New England Patriots quarterback Drake Maye completed 73% of his passes during OTAs and minicamp. Steven Senne/Associated Press

Sometimes, numbers tell the story. Other times, they can be misleading.

This spring, we saw quarterback Drake Maye, the New England Patriots first-round pick, practice five times against his defensive counterparts. Between OTAs and minicamp, the rookie showed rapid improvement and will head into training camp as the star of the show.

In each practice, a close eye was kept on every pass Maye attempted during full-team drills. These drills were split between 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 with no contract, no blocking, and no tackling. Of course, quarterbacks were donning red jerseys and couldn’t be touched.

As minicamp wrapped up this week, Maye came away looking like the best quarterback on the field. However, there is context since the rookie was practicing against the second-team defense. It was also clear that quarterback Jacoby Brissett, signed in the offseason, was operating from a fuller playbook and things were dialed back and made simpler for Maye.

However, Maye’s final stat line of the spring was impressive. He finished five practices completing 73% (56 of 77) of his passes in team drills. He also had three interceptions.

Brissett finished completing 59% (54 of 92) of his passes with no interceptions. The veteran struggled at times against the Patriots starting defense. His zero turnovers were a plus, however, historically quarterbacks complete around 70% of their passes in these drills.


Maye did that, but it wasn’t the case for other Patriots quarterback this spring. That’s why there are several reasons to be optimistic about this first-round pick.

The Patriots rotated four quarterbacks over the last two months. Maye led everyone in completion percentage. Bailey Zappe completed 55% (26 of 44) of his passes with two interceptions. Joe Milton III finished at 62% (13 of 21) with limited reps.

Again, these numbers deserve context. Maye wasn’t always going against a defense that had projected starters on the field. Sacks also weren’t allowed. That’s why ‘passing stats’ need to be taken with a grain of salt.

Comparatively speaking, however, Maye’s numbers compared to previous Patriots rookies are impressive.

In 2022, Zappe completed 67% (22 of 33) of his passes between four days of OTAS to go with two interceptions.

In 2021, Mac Jones completed 66% (57 of 87) of his passes with three interceptions during his rookie OTAs and minicamp.


To find a rookie quarterback with a better completion percentage in the spring (again grain of salt), you need to go to the 2016 offseason. That spring saw a then-rookie Brissett complete 75% (69 of 92) of his passes with two interceptions.

Of course, a difference there was that Brissett was taking third-team reps behind Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo. In case you’re wondering, Brady completed 78% (88 of 113) with one interception during that spring. Garoppolo was at 76% (88 of 116) with three interceptions in 2016.

FORMER COACH BILL BELICHICK has long made a mockery of social media, but on Saturday, he used it to send a heartfelt message to Patriots fans.

At Tom Brady’s Patriots Hall of Fame ceremony, Belichick received a thunderous ovation in his return to Gillette Stadium. Fans cheered for more than two minutes as Belichick struggled to begin his speech over the applause.

On the Bill Belichick Foundation’s Instagram page, the long-time coach posted a photo from the evening and thanked the audience with a personal message.

“More humbled and appreciative for this touching moment than you’ll ever know. Thank you, Patriots fans. – BB”


PATRIOTS OFFENSIVE LINEMAN Cole Strange suffered a torn patellar tendon in his left knee last season in a Week 15 loss to the Chiefs, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

At the conclusion of minicamp, Patriots Coach Jerod Mayo said Strange was the only player he didn’t expect to have available early in training camp, and in May made it clear the guard is dealing with a longer-term injury.

“He’s more of a, let’s say, week-by-week or you can go month-by-month if you want to,” Mayo said at the start of OTAs. “But he is working hard, you know, he is doing his rehab. He is here every day. He is in the meeting room, so I am happy where he is.”

Though sidelined, Strange was a consistent spectator at spring practices.

With coordinator Alex Van Pelt installing a new offense and Scott Peters taking over as offensive line coach, there was plenty for Strange to learn even though he wasn’t ready to get on the field. In Strange’s absence, Sidy Sow saw most of the reps at left guard, while veteran Nick Leverett was in the mix, too.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Strange may be out “until the middle of the season.”

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