Handing out 7 holiday gifts to the Patriots – Boston Herald


FOXBORO — Late Wednesday morning, Patriots center David Andrews received an early Christmas gift.

I know because I presented it to him.

Andrews won the 2023 Good Guy award, an annual media honor bestowed by every NFL beat to a player who “respectfully fulfilling their media obligations with class and professionalism.” The truth is, Andrews has done that for years. But no one player has taken public accountability during this miserable 3-11 campaign quite like Andrews.

He’s first to the podium after wins, losses and rip-your-heart-out defeats. He’s available to reporters during the week, and takes every question, pointed or otherwise, in his slow, southern stride. He addresses fans, protects his teammates and stands by his coaches,

Andrews is a captain’s captain. So in the giving spirit of this season, let’s hand out a few more gifts near the end of a tough Patriots season.

QB Mac Jones

A month-long, all-inclusive vacation on a remote Caribbean island

Get away. Go on a football cleanse. Don’t throw. Don’t watch highlights. Don’t even work out.

Hell, skip watching the Super Bowl, if you can. Just relax.

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones leaves the field at the end of a game at Gillette Stadium. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald)

Jones loves football more than the sport has loved him back these last two years. It’s time for a broken player to piece himself back together away from the field.

QB Bailey Zappe

A local endorsement deal that plays on his name

How has this taken so long?

Why is no there no Boston-area restaurant featuring “Zappe hour?” Or an exterminator business advertising to “Zap” the bugs in your house? Or Zap software company signing this guy?

Ride the wave while it lasts. He’s affable, comfortable in the spotlight and probably inexpensive. If Tommy DeVito can live like the king of northern New Jersey, why can’t Zappe be the prince of a private business in New England?

RB Rhamondre Stevenson

The Bubble Boy’s suit from that Seinfeld episode

New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson (38) scores a touchdown during an NFL football game against the New York Giants Friday, Nov. 26, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)
New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson (38) scores a touchdown during an NFL football game against the New York Giants Friday, Nov. 26, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

Stevenson is the Patriots’ best offensive player. He’s nursing an ankle injury. He will soon be extension eligible, having competed his third NFL season.

Until Stevenson can potentially put pen to paper, or begin training for an upcoming contract year, he should rest. Better yet, he should be insulated from any danger that might befall him ahead of the most critical 12 months of his career.

Stay safe. Suit up.

RT Mike Onwenu

An exorbitant 3-year contract extension

Where would the Patriots be without him?

Onwenu stabilized the Patriots’ offensive line once he moved to right tackle midseason. His plus run-blocking allowed them to become one of the NFL’s most efficient rushing offenses. He also handled All-Pro edge rusher T.J. Watt during the team’s last win at Pittsburgh.

Callahan: How much of this Patriots season can be blamed on injuries?

In a few months, Onwenu will hit free agency. It would behoove him to hit the open market, where he could find his true value. The Pats should prevent him from getting that far with an over-the-top offer that keeps their best, and one of their most versatile young players – forget just O-linemen – for years to come.

The defense

A stress ball

In consecutive weeks, Patriots defenders opened up to the Herald about how they felt they couldn’t allow any points if they hoped to win. That angst and frustration seemed to subside after the team’s upset at Pittsburgh.

But once the Chiefs staked an 14-point lead last Sunday, that game sure felt over. And it was. So the next time reporters stroll by after a loss, be at Denver, Buffalo or for the team’s home finale versus the Jets, grab a stress ball instead of a few headlines.

S Jabrill Peppers

A lifetime supply of IcyHot

Have you seen this dude hit?

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