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Patriots OTA observations: Maye makes minor leap during choppy session

Patriots OTA observations: Maye makes minor leap during choppy session originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The New England Patriots returned to the fields outside Gillette Stadium for another organized team activities session on Tuesday.

It's the final week of OTAs for the Pats, who will wrap up the voluntary practices with sessions on Thursday and Friday. They will have a short break before mandatory minicamp, which runs from June 11-13.

Here's everything you need to know from Tuesday's OTA session with takeaways from our Patriots insiders Phil Perry and Tom E. Curran, who were in attendance:

Attendance

Here is the full list of Tuesday's absentees:

Rookie wide receiver Javon Baker and cornerback Marcellas Dial Jr. were limited, per Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald.

Phil Perry's takeaways

Drake Maye moves up the depth chart

"Drake Maye was your second quarterback. Not Bailey Zappe, as had been the case during the two OTA sessions that the media had been allowed to watch," Perry said on the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast.

"So, that to me is fairly significant because I had been asking, 'Why is this happening, again? Why is Bailey Zappe getting reps that Drake Maye should be getting?"

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Patriots offense struggles

"The Patriots offense had a heck of a time trying to do anything in this practice. And that to me is worth pointing out because this was your first sign of, 'Oh boy, it could be a long year' because of who they have on the offensive side of the ball.

"Jacoby Brissett's first team period, 11-on-11, they were in the red zone, which is difficult for the offense, I understand that, because everything gets tighter down there. But Jacoby Brissett, (with) the first group, went 1 for his first 5 throws in 11-on-11s. Seven-on-seven was much better, but it felt to me when the linemen were actually out there, the Patriots had a hard time blocking."

Up-and-down day for Maye

"On the one hand, he made an accurate touchdown throw in the red zone. Back left corner of the end zone. It was like he could see the corner's leverage. The corner was sort of playing the slant, JuJu Smith-Schuster runs a corner, nice accurate throw, nice and easy pitch and catch.

"Made another play, extended sort of play situation where he's stepping up in the pocket, he's trying to go through a few different reads. He ends up throwing kind of on the move toward the line of scrimmage sidearm through a couple different bodies in the back of the end zone to (DeMario) Pop Douglas. So those were two nice plays.

"He had a pick that was just a spray miss. Just an overshot of JuJu Smith-Schuster that was caught by Kaleb Ford-Dement. ... The second pick, probably debatable whose fault it was. It's one of those, the receiver thought it was zone, Drake Maye thought it was man, so he thought the receiver was going to keep moving.

"The receiver in this case was actually a running back in Antonio Gibson. Gibson wasn't where Maye thought he would be and it ended up being picked but Kyle Dugger."

Tom E. Curran's takeaways

JuJu Smith-Schuster looks sharp, but exits session

"Really nice catch from Drake Maye in which he created separation down at the goal line. A nice slant catch, I believe that was from Jacoby Brissett on a nice dart. ... But then after the final play of one session, he went off. So we're going to keep an eye on him for minicamp availability next week. Disappointing for a guy who was excited about being at 100 percent.

DeMario Douglas "pops"

"The best offensive player they have and the best offensive player they'll have all year is DeMario Douglas. He was their best player, most explosive player all last year, he's going to be that again. He is impossible to guard and he had a terrific day today."

Jacoby Brissett shows frustration with o-line struggles

"We mentioned the jailbreak protection. Just too often, and Jacoby was pissed about it. ... Jacoby Brissett must have thrown four or five balls to the goal post. ... After the final rep, you saw just a frustrated Brissett walk over and briefly have just a little palms-to-the-air conversation with Alex Van Pelt and then just grab his water and go about his business.

"I'm sure it looks that bad all the time around the NFL, but this is a newly installed system with players who are just getting to know each other. It's going to take a minute."

You can hear more takeaways from Perry and Curran in the latest Patriots Talk Podcast episode.

Quotes of note

Head coach Jerod Mayo told reporters, including Phil Perry, that Maye is "headed in the right direction."

Patriots offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt wouldn't put a timetable on Maye earning the starting job and adamantly stated Brissett is the team's No. 1 signal-caller.

"There is no timetable," he said. "Jacoby is our starter and he's playing excellent football for us in the spring. ... Until that changes, we're going to stick with what we got."

Van Pelt spoke about the team's cautious approach with its first-round rookie QB.

"I think of it as a marathon over a sprint. You just don't go out and run a marathon. You have to train properly for a marathon," he said. "It's the same with the quarterback. There's a process and we follow that process, we trust that process. You can't just stick a guy out there and expect him to be successful without the proper training. ... We're going to take our time and do it the right way."

Maye told reporters, including Tom E. Curran, that he feels more comfortable with his footwork but it's a work in progress.