actually Like that he sort of flashed in camp. But my caution there and he's put together there his best to three weeks stretch counting any training camp or any regular season in this these past couple of weeks. But my caution there is he's done. He's made all these highlight reel. I mean, literally these remarkable athletic type of catches, during like one on one drills, meaning it's just him against the defensive back and quarterback he's at up there. And I mean, it plays to his strength. He's contested. His reputation was as a contested catch, monster. And he's shown that when they get into team drills, and they're going 11, on 11, and seven on seven, he's pretty much been invisible.

Michael Marcangelo:

Great. He;s Chad OchoCino. That's what he is.

Karen Guregian:

Wait, again, that's my cost might look he's looked better. I mean, he wasn't even making these plays, in any training camp. So, you know, that's a positive. And that's a good thing, because you do see the ability there. But once it's like a real competition, 11 on 11, seven on seven, he still struggles to get open. I know

Michael Marcangelo:

we're going down the rabbit hole. And I don't want to go too far down a rabbit conspiracy theory that I want to float by Karen, if that's okay. What are the odds that bill is making sure that N'Keal Harry looks good. And those one on one drills to increase his trade value?

Unknown:

Well, I don't know. I don't know if he can set it up where Harry is making all these diamond catches. flipping over and doing what he's been doing. But I think let's remember the two of them had a little chat right after Harry's agent went out public with a trade request. And I think whatever Bill said to Harry kind of aa made him come to camp, it also changed his attitude in some way. So whether Bill's motive was to build him up and build him up to show that he would perform better so that he could get his butt out of town in a trade. Maybe.

Joe Malkin:

I think I think Bill is still a big fan of N'Keal Harry, because of that conversation he had with him. So you know, we could talk about that as fans and beat writers and everything else, like what we've seen, but I think a lot of other times, it's an agent. But now he's always going to go and have that conversation with the player, because that's just the kind of guy that believes. And when that story came out from Harry's agent, I was a little surprised that that was floated publicly, because that's not something that happens coming out of the Patriots locker room, then you just don't see that. So I think he was having a conversation with N'Keal was a little more to try and get him as you said, which it worked. Get him to come to camp and be all in.

Karen Guregian:

Can I flip it and be a little bit of a devil's advocate, though,

Michael Marcangelo:

please,

Karen Guregian:

would you think they'll check with have that same type of conversation with the fifth round receiver? No. And that's why it's and that's why I said it because I received her ever shot. I think there's a little different dynamic going on there.

Michael Marcangelo:

You know, we've heard Bill's, uh, his his who Ross feed knows how to get players motivated, right? Like, we all know about how he read the Pittsburgh Steelers parade route to the team, I could literally envision bill bringing N'Keal Harry nto the room. Again, this is Mike, this is not counter joke, saying like, Alright, so we floated some offers for you out there, and all we got in return was a Burt's Bees not worth anything. So they go out there and prove it. And now N'Keal Harry is showing up like a number two wide receiver in the league. I just wouldn't put it past bill. He's a great motivator.

Unknown:

Yeah, as I said, something happened all sudden, you're seeing the different N'Keal Harry. Again, I don't want to totally minimize what he's doing in one on ones. I mean, you still have to make the plays. And he's made plays. But he still has the problems that we've seen in, you know, basically getting off the line and getting open during these 11 on 11 and seven on seven sessions.

Joe Malkin:

So speaking of receivers, having a tough time getting off the line switching sides of the ball. On on defense, have there been any developments defensively, that that show that this team is ready to go this year on defense? And then the second part of that question is Stephon Gilmore.

Unknown:

Well, I can tell you the front seven has been very impressive, so impressive, that Trent Brown is basically boasting about them because he has to You know, he has to stop the Judon's of the world from getting in the Josh Uche's from getting in the backfield. And Trent brown keeps telling us that this defense is gonna be special because again, he has to go up against this front seven every day. The secondary without Gilmore is lacking, and it's very obvious. I mean, JC Jackson has been fine. But again, if you move the two to number one, then you putting a nut some other guy as a number two and thus far the outside boundaries receiver opposite Jackson, whether it's Jalen Mills, who's just trying to learn the defense, or Jojuan Williams, they've struggled. And again, if that's what you're starting with, it really is going to pick them pick that side apart. He will go down that way every single time. I mean, that's the difference of having Gilmore on one side and JC Jackson on the other. There's no real gap edge. They have a gap. Without Gilmore,

Joe Malkin:

will that gap be filled? And will it be Stephon Gilmore?

Unknown:

I have to believe it. I mean, my brain tells me you know, fill Belicheck didn't put together and spend all this money and get this type of defense to have a fatal flaw right at one corner or have a fatal flaw because he's undermanned because he doesn't have that elite shutdown corner. I think JC Jackson is good. I'm just not ready to call him up, legitimate shut down corner. I mean, he had nine interceptions, but a lot of them and it's because they're avoiding Gilmore and going to his side. And he's not playing the top guy. When he had to fill them for Gilmore last year, Stefon Diggs torched them. So again, there's a difference really good. Jc Jackson covering the number two in JC Jackson covering the number one

Michael Marcangelo:

you'd have to think that bill knows he's never won a championship without a without a number one corner wherever it is never done it right. So I think he'll smarten up. I don't like cold outside only contract disputes. We know what happened to Logan Mankins. The one thing that I'll ask you about is so I have a little bit of PTSD from 2007. Right. I think we all do. Matt Ju don feels to me feels a lot like Adalius Thomas so Karen, I need you to tell me why this is not going to be the same situation and and tell me that you've seen things because you were there for Adalius Thomas . Right.

Unknown:

And Jetsons remember that he quit. He gets sent away cuz he didn't get there in a snowstorm and he said, What do you mean I'm gonna get like the Jetsons. It's fine here. I mean, that was like the bestAdalius Thomas . I'm sorry. We regress or I

Michael Marcangelo:

know you're fine. But I want to think of it outside roaming linebacker from Baltimore that you've spent a lot of money on. He's the first guy that comes to mind. So for a patriot fans like me out there, what have you seen so far in camp right? That leads you to believe that he will fit in this system?

Unknown:

Well, he looks like a perfect fit. And but you know, it's so weird. So did Adalius Thomas . I think Dale is Thomas basically, here's the thing with Bill Belichick. In defense and in applied to Jamie Collins to you're going to do Bill Belichick tells you, and you're going to play your position the way Bill Belichick wants you to, no freelancing. Right? I think Adalius Thomas was a freelancer. Jamie Collins was a freelancer and got sent away. When he came back he stopped the freelancing because he finally got it. Isabella chicks defenses are so specific that everyone has to do their thing and if someone kind of breaks rank everything you know is amiss do I think Judon on it seems more in line with doing what Belichick says I do. So but we'll see.

Michael Marcangelo:

Good. Thank you, Thats all I need to hear

Unknown:

Bella Check. Check isn't fit. I mean, I know we're in the day of inflated salaries but he dude on represents the most belcheck has ever spent on a defensive player reagent wise. So we'll see. And as I said we were chatting earlier. I like I like his makeup. I like Matt Judon's makeup. And and he seems that again, he seems to get it. So we'll see. Maybe I'll be proven wrong.

Joe Malkin:

Go ahead. I know you got something to say.

Michael Marcangelo:

I just want I just want to sidebar real quick since the browser dailies Thomas there aren't a lot of singular plays and I remember be like watch football for a long time like we all have. I. When I think of a dailies, Thomas, I still think back in 2009 brett farr was on the jets and Adalius Thomas just destroying him like 40 yards back in the backfield at one point. I'd love Adalius Thomas on the Patriots. He's one of my favorites.

Karen Guregian:

Well, he actually it to be fair. I mean, he was actually very good in the playoffs for them one year, you might have been their best player,

Michael Marcangelo:

though. Seven, right?

Unknown:

Yeah. But he, but again, it's just that he and Belichick clashed. dayla saw himself doing, you know, playing the way he wanted in the defense or doing what he wanted to do in the defense. Whereas, you know, belcheck tried to put him in positions to succeed, or positions that would best help the defense collectively, it might not have been where Adalius Thomas wanted to play. But in Bill's mind, this is where he was leading. And I think that's where a lot of the clashing took place. Yeah,

Michael Marcangelo:

that was just so I think Judon is, obviously they're different players, right. But if you look at the tape, so much of of his of the stats that really got him paid were predicated on the fact that he saw something. And he did it, which made me believe that he was a freelancer. And I know that Belichick, as you mentioned, Bellatrix defense is predicated on the fact that if everyone does what he thinks that they're going to do, it'll hold up. If one person doesn't, then you've exposed a whole side of the field. So that was my one concern. He's super talented. So is Adalius Thomas , but I'm glad to know. I'm glad to hear that you think that as of this point, he is, he's someone that that will fall in rank and do what he's supposed to do that makes me feel really good.

Karen Guregian:

He sounds like Well, I don't know again, you can you know, you can talk a good game and sound like you're buying in. But for now, he sounds like he's buying in.

Michael Marcangelo:

He's a really nice guy. Someone say sweet as apple pie. Go, go. Go ahead, Joe.

Joe Malkin:

So, you know, it's it's interesting talking about this preseason, we've kind of thrown out some names of guys that have not fallen in line, the Adalius Thomas Mike brought up Chad Johnson. I refuse to call him the other name, even though it was legal, but we head into the preseason with the New England Patriots the NFL preseason, which started last week with a riveting game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers in Canton, Ohio. Nothing like watching Ben Dinucci have a tough time in a preseason game. But besides the point that the New England Patriots take on the Washington football team on August 12, they'll also take on the eagles and the Giants both on the road, then a week off, and then they start the season against the dolphins for a 17 game season. Looking at the preseason, what can we expect in these three games? in you know, knowledge that you can share with us? What can we expect to lose three games? And what positives and negatives coming out of camp? Can we see and then to that and you're always very good at going along and being able to to retain the questions because I never could does this seem like a looser camp and a looser preseason to you for a Bill Belichick COACHed team?

Unknown:

Nice isn't the word I would say in the same sentence.

Michael Marcangelo:

Fair

Karen Guregian:

No, I mean, it's been pretty straightforward. You know, they've had their little rookie hazing, you know, watering them down and have them slide slipping slide. I mean, we've seen a lot of the usual type things, but I mean, it's different. I mean, again, coming off what they did last year, or what they had to go through last year to, you know, most of their work was done indoors, you know, in a virtual meetings and the fact that they're outdoors trying to take advantage of, you know, the time they have they actually have preseason games, there's one fewer, so I'm not sure how Bell Bill Belichick is gonna attack having three instead of four. Usually, most of the starters would play in the third and that's where you would get the most action and then all the scrubs played in the fourth game. So I'm not sure quite how it's gonna shake out. Except, I mean he has some decisions to make and quarterback being The most important one, and it was very telling that, you know, without Cam Newton having the benefit of any preseason games, you know, in the long run that had an impact even all meaning look good early in the year, I think the bigger tells, or the bigger information, Intel gathering cabella check are going to be the joint practices, they have sessions with the Eagles before the Eagles game and with the Giants before the Giants games. And I think film really loves him some joint practices. And I think that might even give him even more information than a preseason game.

Michael Marcangelo:

So I just have one more question, Karen, because I know that we've we can go down if somebody more lab calls here. Obviously, Super Bowl is the ultimate sign of success. Right. And I don't know, I don't know how many of us think that that could happen this year. My question to you is, just to tie back to the first question that Joe asked about, will bill push harder because of Tom Brady Super Bowl win? As someone who's around the team all the time, and it's covered the team for so long? In that perspective, what does success look like for the New England Patriots this year,

Karen Guregian:

making the playoffs? I mean, doing what they didn't do last year, kind of getting their hat back in the ring. And you know, basically restoring some faith and restoring their reputation as a contending team. I don't expect them to get to the Superbowl. I'm not even sure they'll get to the AFC Championship, but it's kind of getting back on the horse or getting back on the bike and basically trying to restore what was lost last year.

Michael Marcangelo:

So do you think that the Patriots had again 17 win season? No one below 11 and five made the playoffs last year? We would need to win 12...12 games? do you think that this team as currently constituted? Again, my last question is a 12 and five there's a 1217

Karen Guregian:

I think they're right around 11 I mean, but again look the schedule doesn't scare me. Not me. At least their schedule and I don't think they're gonna go three and three against the AFC East like they did last year. I mean, let's say they go for two Okay, there's one more when they're some of their opponents. I mean, they play Carolina they played Jacksonville. I mean, you can just sort of add in, you know, do we in you know, do we think the saints are gonna beat them in Foxborough? Do we think the Cowboys are going to beat them in Foxborough? I mean, I know playing at home wasn't the what it once was when Tom Brady was here. But I still think it factors in with these teams having to travel and come to Foxborough so if you look if you go game by game game by game by game by game, then you can see 1011 Well, if they're lucky, so there'll be right there on the cost.

Joe Malkin:

Yeah, Buffalo and Tampa. Those three games so the other ones they kind of are the most intimidating I guess there's the word to the Islam in Tennessee are tough to that's why I can find 11 whence Cleveland's gonna be tough Tennessee get on all the media stuff.

Unknown:

I actually I have them. I think I have the losing the Tennessee and I have them using Cleveland. But there's some raw games, you know, indies quarterback situation, I wouldn't be surprised if the Patriots went in there and won that game. You know, I think the chargers are going to be much tougher this year out there. So that games kind of a coin flip. But if the Patriots win their share the coin flips. They're gonna be right there. But you know, I see them splitting their gains with buffalo as opposed to going on to sure season splitting with Miami because that's typically what they do. I see them sweeping the Jets. So again, right, you're starting with 4. Looking through the schedule, I can get them up to 10 or 11.

Joe Malkin:

And 11 and six is gonna be it. I think that's the Mark and I know Mike you said 12 and five. I think that 11 and six is is that mark to will buffalo when the division it's possible the will the Patriots go in as a wildcard. It's very possible but I agree with you. I don't think the Jets are a threat yet. I like what Robert Solow is going to do

Karen Guregian:

with the Jets are doing but they're not there. They're really in rebuild mode. And they're actually again, they seem to finally have a clue. You know, in years past no clue. And with all the draft capital they have in all the cap space they have, you know, if they're if they've turned it around as much To see if this year and do so again next year. Again 2022 2023 is when the Jets will be a player again.

Joe Malkin:

This was just a weird hypothetical, but because of all the lore surrounding the Jacksonville Jaguars who would want one game obviously the Jets get the Patriots twice well one game patriots play the Jets patriots play the Jaguars who's got a better chance of beating the New England Patriots the Jaguars and the Jets as currently constituted. Yes, I know it's weird question it's a very weird question.

Unknown:

Well, here's how I'm going to answer it hadn't first year quarterbacks do against Bill belcheck terrible terribly look and look at all the first few quarterbacks on the schedule that's another thing Yeah. Another great segue thanks for picking me up there Garen and and they actually again, if there was a defense last year you'd I would still give them a chance because of belcheck smart but trust me, they're France seven is so like nine day from last year, not eating day. And again, the front seven is where it's happening for all those weird formations and Amoeba and whatever the heck they do. Trevor Lawrence his head's gonna be spinning Zach Wilson's heads gonna be spinning all these first few quarterbacks and some second year quarterbacks. I mean, just because sam donald's in Carolina you don't think he's still gonna not gonna see ghosts? Really? So again, that's what I look at.

Michael Marcangelo:

So when you say fun seven are we talking like 2003 Ted Washington, Richard Seymour Vince Wilfork Ted Johnson tedy Bruschi Rossevelt Colvin front seven are you?

Karen Guregian:

I'm not gonna put him there. Yes.

Joe Malkin:

I was gonna kind of be where I went cuz when you said that, Mike. I was thinking the same thing of NASA gonna be we'll work them in early 2000 style defense with a late 2000s no Randy moss like 1011 style offense

Karen Guregian:

to what you saw in the Rams Super Bowl. Oh, defensively. Yeah, I think the defense after surrendering whatever it did in that Atlanta Super Bowl, playmaking buzzing around, harassing type of deep net will give quarterbacks fits

Joe Malkin:

in that will bode well not only with Bill Belichicks record against first and second year, quarterbacks, but also just the fact that he's a good defensive coach. And if he's got the players, they're going to

Karen Guregian:

Well, that's simple. And again, that's the other part that bids really intriguing to me, I want to see what he does with the farts. Because, again, his genius is defense, there's no there's little doubt about that. A lot of his game plans are in the hall of fame for what he's done to these elite offenses in Super Bowls. So he's assembled a much better crew than last year, and I think he's gonna have a ball with it, assuming everybody stays healthy. And assuming he gets Gilmore on board,

Joe Malkin:

which is gonna be a big factor is getting new, more on board. But yeah, as you say it now I'm even more excited than I was to begin this show. Because as I can tell you, like you said before, you don't know like how much the crowd might play into it and Fox for I can tell you as a not only a New England Revolution, season ticket holder, but as a patriots season ticket holder, I cannot wait, even to walk into that stadium for the preseason game against Washington just to get those guys back on the field and see them run out of the tunnel again, and see it live and do it live. Because I think that's something that bill's gonna play off of. And we see we know that he tries to drown out the noise and and he cancels the noise for his players. But I think having nine home games, instead of eight in the regular season, having the crowd back and having that noise around cam or Mac or whoever it is that's gonna play into this entire season. I think that's gonna make it a lot more fun.

Karen Guregian:

And add in the fact I think on both sides, the ball because of your offensive line and the defensive front, you're gonna be a really physically taxing in wearing team on other teams. So all these teams who are going to be traveling to Foxborough for those nine games are going to be in a dogfight and a trench war. And if you're not up for it, the Patriots gonna roll all over you. And again, that's how this team has been built. long lines, offensive line, defense. Line they've been built in the trenches. It's a classic Bella check T. Yeah, go back to 2000 the early 2000s they're going to beat you on the ground and on defense primarily.

Joe Malkin:

That's what we love to hear. We love to hear that and that gets me fired up so Craigie we got we got a lot of good sound bites there we're gonna we're gonna eat all those.

Craig D'Alessandro:

Oh, I've got my sound bite as soon as he said the Buccaneers are going to lose me for Gillette Stadium. That was it. That's all of that.

Joe Malkin:

Great inner in trouble. Well, Carrie, thank you again for joining us on missing the point. Another great conversation as Mike and I have said multiple times that shall we could go on we actually have a whole nother list of just quarterbacks that we could totally go over with you but we'll bypass those and hopefully see some of those come to fruition and iron themselves out as the season goes Karen Guregian, thank you again. I'm Joe Malkin joined again by Craig D'Alessandro and Mike, Mark. Angela, thank you for joining us on missing the point. And well we're gonna say it because Karen's got me fired up go patriots.

Karen Guregian

Featured Patriots Beat Columnist for the Boston Herald

Karen Guregian has been a member of the Boston Herald sports staff since 1984, performing a variety of jobs. Since 2007, she's covered the Patriots full-time.