O’Brien also balked at the notion that Jones would benefit from taking a week off for a mental break, saying, “there’s no time for mental breaks.”
Before speaking to the media on Tuesday, O’Brien said the Patriots offensive coaches had a productive meeting centered around ways the staff can help the players execute their assignments better. The team then held a rare Tuesday practice following a player day off on Monday, which is not the normal scheduling and is indicative of where the team sits at 1-4 following two tough losses.
“We had a good fundamental meeting right here about half an hour ago. We’re ready to go for practice, taking things one day at a time and try to dig ourselves out of it,” O’Brien explained.
Along with backup Bailey Zappe as a potential option if Jones struggles again, O’Brien was also asked about practice-squad rookie Malik Cunningham getting more opportunities, possibly in a Taysom Hill-type package. Other than mimicking Hill in practice last week, O’Brien said Cunningham is working primarily at wide receiver, which was the case over the summer.
“Malik works very hard. He does a good job on the practice squad, plays a lot of receiver. He played some quarterback last week with mimicking (New Orleans Saints QB/tight end) Taysom Hill,” said the Patriots offensive coordinator. “But he does a really good job, and he continues to improve. He’s probably one of the most improved practice squad players that we have. (He’s) a good guy to work with.”
New England will also get one reinforcement back, with second-year WR Tyquan Thornton back at practice on Tuesday. Thornton isn’t the savior, but his 4.28 speed could give them a vertical element and someone who can beat man coverage with routes down the field.
New England will most definitely make subtle changes offensively, but for those expecting wholesale changes in a knee-jerk fashion to losing by a combined score of 72-3 in the last two games, it doesn’t appear like the Patriots are overreacting. The only path for this team to start winning again is through.
Christine Lake is a sports fanatic who lives and breathes athletics. With an extensive background in sports journalism, he covers everything from major league championships to grassroots sports events. When she’s not on the field or at the stadium, you’ll find Christine coaching youth sports teams.