Arbella Early Edition

What will Patriots' ‘collaborative' Drake Maye approach look like?

Who will have the most say in determining when Maye makes his first NFL start?

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The New England Patriots have made it very clear they're taking things slow with Drake Maye, with veteran Jacoby Brissett expected to be the Week 1 starter as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft observes and develops.

But at some point, Maye will be ready to start an NFL game. And when that point comes, who will ultimately give Maye the green light to take the field?

Patriots executive vice president of player personnel Eliot Wolf insisted Tuesday his team will take a "collaborative approach" to Maye's development, with staffers on multiple levels of the organization weighing in. But Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran believes it should be new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt who ultimately deems Maye ready to start.

"Alex Van Pelt should make the decision as to whether or not this guy is ready to drive this offense," Curran said Tuesday on NBC Sports Boston's Arbella Early Edition. "(He should say), 'He's shown me enough. He's got command, he knows where the ball is supposed to go and we are safeguarded against him costing us games on a regular basis. He might cost us a game, he might cost us a drive. But overall, I want him to drive my car.'"

Van Pelt will be working closely with Maye on a day-to-day basis and will have the best handle on the QB's on-field development. But there could be value in having other key members of the organization -- such as Wolf and head coach Jerod Mayo -- share different perspectives on when it makes the most sense to give Maye the starting job.

"I totally agree that Alex Van Pelt should be able to say, 'He's good to go now' or 'No, not yet,'" Patriots Insider Phil Perry responded to Curran. " ... But I would want the input from those other guys to say, 'Yeah, the line, it's still not where we want it to be. Maybe we should wait another couple weeks.' I think that's how it could go."

Curran believes that's how "collaboration" could play out in New England: Van Pelt starts the discussion with his take on Maye's readiness, then Wolf, Mayo and others provide their bigger-picture perspective.

"That's what I think a collaboration should sound like," Curran said. "'Alex, it's your offense. Do you want him out there yet?' And he says, 'Yeah, I think so.'

"And then for instance, Eliot Wolf says, 'But look, do you really want to do that with X, Y, and Z coming up on the schedule?' Or Mayo says, 'Look, the tenor of the locker room is such right now that maybe we go with Jacoby another week.' Those kinds of things can enter into it."

That setup would be a departure from the Bill Belichick era, when the Patriots head coach/de facto general manager had complete authority over every football decision. And after New England watched its previous first-round QB, Mac Jones, flame out after just three seasons, such a change may not be a bad thing.

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