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Bill Belichick discusses Jonnu Smith's progress within Patriots offense

USA TODAY Sports Media Group
USA TODAY Sports Media Group
 2021-11-29
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Jonnu Smith stepped into the spotlight for a matchup against his former team, the Tennessee Titans, who lost to the New England Patriots, 36-13, on Sunday in Week 12.

The tight end had been somewhat underwhelming in the team’s offense, with some issues as a blocker and a lack of production in the passing game. It felt like a breakout game was in the works, especially with a little extra motivation for a revenge game. Smith didn’t have a huge game but his production, three catches for 49 yards, was influential for New England.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked whether he felt Smith showed progress this week.

“Jonnu’s been a good player for us all year,” Belichick said. “He brings a level of toughness in the run game and explosiveness with the ball in his hands. Or even when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands, he’s still an explosive player in the passing game that the defense has to respect. If they don’t, he’ll make a big play. If they do, a lot of times that creates space for other players. I thought his in-line blocking, which is something that he’s always done very well, is continuing to be a strength for him and us. When he has the ball in his hands, he’s a fast player that’s big, explosive and hard to tackle.”

This may not have been the breakout game the Patriots players have been saying is coming. But it did look like a step forward for the tight end, who offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels made a bigger part of the offense.

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