Can virtual reality and ‘Madden’ reps really help Patriots’ QB’s?

One of the latest hot topics surrounding the Patriots is the use of virtual reality gadgets being used as teaching tools, particularly for the quarterbacks.

The development of Drake Maye is obviously the most important thing that happens this season regardless of the team’s record. Assuming Jacoby Brissett is in fact the Day 1 starter until the team feels Maye is ready, reps will probably be hard to come by in practice once the season gets going.

That’s where VR and games of Madden come into play.

We’ve all played the historic franchise on various consoles in our lives, and there’s no denying that it’s gone from a very easy game to play to one that requires true football knowledge to some extent. In Major League Baseball, pitchers have acknowledged they use MLB The Show for years while putting together scouting reports.

This is nothing new in sports.

Both the physical VR motions and the mental reps with Madden are legitimately helpful, especially for guys like Maye and Joe Milton who need to pick up as much as they can as quickly as they can. The VR stuff can’t hurt with Brissett as well as far as checks and audibles go, especially with this O-line uncertainty.

Why not try it if it allows players to steal some reps off the field?

Van Pelt and Maye were both asked about it on Tuesday following the final voluntary OTA before mandatory minicamp. Van Pelt certainly laid out plenty of good reasons of why it can be beneficial.

“Extra reps, extra reps. You can stand in a room and get 40 reps of just blitz and make the calls based off a virtual reality team,” explained Van Pelt. “So, it definitely gives the running backs, especially the quarterbacks more chances to see different looks. It’s evolved over the years, but definitely used Madden-like simulations to stimulate the players and get responses from them…you might only have 12 practice reps in a day, and say six of those are your reps vs. pressure, I can go inside and do 40 more pressure reps just standing there on a. simulated screen. You can triple, quadruple your repetitions.

“Say you have two jet protection and they bring certain pressures, now you can stand there and watch very easily and quickly say ‘this is what I have to do here, this is what I have to do here…’ it just gives you a bunch more opportunity to see different looks. They have the hand-held ones so you can see where they’re throwing, so that’s another thing. You can see a quarterback work through progressions and see where they’re going to throw the football.

“I think it can definitely help. I think you see real football times sometimes in Madden. I think they’ve done a great job kind of marrying the real game to the the video game. You see coverage shells, you can see rotation of safeties, you can see pressures and where they come from. I don’t see how it couldn’t help a little bit.”

Maye said the one the Patriots will be using is still being installed, but he’s eager to start using it.

“I haven’t (used it) it, I think it’s getting set up, so I’m just looking forward to seeing what it’s about, you know?” he said. “I’ve never done something like that. It’s just a chance to get additional reps and seeing things. You can never get enough practice. So, I’m looking forward to seeing what that’s about.”