How Patriots QB Drake Maye's household formed him to fulfill this second

by Christina S. Brown
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Drake Maye despatched a textual content to his brother, Luke, in Japan the opposite day. Drake is the newly minted New England Patriots quarterback after being the No. 3 total decide within the 2024 NFL Draft. Luke is in Japan taking part in professional basketball. Massive issues are taking place for each brothers.

However the textual content was about golf.

“Drake’s speaking about how he is getting a brand new driver for subsequent time he performs,” Luke stated. “He wants it as a result of I simply beat him about two weeks in the past.”

Golf is the athletic Switzerland for the Maye brothers. Impartial floor.

Luke, 27, is a former North Carolina basketball nationwide champion. Beau, 22, was a basketball walk-on for UNC. Cole, 25, received an NCAA baseball title at Florida. None of them ever performed golf on the collegiate stage. Cole is essentially the most practiced participant, the primary one to get a customized set of golf equipment.

Soccer, basketball and baseball aren’t actually truthful taking part in fields for the Maye brothers. Golf ranges the competitors — which is to say that golf fuels the competitors. Most different sports activities are unsafe for these younger males.

“I’ve watched them play two-on-two basketball, and it is a massacre,” stated Scott Chadwick, Drake Maye’s highschool coach.

Now, to be clear, the Maye household is as good and well mannered as they arrive. They’re “sure please, ma’am” and “no, thanks, sir” type of guys. However they’re additionally as aggressive as they arrive. On the course, there are not any gimmes. Drake will make his brothers putt all the things out, even from 4 toes. It is 18 holes of trash speak, even when guests be part of.

“I’ve missed a shot that price us a gap,” Chadwick stated. “I wished to apologize so badly to Luke as a result of now Luke needed to hearken to Drake trash-talking.”

There aren’t many competitions that Drake would draw back from. In actual fact, just one involves thoughts. And we’ll get to that. However New England’s new QB appears obsessive about successful.

“It does not matter if I am racing you out the door, or if we’re on the sphere competing. I believe competing to win, that is what Patriots Nation is about,” he stated.

Patriots thrive in first NFL Draft with out Invoice Belichick

Patriots thrive in first NFL Draft without Bill Belichick

Simply Tuesday, Maye was on Boston sports activities radio speaking about rookie minicamp, the place he’ll see fellow rookie quarterback Joe Milton, New England’s sixth-round decide. And whereas the 6-foot-4, 223-pound Maye had one of many strongest arms within the draft, Milton may need the strongest. So Maye fielded a query about whether or not he’d get right into a distance competitors with Milton.

“I ain’t gonna flip it down.” Maye stated.

In fact not.

Drake’s father, Mark, is a former UNC beginning quarterback and NFL backup. Drake’s mom, Aimee, was a wonderful highschool basketball participant.

“She’s most likely the perfect athlete in our household,” Luke stated. “She does not play [in the competitions] typically as a result of she is aware of she’d be in a nasty temper if she loses. However she’s been unimaginable. She’s tremendous supportive of all of us. And I simply do not suppose she will get sufficient credit score.”

Everybody within the Maye household has some kind of superlative. Drake had been combating for one thing apart from “youngest.” Being a top-three NFL decide is not too shabby. 

That stated, the Maye household values crew success over particular person success. Two of Drake’s brothers have championship rings. 

“I am gonna barely maintain my championship nonetheless above him,” Luke stated with a chuckle. 

There’s loads of time for Drake to chase a hoop, and everybody round him is anticipating massive issues. Tremendous issues.

“He’s a man who can win a Tremendous Bowl,” UNC coach Mack Brown stated this week. “Drake has actually been groomed for this. I imply his entire household his entire life expects this. And the 2 brothers throw the rings in his face on a regular basis. I’ve seen sufficient interviews the place they are saying, ‘Yeah, look right here massive boy. I’ve bought this.'”

Brown added: “I did inform him after the choice, ‘Neither one in all them had been first-round picks, so you’ve got bought slightly one thing on them proper now.'”

[McKenna: Why Patriots QB Drake Maye couldn’t be more different than Mac Jones]

Drake’s family and friends see the insane competitiveness in all places, even in Ping-Pong. As a freshman at UNC, Maye challenged the crew’s beginning QB, Sam Howell. When Howell beat Maye, the youthful QB would not settle for defeat. It went from a best-of-one to a best-of-three to a best-of-five to a best-of-seven. 

A number of years later, Coach Brown walked into the gamers’ lounge after listening to a commotion. There was a Ping-Pong paddle, shattered into items.

“The tight finish beat me. Are you able to think about?” Maye requested his coach.

“Nicely then, get higher at Ping-Pong,” Brown replied.

It is like that on the soccer discipline, too. 

Typically, that competitiveness is perhaps to his detriment. Final October, heading into UNC’s recreation in opposition to Virginia, Brown tried to get Maye to take just a few practices off. His response? “I can not miss follow. … I gotta get higher.” The Tar Heels took their first lack of the 12 months to Virginia. Within the regular-season finale in opposition to Twenty second-ranked NC State, Maye suffered an ankle damage within the first half. By halftime, UNC was down 26-7. Maye wasn’t taking part in within the bowl recreation. He might have simply bowed out and referred to as it a profession.

“I believed he was gonna be out [with the ankle]. They had been telling me he is most likely out,” UNC offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey stated. “It will have been very easy for him to type of simply trip off into the sundown. … I’m going see him at halftime. We’re down and he is [reviewing the first-half plays]. ‘Coach, I like this. I like this. I like this. Let’s return to this.’ 

“He simply by no means had any inkling that he wasn’t gonna compete all the way in which to the tip.”

However then there are these particular moments. Two stick out for his father, together with Brown, Lindsey and UNC Senior Advisor Clyde Christensen. The primary is Maye’s left-handed move, akin to one thing Brett Favre or Patrick Mahomes would possibly do.

In a recreation final September at Pitt, Maye was scrambling to his left with Panthers defenders closing in. It appeared like he deliberate on working for no matter he might get. However as a defender bought a hand on Maye, the QB appeared up and noticed receiver Kobe Paysour put up a hand. He was broad open. So Maye lifted the ball in his left hand and chucked it up for Paysour. Landing.

That offers you a style of Maye’s aptitude for the dramatic — and for his creativity. However his coaches wished to clarify how badly he needs to win and the way calm, composed and assured he will get in gotta-have-it conditions. So the second second that stands out to them got here throughout UNC’s 47-45, double-overtime win over Duke final November.

On North Carolina’s two-point strive in double extra time, Maye’s first possibility was a display on the boundary. He did not like what he noticed. Then he had a one-on-one out of the slot. Once more, he did not like what he noticed. So he determined to tuck and run.

“As many choices as we had, none of that appeared nice to me from upstairs,” Lindsey stated. “He simply determined to go run the draw after he appeared this fashion. After which [the pocket] collapses and the man that was one-on-one type of simply popped free. [Maye] simply raised up and popped it to him. In an enormous second, he by no means panicked and received the sport.”

OK, however what concerning the time Maye walked away from a contest? Nicely, it is a lengthy story that begins again in 2019, when Maye was a recruit dedicated to Alabama. 

Everybody thought he’d land at UNC like his dad and his brother. However throughout the recruitment course of, Drake and Chadwick informed scouts that the quarterback was not going to Carolina. Maye wished it recognized that he was going to contemplate all his choices — and he had nice choices. His prime gives got here from Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State. (He was the one QB in his prospect class to get gives from all three.) He made his determination to play for Nick Saban.

After Maye dedicated to the Crimson Tide, nevertheless, Alabama managed to flip Bryce Younger’s dedication from USC. He was going to the Crimson Tide — with Maye.

“[Then-Alabama OC Steve] Sarkisian had a protracted historical past with Bryce Younger’s household,” Chadwick stated. “So in Drake’s thoughts [he thought], ‘I am not gonna get a chance there so long as Bryce Younger is there.'”

Given the Sarkisian-Younger connection, these near Maye additionally puzzled whether or not it might have been an actual competitors. Plus, in keeping with Chadwick, Alabama had damaged a promise to Maye that it would not pursue one other QB in his class.

All of the whereas, UNC was jockeying for Maye, even after he’d dedicated to Bama. Former Carolina offensive coordinator Phil Longo — simply coincidentally, certainly — confirmed up at each Tar Heels basketball recreation that Maye attended to observe his massive brother Luke. The arrival of Brown in 2019, too, appeared like a stellar addition on the proper second for UNC. All of it modified Maye’s thoughts. 

Maye walked into Chadwick’s workplace and informed him about his change of coronary heart.

“I am not calling Coach Saban,” Chadwick informed Maye.

So Drake referred to as Saban and informed him that he was de-committing from Alabama and going to UNC. Maye skipped the competitors with Younger. As a substitute, Maye would head to UNC, the place he’d tackle Howell. If he did not win the job, Maye figured he might no less than see the sphere after Howell left for the NFL.

Was this shift an indicator of some underlying character subject? Uncertain.

“I’d undertake him,” Brown stated. “He is that excellent of a child.”

In the long run, even Saban understood Maye’s determination to decommit.

“I ought to be mad at him,” Saban stated throughout the ESPN broadcast on draft evening. “I get it, and it is a North Carolina household. He had an ideal profession and he did an ideal job for the state and I’ve plenty of respect for this man. This man is wired proper.”

Given what occurred to Maye at UNC in his last faculty season, it is enjoyable to think about him at Alabama. The Crimson Tide boasts a powerful supporting solid, with a few of the prime offensive linemen and receivers within the draft yearly. That was not the case for the 2023 Tar Heels, whose offensive line allowed 37 sacks. These safety points compounded the footwork and decision-making issues Maye had in 2022, when he threw for 38 touchdowns with simply seven picks. And so his movie might be higher in his first season as a starter for UNC. 

“He is aware of that he is bought to tighten up his footwork and get himself aligned appropriately and all of the issues that go into … simply dropping from underneath middle,” Christensen stated.

That is what Maye is engaged on now. He is in North Carolina with Christensen and Lindsey sharpening his footwork and protections. 

“That is a serious, main, main distinction in faculty and the professionals. How do I deal with the protections? As a result of unexpectedly, it falls on you,” stated Christensen, who has 27 years of NFL teaching expertise. 

Maye has completed some work with protections, however nothing on the stage that he’ll must do within the NFL. Enhancing his footwork and protections ought to assist put together him for the graceful and regular transition he’ll must win the beginning job for the Patriots.

New England signed veteran quarterback Jacoby Brissett in free company. The crew needs Brissett, Maye, Bailey Zappe and Milton to compete for the QB1 spot. Brissett is ready to make $8 million for 2024, whereas Maye will make $9 million yearly over his four-year deal. Maye has all of the expertise on the earth, whereas Brissett is competent however not flashy. 

New Patriots coach Jerod Mayo knowledgeable Maye in entrance of some coaches that he wouldn’t robotically be the Day 1 starter. He’ll must earn the job. However given Maye’s immense expertise, his draft place and his wage, it might be laborious to maintain him off the sphere on Sunday. He’ll get on the market in 2024 — and certain in Week 1.

Will Patriots sit Drake Maye in favor of Jacoby Brissett?

Will Patriots sit Drake Maye in favor of Jacoby Brissett?

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The primary attribute that separates Maye past his mindset is his arm expertise. However arm expertise is a difficult factor. It is largely primarily based on the attention take a look at. It is not like weight or peak and even pace and agility, the place you possibly can measure and quantify a participant’s bodily presents.

“I at all times get mad when individuals begin throwing across the time period ‘arm expertise,'” Christensen stated. “I am not 100% certain precisely what meaning. For me, what I care about is: Have you ever seen him make each throw? Can he throw the ball precisely? Does he have sufficient arm to throw the downfield stuff? Does he have sufficient contact to drop balls over prime of tight protection? Does he have an anticipation along with his arm?”

When watching Maye’s movie, the reply to each one in all Christensen’s questions is: Sure.

Maye has proven he can elevate an offense round him. That is what drew Patriots de-facto GM Eliot Wolf to the prospect. Maye will definitely want to try this with New England, which had one of many least-talented offensive items within the NFL final 12 months. And whereas the group did some roster reshuffling this offseason, it wasn’t the overhaul many anticipated given how a lot cap area the Patriots had going into free company. They nonetheless do not actually have a WR1 — nor have they got a left deal with. (Is it veteran Chukwuma Okorafor or rookie Caedan Wallace — who performed on the proper in faculty — or somebody not but on the crew?) 

So lots of the classes Maye realized at UNC will probably be relevant if he takes over this season. Regardless of if he struggles or immediately succeeds, he is most likely going to be a preferred man in New England’s locker room. He takes care of his personal. When NIL cash began pouring in at Carolina, Maye negotiated a sponsorship provide into a much bigger deal involving his offensive linemen. When he bought a proposal totally free seafood, he requested the corporate if it might embody his receivers and their households. 

Christensen, who labored with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning as an NFL coach, sees Maye’s thoughtfulness and management as overlapping qualities with these legends.

“I believe he has plenty of the identical traits that provide you with an opportunity to be nice,” Christensen stated. “He processes info extraordinarily effectively — rather a lot like Peyton. He has a humbleness and humility like Tom that gamers performed for. He has that type of humility that simply attracts teammates. He’s going to be an ideal teammate.”

Maye is aware of when to point out love for his guys. He is aware of when to encourage them to be higher. And like Brady, he is aware of when and the right way to hearth them up once they’re not taking part in effectively sufficient to get a W.

“I do not suppose that is a small attribute to share with Tom,” Christensen stated.

Maye is the longer term in New England. And the Patriots hope that future shares many traits with their previous, particularly their previous with Brady.

Previous to becoming a member of FOX Sports activities because the AFC East reporter, Henry McKenna spent seven years protecting the Patriots for USA TODAY Sports activities Media Group and Boston Globe Media. Comply with him on Twitter at @henrycmckenna.

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