We are right in the epicenter of the best three weeks on the calendar. With the NBA and NHL playoff races entering the home stretch. The conclusion of March Madness. MLB Opening Day. The Boston Marathon and the Patriots Day morning game at Fenway that goes with it. And, of course, the Masters. I take a back seat to no man when it comes to appreciating this time of year. And will never fail to enjoy it to its fullest. You only get so many of these in the course of a lifetime.
But the world is just going to have to forgive me if my attention is elsewhere right now. Specifically, it's on a stretch of green a lot smaller and well south of Augusta. A practice field in Tampa where the vessel of all my hopes and dreams Mac Jones is sweating through his long sleeve shirt throwing the route tree to basically his entire wide receiver depth chart.
Kendrick Bourne. Nelson Agholor. Jakobi Meyers. DeVante Parker, who's been a Patriot for about 45 minutes. Even JJ Taylor, a 5-foot-6 UDFA with 42 career carries and five receptions who's hoping to jump into the running back rotation in his third season. Every wideout on the roster except N'Keal Harry. (Which if you ask me, is yet another positive sign. Best of luck in your future endeavors, Busty McGee.) All making the trip at their own expense in order to develop, enhance, and perfect that intangible chemistry that is essential for every quarterback to have with his receivers. That bond which is forged in the heat of the Florida sun in April. Shaped by countless reps. Hammered by familiarity with one another. And sharpened to deadly perfection by friendship.
And get a load of these guys getting themselves into playing shape already. As Bourne says in his IG video, Jones is slimming down (after saying at the Pro Bowl he was going to knock off the ice cream). Bourne himself has added six pound of mass to get up to 196 pounds. And Meyers has bulked up from 200 pounds to an incredible 225.
I'm tempted to say something about how the run to the 2022-23 playoffs is beginning right now on a Tampa practice field. But based on how these guys look, it began as soon as they got back from losing the Wild Card game. I won't wish away the spring or the summer. But Patriots Week 1 can't come fast enough.