NASHVILLE — A perfect 10 takeaways from the Patriots’ 22-17 victory in Nashville, a perfect 10 city . . .
1. It was interesting to see Patrick Chung, who has yet to play as he’s still rehabbing from offseason rotator cuff surgery, taking a role on the sideline, appearing to call in plays with outside linebackers coach DeMarcus Covington. Bill Belichick didn’t give a clear answer when asked Sunday during a conference call how that came about for the veteran safety, but said all players are put in position to take mental reps even when they’re not playing.
“I think hopefully all the players are involved in it when their unit’s on the field, so we try to make sure that everybody gets the calls,” Belichick said. “They should be able to identify the situation themselves — the down and distance, field position and end-of-the-half type situations, two-minute and things like that. But, we try to give them the call we made, whatever it is we’re running on offense, defense, special teams, so that they can watch their position, watch the play and hopefully they’re mentally reacting the way that they would want to react in a game, if they were actually in there playing.”
2. With Isaiah Wynn finally ready to get the start at left tackle, Dan Skipper functioned as a swing tackle Saturday night. Skipper started at right tackle, then moved back to left tackle once Wynn’s night was over after three series. The Patriots lost backup LaAdrian Waddle, who could play both sides, to the Buffalo Bills during the offseason and need someone like Skipper to fill that role.
3. Based on reactions from many fans and some media members around the league, Belichick’s terse statement regarding Josh Gordon’s reinstatement was taken in some parts as an effort to throw water on the idea that Gordon will be a major player for the Patriots. Not so, in this view. Belichick released the statement so he could refer to it as a means to add nothing further when questioned. Nothing more, nothing less. See his halftime interview with WBZ’s Steve Burton from Saturday for evidence. Asked if he had anything to add to the statement, Belichick gave a one-word answer: “Nope.”
Belichick doesn't need the preseason he's ready for the postseason.— Chad Amaral (@Chad_Amaral) August 18, 2019
Question: You put out a statement earlier today (on Josh Gordon) anything you would like to add to that?
Question: Not at all?
Bill: No, that's why I put out the statement #Patriots pic.twitter.com/2KvXYsxKsH
4. It’s strange to watch the Patriots offense function without a strong presence at tight end. Without Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots offense was always going to be less tight end-centric this season than it has been in years past. Right now, though, with Matt LaCosse out with a leg injury, the degree to which that’s the case is alarming.
5. Apple’s Autocorrect function has it wrong with Byron Cowart, whose last name it always tries to change to “Coward.” The Patriots’ fifth-round pick is a fearless player who has showed off some pass-rush moves. He put Titans starting left guard Rodger Saffold flat on his back easily and steamrolled into the backfield for a sack of quarterback Marcus Mariota early on Saturday night. Nick Caserio, the Patriots director of player personnel, called Cowart “more of a run player” on his draft night, but Belichick said Sunday that that was more of a reflection of his past production and the situations he was in than his overall potential.
“In the college scheme that he played in at Maryland, I wouldn’t say there were a lot of pass-rush situations,” Belichick said. “It was a little hard to evaluate that, so again, you can only go on what you see, and probably 75 percent of the plays — maybe more — that he played were either running plays or running situations.”
6. A dining tip learned after a few Patriots-related trips to Nashville in the last year: The South knows what to do with its vegetables. The “Plate of Southern Vegetables” at critically acclaimed Husk and “Wood Roasted Summer Vegetables” at Henrietta Red were exceptional and totally satisfying. Added bonus: The ability to walk, not roll, out of the dining room after a meal.
7. Jonathan Jones has had an excellent training camp so far. Because of the Patriots’ depth at cornerback, it’s been posited that he could be trade bait. Everyone has a price, but if he were being actively shopped, wouldn’t the Patriots have played him a little in the first or second preseason game as a showcase to drive up interest?
8. This reporter’s English teacher mother made it known that she disagreed with a recent Globe headline describing an Instagram comment from Tom Brady as “snarky.”
The comment in question was from Brady to rookie Chase Winovich, who posted a photo with a caption from Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.” “Study your playbook,” Brady responded.
Mom’s take, as texted Sunday morning: “I thought it was a fun pun and also supportive. Chase was quoting the best playbook of all. But maybe the Pats playbook is right up there! That’s the pun TB was making whether he knew it or not!”
9. Danny Etling is a quarterback again. Falcons coach Dan Quinn told reporters in Atlanta Sunday that the former Patriots QB-turned-WR will go back to his old position. That’s a good thing for Etling, who was claimed off waivers by Atlanta after the Patriots waived him last week.
10. After watching two weeks of joint practices and two preseason games, one takeaway is that the joint practices are far and away a better product for spectators than the preseason games.
They’re competitive, the starters actually play. and there are great, close-up vantage points to be had.
. . .
Wide receiver Dontrelle Inman requested and was granted his release from the Patriots, per a league source.
Inman, who was signed by New England in May as a free agent, had been stuck at the bottom of the depth chart this offseason.
According to a league source, Inman was prompted to request his release when he saw his situation grow more complicated by the league’s reinstatement of Josh Gordon from an indefinite suspension late last week, and by the emergence of rookie Jakobi Meyers, who has made strides throughout training camp.
Inman, 30, has played five seasons in the league. Last year, the 6-foot-3-inch, 205-pounder caught 28 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns for the Colts.