O’Brien also took issue with the idea that Jones would benefit from taking a week off for a mental break, saying: “There’s no time for a mental break.”
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 players better execute their jobs. The team then held a rare practice on Tuesday after a player’s day off on Monday, which is not a normal schedule and indicates where the team stands at 1-4 after two tough losses.
“We had a good basic meeting here about half an hour ago. We’re ready to go to training, take it day by day and try to get 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 rookie Malik Cunningham getting more opportunities, perhaps in a Taysom Hill-type package. Unlike Hill’s imitation in practice last week, O’Brien said Cunningham operates primarily at wide receiver, which was the case over the summer.
“Malik works extremely hard. He’s doing a good job on the practice squad, playing a lot as a receiver. Some of the quarterbacks last week played by imitating (New Orleans Saints QB/tight end) Taysom Hill,” Patriots offensive coordinator said. “But he’s doing a really good job, and he continues to get better. He’s probably one of the best players on our practice squad. (He’s) a good guy to work with.”
New England will also get one reinforcement, with second-year WR Tyquan Thornton returning to practice on Tuesday. Thornton isn’t a savior, but his 4.28 speed could give them a vertical component and someone who can beat man coverage by running downfield.
New England is sure to make subtle changes offensively, but for those expecting wholesale changes in knee-jerk fashion to lose by a combined score of 72-3 in their last two games, the Patriots don’t appear to be overreacting. The only way for this team to start winning again is through.
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