New England Patriots may look to rookie Pierre Robust Jr. to spell injured James White

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Fast-hit ideas and notes across the New England Patriots and NFL:

1. Robust possibility: In an ideal Patriots world, veteran James White will recapture the shape that made him the NFL’s most efficient pass-catching operating again earlier than sustaining a critical proper hip damage final September. From 2015 to 2020, no operating again within the NFL had extra receptions (364), receiving yards (three,161) and receiving touchdowns (25).

However White has opened 2022 training camp on the physically unable to perform list, which initially has the Patriots contemplating different choices.

Pierre Strong Jr., the 2022 fourth-round choose from South Dakota State who posted the quickest 40-yard sprint time amongst operating backs on the NFL mix (four.37) this 12 months, is one among them.

In an interview with, South Dakota State coach John Stiegelmeier described a participant who seems to be a super match for the function.

As a pass-catcher: “He is phenomenal. That is his biggest power. He has unbelievable arms — very gentle. We want to isolate him on a linebacker and say ‘benefit Pierre.'”

Blitz pickup: “We by no means anxious about him. I feel he confirmed that within the [Shrine] Bowl recreation, the place he blocked FBS All-Stars and stood in there. We work it; it isn’t one thing we take without any consideration. We go full velocity with a linebacker coming proper at you [and] you’ll be able to’t lower him. So Pierre’s braveness and talent is correct the place it must be.”

In 48 profession video games with the Jackrabbits, who play within the Soccer Championship Subdivision, Robust Jr. totaled 62 receptions for 581 yards and three touchdowns.

He may need had elevated manufacturing if he wasn’t as profitable as a pure runner, the place his velocity and operating model in a zone-based scheme helped him amass four,669 yards on 631 carries (7.2 avg.) and 40 touchdowns.

“His capability to get his legs up within the air is exclusive, so that you’re actually attempting to sort out one leg when you get to him,” Stiegelmeier stated. “He was not a stop-and-try-to-juke-a-guy [runner]. He would do it full velocity, within the open subject, and to interrupt down and sort out when he is going full velocity is de facto robust.”

When Stiegelmeier (getting into his 26th 12 months) mirrored on 5 seasons of teaching Robust, he stated the best way it began spoke volumes — a redshirt freshman in 2017, after which deep on the depth chart to start 2018.

“He stored working exhausting, we had some accidents, after which the final half of the [2018] season he ended up being our main rusher,” he stated.

“His humility, his capability to be a workforce participant and do what’s requested of him and never need extra, however put together for extra — that is not a typical trait these days. Younger males, student-athletes, need it and assume they need to be getting it. Pierre was affected person, humble, and when he received his likelihood exploded.”

The Patriots have historically been affected person with rookie passing backs. White hardly performed in 2014 after New England chosen him within the fourth spherical, and Shane Vereen performed sparingly in 2011 after being tabbed within the second spherical.

That gave them time to regulate to the calls for of blitz pickup — typically cited because the No. 1 duty to earn the boldness of the teaching employees — and the NFL as an entire.

In 2022, the Patriots have Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson as their high conventional operating backs, with Stevenson saying one among his offseason objectives was to turn into extra of an element within the passing recreation. Thick-legged rookie Kevin Harris (sixth spherical, South Carolina) provides depth behind them.

Then, within the extra conventional passing again function, there’s White, Robust, third-year participant J.J. Taylor, and eight-year veteran slash possibility Ty Montgomery, who was signed as a free agent in March.

“I’ve had plenty of individuals who observe the Patriots say Pierre is an ideal match for his or her philosophy by way of utilizing operating backs,” Stiegelmeier stated.

2. Coaching camp: Rookies, quarterbacks and rehabbing gamers have already reported for Patriots coaching camp, and the rest of the roster arrives Tuesday. The workforce will apply Wednesday-Saturday at 9:30 a.m., after which Monday-Thursday on the similar time. At 7 p.m. on Aug. 5, apply is scheduled inside Gillette Stadium for season-ticket members and Foxborough residents.

three. Belichick & Seymour: With Aug. 6 a break day at Patriots coaching camp, it is ideally suited timing for coach Invoice Belichick. That is when Richard Seymour is inducted into the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame (midday ET, ESPN), slotted third within the speech order, and Belichick is now freed as much as journey to Canton, Ohio.

four. Parker’s No. 1: Receiver DeVante Parker wore No. 1 at Ballard High School in Louisville, Kentucky, and that explains his motivation to change from 11 to 1 in his first season with the Patriots. It is a return to his roots. The quantity turned obtainable when N’Keal Harry was traded to the Bears on July 12.

5. Robust’s calves: One factor that stunned Stiegelmeier when it got here to NFL groups scouting Robust: “An enormous majority of them questioned about his legs, as a result of he had very skinny calves. They thought he seemed extra like a cross-country runner. To me, it is extra concerning the coronary heart, not the legs, chest or arms … I used to be amazed at how a lot inventory they put into how a man appears to be like. I feel that is a part of the thorough analysis within the NFL.”

6. Thornton’s wrists: Between Robust’s calves and second-round choose Tyquan Thornton‘s wrists that measured 6 1/eight (skinniest of any receiver), it is going to be notable to see if these measurements play a think about every participant’s improvement. Thornton, a receiver from Baylor, appeared genuinely stunned it was a problem, saying within the spring, “Skinny wrists? I imply, what are you utilizing your wrists for? That was new to me.”

7. MVP Mac? ESPN NFL analyst Mike Tannenbaum is bullish on Patriots quarterback Mac Jones, making him his “sneaky MVP” choose throughout an look on Get Up final week. Patriots followers ought to hope Tannenbaum is as prescient as he was about Justin Herbert getting into the 2019 draft, as he had persistently touted him over Tua Tagovailoa when that wasn’t a majority opinion.

eight. UDFA streak: The Patriots have had an undrafted free agent make the opening-day roster every of the previous 18 seasons, the third-longest streak within the NFL behind the Chargers and Colts. Of the 5 UDFA’s on the 2022 roster, right here is one view of the likeliest candidates to maintain the streak alive:

  1. C Kody Russey

  2. ST Brendan Schooler

  3. DL LaBryan Ray

  4. OLB DaMarcus Mitchell

  5. P Jake Julien

9. Hines vs. Stueber: Patriots rookie offensive linemen Chasen Hines (sixth spherical, LSU) and Andrew Stueber (seventh spherical, Michigan) have opened coaching camp on the energetic/non-football damage record, however they seem like in several classes of restoration. Hines is understanding on the sector, whereas Stueber is not, which would appear to mirror he is additional away from a possible return.

10. Do you know? The Patriots play two opponents in 2022 whose head coaches have been drafted by New England: Kliff Kingsbury (sixth spherical, 2002) at Arizona (Dec. 12) and Kevin O’Connell (third spherical, 2008) at Minnesota (Nov. 24). The final workforce to face two drafted gamers as a head coach was Chicago in 2014 (Jim Harbaugh, Ron Rivera).

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