Patriots

Jaguars miffed at lack of penalty calls on Patriots

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Jaguars miffed at lack of penalty calls on Patriots

The Jaguars clearly felt as though they were given the short end of the stick when it came to the officiating on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. 

Jacksonville ended up having six accepted penalties for 98 yards while the Patriots had one penalty called against them -- a Marquis Flowers hold on a kick return -- for 10 yards. 

The feeling the Patriots locker room after the game was that Clete Blakeman's crew erred on the side of not officiating too aggressively. But the Jaguars felt as though there was something else at play. 

"I was pissed because I seen [Danny] Amendola head-butt the hell out of [Tashaun Gipson] in front of the ref and you all don't call nothing?" cornerback A.J. Bouye said, per ESPN. "It don't make no sense man; it's a lot of stuff that don't make no sense. I have a lot of respect for these people in this locker room. They kept fighting, we all kept fighting. We knew there was stuff we couldn't control, and we kept it close."

Bouye was flagged for a pass-interference penalty on Brandin Cooks that gave the Patriots 32 yards late in the second quarter and helped set up James White's score just before the break. Cooks also drew a 36-yard pass-interference call on Jalen Ramsey in the fourth quarter.

"I just got to watch the tape," Bouye said. "I need to go look at the rulebook on [pass interference penalties], because you're telling me the receiver can have his hands on me the whole way down the field, but if I look for the ball and try to protect myself from being pushed, it's a flag?

"Like I said, I just have to be better. I can't put my team in that situation. It's a flag, I got to own up to it, find a way to get better at it."

Myles Jack was asked about the penalty numbers, and replied, "Interesting. My thoughts on that is . . . yeah, that's kind of self-explanatory. I didn't know that.

"I'll just say that's self-explanatory. Interesting. That's all I'm going to say."

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Patriots Talk Podcast: Measuring the toll that opt-outs took around the NFL

Patriots Talk Podcast: Measuring the toll that opt-outs took around the NFL

Thursday's deadline for players to opt out of the 2020 NFL season has come and gone.

A total of eight New England Patriots players, including linebacker Dont'a Hightower, safety Patrick Chung, and tackle Marcus Cannon, have chosen to sit out of the 2020 campaign due to concerns about the coronavirus.

With the Pats impacted by opt outs more than any other team, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discuss on a brand new Patriots Talk Podcast the toll they will have on New England this season.

Patriots Talk Podcast: Measuring the toll that opt-outs took around the NFL | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

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"Dont'a Hightower may end up being the most high-profile guy that chooses to opt out. I would say Patrick Chung and Marcus Cannon are somewhere in that next tier," Perry said. "So when you have three starting-caliber players and four real contributors ... there's no other team in the league I think you can look at and say they've been just as hard by these opt-outs as the Patriots.

"And we talked about what they might do to fill in. I think right now is the most important time because if you're somebody like Josh Uche or Ja'Whaun Bentley or Yodny Cajuste, it doesn't matter that you're getting no time on the field right now. You have to squeeze every last drop out of every single meeting that you have the opportunity to attend, every rep you can do in the weight room ... you're going to be thrown right into the fire and you have to make sure that you're ready."

There is some optimism heading into the new season, believe it or not. Perry notes that the defense -- even after all of the opt outs -- might be better than expected for New England in 2020.

"I think if you look at the Patriots defense, I think that is the one thing that we all looked at even before they signed Cam Newton and said, 'If you were hoping they were gonna suck for Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields or somebody else near the top of the draft, the defense might do you in this year,' " said Perry. "Because they still should be good. Even if they're not the best defense in football, they still have arguably the best secondary in the league.

"And even without Dont'a Hightower, they have enough pieces and they've done well enough to scheme quarterback pressure that it should give you a representative effort each and every week which still some teams across the league you look at these rosters and wonder how they're gonna compete at all."

Curran and Perry also discuss power rankings in the AFC East after the opt outs, whether the Patriots offense will be fun to watch, takeaways from Tom Brady's introductory press conference with the Buccaneers, and why Brady may struggle in Tampa Bay.

Check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network or on YouTube.

NFL Power Rankings: Where do Patriots stack up after opt-outs?

NFL Power Rankings: Where do Patriots stack up after opt-outs?

So what matters the most this year? Is it the guys you had in 2019 who are coming back? Is it the guys you added in the offseason? Is it the young guys you drafted? Is it the length of time the coaching staff’s been together? Or the offensive coordinator and coaching staff?

Is it how well the team blocks out the distraction (“distraction” feels like an inadequate word, I know) of COVID-19 and deals with the logistical walls it’s created? Or is it how well the team’s players deal with the daily mental stress that they can either get it and get really sick; get it and have nothing happen; get it, not know it and pass it on to someone who may then get really sick or get it, pass it to a teammate and then see the whole league come to a grinding halt?

Do you know? I don’t know. As a result, there’s little jumbling in the Power Rankings. But three factors affecting every team right now that never are: opt-outs, the lack of offseason work and the approach of core, veteran leadership in an unprecedented time. Let’s get it. (Predraft ranking in parentheses).