Images courtesy of Patriots.com
At the end of his media availability on Wednesday, Bill Belichick announced which players had been selected as captains for the 2022 season.
Matt Slater (special teams), Devin McCourty, Deatrich Wise Jr., Ja’Whaun Bentley (defense), David Andrews and Mac Jones (offense) were all chosen to lead the team this season. A few of these were no brainers, but a few others guys are interesting selections.
Slater, McCourty and Andrews were all pretty easy choices. As the true veterans on the roster, all three of those guys scream “leadership” and deserve to continue having the honor based on what they’ve done for the franchise throughout their careers. All three guys seem to have the ear of Belichick too, which is extremely valuable as this franchise continues to transition out of the last era and into this new one.
The first interesting choice was Wise. Wise is entering his sixth season already and is now next in line to become one of those veteran leaders. Wise has played in 16 games in four of his first five seasons, but only started in nine and seven games respectively each of the last two seasons. This seems to be a sign that he’s turning into a more reliable player and one teammates are expecting big things from.
The same can be said for Bentley. Throughout the offseason, Bill Belichick and teammates have raved about Bentley’s leadership both on and off the field. The linebacker room has been deemed “his room” by Jerod Mayo and Belichick repeatedly acknowledged how much Bentley has grown into the leadership role. Bentley started 16 games last year and 13 in 2020 after joining the team in 2018 from Michigan. It was also a bit surprising to see Bentley and Wise selected over a veteran like Matthew Judon, but it speaks to how highly teammates must think of both guy’s work ethic and how much they’ve climbed the ladder within the organization.
Mac Jones being a captain is important. This shows that his teammates – as they’ve continuously said – believe in him as the guy. With this being Jones’ team in year two, wearing a “C” will only further empower him to take hold of things, especially if the offense gets off to a shaky start.
“I think it’s really cool. I think I have a lot of work to do. I want to become an even better leader,” Jones told the media in Florida. “I think we have great guys around us that make everything better. Great coaches, great organization and we’ve just got to build. I’m going to learn from the older guys like I did when I first got here and continue to do that. Hopefully some of the younger guys can come to me, whether that be issues and things they want to get fixed, or things that they’re struggling with. I’ll be happy to help anybody on our team.”
To his credit, Jones also acknowledged that being a captain by title is just that, a title. Mac is who he is and isn’t going to change his leadership style just because of the patch that will now be added to his jersey.
“I mean titles are titles. I think really good leaders lead no matter what. If they’re the number one guy or not, it doesn’t matter, they’re good leaders,” Jones added. “I think it’s great. But you have to be yourself and that’s what’s important to me, is just being myself. I’m plenty good enough and I just need to continue to grow and try to figure out how I can get better as a player, as a leader, and a person and all that stuff. So it comes with time and experience and learning lessons.”
There’s a nice balance of young and old for Pats captains in 2022, we’ll see how well each guy can lead and (hopefully) surprise quite a few people who are doubting them.
Images courtesy of Patriots.com