Patriots are using VR to train Drake Maye, and Felger hates it

Patriots are using VR to train Drake Maye, and Felger hates it originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The more reps Drake Maye gets, the faster he'll develop as an NFL quarterback. But what if some of those reps were virtual?

Both New England Patriots executive vice president of player personnel Eliot Wolf and head coach Jerod Mayo have mentioned in the last 24 hours that the team is using "virtual reality" as a tool to train its quarterbacks. Mayo noted that VR is a way to get additional simulated "reps" for players like Maye, who was third in the QB pecking order at Patriots OTAs on Wednesday behind Jacoby Brissett and Bailey Zappe.

This seems like a creative way for New England to maximize its resources in developing Maye, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft and the team's hopeful QB of the future.

But not everyone is on board.

"This I find so laughable, and I don't care how many teams have done it," co-host Mike Felger said Wednesday on NBC Sports Boston's Boston Sports Tonight.

Felger noted he's received emails defending the Patriots' use of VR by comparing it to flight simulators used to train pilots. Needless to say, he's out on that analogy.

"Hey, dummy, listen to me," Felger said. "Do you know why they put them in flight simulators? Because if you put them in a real plane and they make a mistake, what happens? The plane crashes. So they have to put them in simulators.

"In football, you can go out and practice the thing in real life and no one gets hurt and you're fine. So, bad analogy. Stop sending me that one."

Felger also wonders if ownership is behind the push to use virtual reality, as Robert Kraft was the owner of the Boston Uprising, an e-sports team that competed in the now-defunct Overwatch League.

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"This I find pathetic," Felger added. "You know what I find this is too? The Krafts invested heavily in this fakakta, stupid e-sports thing where we were all expecting to sit around and watch other people play video games, which of course we were never going to do.

"It was stupid. It failed. But they probably have room after room full of this crap sitting around that no one is using. And so now they're throwing Drake Maye up there. That's where they're getting their work. And unprompted, Eliot Wolf and Jerod Mayo are talking about the virtual reps. Now, they have the football people selling this thing, and you know if they're mentioning it, that's just the tip of the iceberg.

"They're running around playing Tron up there at Gillette Stadium."

Virtual reality obviously shouldn't replace any of Maye's real-life, on-field reps. But if it can augment Maye's development, there's no reason why the Patriots shouldn't deploy the technology, just as they'd have Maye study film or read a playbook.

In fact, fellow rookie quarterback Jayden Daniels has already benefited from VR and used the technology at LSU, where he won the Heisman Trophy last season.

It appears the Patriots are taking a similar tactic with Maye, and it will be interesting to hear from the young QB about how VR is impacting his development.