1. Nick Caserio was a man who wore many hats for the Patriots. In fact, Bill Belichick noted on a few occasions how many responsibilities Caserio had and how that compared to other personnel people around the league. Now that Caserio is the general manager in Houston, Belichick admitted Friday the team has had to change the way things are structured. “I’d say we're set up a little bit differently than we were when Nick was here,” he said. “We could talk about that for hours, but we're not going to. There are a number of different elements and things that are intertwined here and so forth. We have an opportunity to kind of reorganize some things and so that's what we're going to do. Matt [Patricia] wasn't here last year, he is now. He's an important part of that. Dave [Ziegler], Eliot [Wolf], Matt Groh, Steve [Cargile], so forth, I mean, there'd be a number of things that we'll modify for one reason or another and if we have to adjust them at a later point in time or further, we'll do that, but we'll start with, which we have already, start doing things a certain way and see how it goes.” Caserio headed up the draft, but was also involved in trade/contract negotiations and then was on the practice field everyday as well as on the headsets on gameday. There’s no way one single person could solely replace Caserio, so it will be interesting to see how those duties are split. Patricia seems like the person where multiple duties could fall, as he reportedly was signing contracts this offseason and has been an active participant on the field at OTAs this spring. While it may not be a huge thing, it certainly is worth keeping an eye on how things go since the organization had been doing things one way for such a long period of time.
2. With Cam Newton reportedly suffering a bone bruise on his throwing hand Friday, it wouldn’t be a surprise not to see him the rest of OTAs and mandatory minicamp. The next time Newton could return to the field may be for training camp in late July. There doesn’t appear to be any reason to push a return with only four OTAs and three minicamp sessions left over the next few weeks. While it isn’t ideal, it doesn’t seem like a huge detriment considering Newton has already had a few weeks to work with his teammates so far.
3. Newton’s likely absence will give more reps for rookie Mac Jones and Jarrett Stidham, which will be interesting to see what they do with them. Jones had an up-and-down day following Newton’s injury Friday, while Stidham was the best quarterback on the field. If Jones blows everyone away, there’s a chance he could earn the starting job, but if Stidham does the same things could get interesting. Would the Patriots then look to trade him, or find a way to make things work? It will be fascinating to see how things go with Newton likely to be sidelined at least a few practices and how the other quarterbacks react.
4. One interesting absence from voluntary workouts this spring has been running back Sony Michel. For the first time in his career it seems he’s had a fully healthy offseason, so it would have seemed like he would be in attendance, especially competing with Damien Harris and the team selecting Rhamondre Stevenson in the fourth round of the draft. Two more interesting players missing are free agent additions Matt Judon and Jonnu Smith, especially when all the other new additions to the team have been present.
5. While it’s hard to read a lot into things at OTAs, it’s worth noting Jakobi Meyers has led the Patriots receivers in all of the drills. This shows his growth from an undrafted rookie just two years ago. All of the receivers are pretty much in the same boat and not only will the rest of the spring and summer be a battle for roster spots, but it will also be for playing time come the regular season.
6. Watching two OTA sessions over the last week, it still feels like the team needs to add another contributor at the wide receiver position. And no, it doesn’t need to be Julio Jones, but someone who has made an impact in the league before would give the position a boost it needs going into training camp and then the regular season. There are more questions than answers at this position at the moment.
7. There was better attendance this week at the OTA open to the media than last week, but still a number of key players missing. This isn’t a big surprise given the NFLPA’s stance on the voluntary offseason workout program, but it will be interesting to see how much, if at all, it changes come mandatory minicamp in a few weeks.