From the moment the news was announced that the Patriots would operate without an offensive coordinator in 2022, people were stunned. It came off as so unorthodox, even for someone like Bill Belichick.
When Belichick announced that former failed head coaches Matt Patricia and Joe Judge would run the offense, it really made people scratch their heads. It sparked feelings of confusion and in some cases rage throughout Patriots Nation.
The move didn’t make sense back then, and nine weeks into the NFL season, it makes even less sense now. This is one of those occasions, which have been happening much more often of late, where Bill’s judgement is wrong. Flat out wrong.
There really have been little to no bright spots when it comes to the offense this season. They haven’t improved upon anything that the team built last season. In fact, the Patriots have seemingly regressed offensively.
The areas of the offense that worked in 2021 are not working this season. It’s been a disaster. The fact that the team is sitting at 5-4 going into the bye is a testament to the defense. The offense has been straight up hard to watch this season.
This team almost gives me 2020 Cam Newton Patriot vibes. That’s how much of a hard time this team has moving the football. The Patriots just simply have a hard time moving the chains.
The only player that has looked good this year for the Patriots is second year RB Rhamondre Stevenson. Aside from him though, and maybe WR Jakobi Meyers, everyone else has looked bad. There’s really no other way to put it.
Mac Jones has regressed horribly. All the things he did positively as a rookie are gone from his game. His decision making has been bad. That veteran poise he possessed has gone the way of the Dodo.
Jones has dropped in nearly every statistical category. Except for interceptions, which he is currently on pace to surpass his rookie total. Legitimate questions have arised about his future as the “guy” for New England.
The offensive line has gone from a strength to a weakness. Injuries do play a role with with also, but it’s not secret the lack of offensive direction is hurting. Even when healthy, this line hasn’t looked what it should be.
The receivers aside from Meyers have been terrible. Offense still struggles to get separation, an issue that has been present for years. The Patriots have the most expensive tight end room in the league, yet can’t figure out how to use them. Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith sometimes seem nonexistent in this offense.
Even Damien Harris, a breakout star last season, has not looked nearly as good. It just really feels like nearly everyone on this offense has regressed. Considering where this unit was last season, it’s hard not to point the finger at coaching.
The sad reality is that with a defense like this, New England should be a playoff team. They have a top ten defense in the NFL right now. It’s being absolutely wasted.
The Patriots are not the most talented offense in the league. However there is enough there that the team should be decent. That’s all they need to be. A decent, middle of the pack offense would get this team to the postseason.
This offense though is bottom of the barrel. Belichick entrusted two coaches with little to no experience coaching offense to run the show. Neither Judge nor Patricia have ever called plays for an offense.
Many new offensive coordinators can say the same, but the difference is they have long been groomed for their role. Even if they have no play calling experience, they’ve spent years as offensive assistants. They’ve worked their way up to the point of calling plays.
Belichick’s desire to break the coaching tree norms has damaged the “Patriot Way” in my opinion. Even the defense, which has employed the same “coordinator-less” approach has been hurt by this system at times. There is a reason that 31 out of 32 NFL teams follow the typical coaching structure. It works.
Belichick tried to do something different, go against the norms. For most of the Belichick Era in New England, these bucks against the league norms proved effective. It’s what made the Patriots stand out and succeed unlike any others. This time however, Bill’s unorthodox style has sunk the Patriots offense. If things don’t change soon, I fear the entire franchise will sink as well.
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