Drake Maye, coaches say he has made probably the most progress in these areas


Alex Van Pelt preached patience on Tuesday when asked when Drake Maye could be given the keys to New England's offense.

“I think of it more like a marathon than a sprint,” Van Pelt admitted. “You don't just run a marathon – you have to really train for a marathon. It's the same with a quarterback.”

“There's a process and we follow that process. We trust that process. And then you can't just send a guy out there and expect him to be successful without the right training. So it's a process. We're taking steps in the right direction.”

That's exactly what Maye did during New England's latest organized team activity (OTA) on Tuesday when it got here to moving up – or reasonably, moving up – in New England's rankings.

After rating third behind fellow quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett and Bailey Zappe in team practices over the past few weeks, Maye overtook Zappe during Tuesday's practice on the fields behind Gillette Stadium and was second within the pecking order by snaps.

And although he was criticized for a few interceptions on a weak day for New England's offense, Maye is pleased with the upward trajectory he has taken since arriving in Foxborough lower than two months ago.

“It's been great,” Maye said. “First time in the NFL. First time practicing. First time on a team. First reps at an NFL practice. I'm just trying to soak it all in. I'm trying to learn as much as I can.”

With training camp still over a month away, the Patriots aren't necessarily focused on a QB competition at once. Rather, New England's rookie minicamp and OTAs function necessary windows of opportunity for the team to hone mechanics and install their playbook.

Maye acknowledged that New England's playbook is kind of extensive. Van Pelt admitted that some plays are between 12 and 14 words long. But despite the flood of data Maye has to process, he believes he’s on the precise track at this stage of the NFL calendar.

“Going forward, just all the terminology. All the movements, all the different formations. I think I understand that pretty well. I'm still in the development phase, getting the new installations every day. But I think I'm a smart kid. I try to understand that pretty quickly,” Maye said. “And then I'm still working on commanding a group and spitting out the plays.

“It's easy to get them and know what I'm going to do, but telling the fellows and being within the huddle and showing gestures to the opposite guys, using my rhythm. I'm just playing quarterback, playing the position. I'm not making as many throws and stuff. Also, I feel footwork is a giant thing. That's something we've been working on. (Quarterbacks coach) TC (McCartney) and people guys and Coach Van Pelt. I feel it's an ongoing process and I feel pretty good about it.”

Van Pelt has stressed the importance of New England's quarterbacks playing left-footed, even if it requires Maye to break down a lot of muscle memory. So far, Maye has made great progress in adapting to this revised technique.

“I might say it's probably just the flexibility to know the footwork,” Van Pelt said of Maye's biggest surprise and development so far. “That's a giant adjustment for a player to are available and completely change his footwork, but he did it straight away. … Our system is all about timing and rhythm within the passing game.

“And I think the left-footed striker has always given this offense the best chance to play on time and in rhythm.”

New England views Maye as a staple at its franchise quarterback position, and his strong arm and durable frame are a compelling argument for why the Patriots chosen the UNC product with the No. 3 pick within the 2024 NFL Draft.

But Van Pelt and the Patriots don't plan to rush Mayes' schedule beyond what he can show in workouts this preseason.

“I think you have to take it as it comes,” Van Pelt said of when Maye could realistically be within the starting lineup for New England. “I really think it's going to be a combination of factors. When those decisions are made, they're made together as a group… But when that happens, we'll see. But there's no timetable. Jacoby is our starter again and he's playing great football for us in the spring. And Drake is coming.”

New England has the posh of not having to make use of Maye within the NFL until he's ready, however the 21-year-old quarterback hopes to force the Patriots into motion with a powerful performance in the approaching months.

“I think it's a battle. Jacoby, Bailey and I. We battle,” Maye said of his current workload. “They shuffle around every day as to who goes to who. It's not necessarily, 'Hey, you go first. You go second.' Jacoby is first and from there, it's play by ear. Obviously, how you do when you're in there is important.”

image credit : www.boston.com