Early reviews of new Patriots offense will get fans’ hopes up


What a difference an offseason can make. The New England Patriots are hoping that a familiar face can revive their young quarterback and a stagnant offense.

The transition from a quarterback who helped lead the team to six Super Bowl titles was not expected to be easy. The New England Patriots are a combined 25-25 the past three seasons sans Tom Brady. There was a playoff appearance in 2021 and it was a humiliating 47-17 loss at Buffalo.

That year, the team used a first-round pick on former University of Alabama standout Mac Jones. He started all 17 games for Bill Belichick’s club and enjoyed a solid debut campaign. He connected on 67.6 percent of his passes for 3,801 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. Jones fumbled three times and lost three of those miscues. The team overcame a 2-4 start by winning seven straight games. The Pats faded in the final four weeks and the season ended with that 30-point playoff loss to the Bills.

A year ago, longtime Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was hired to be the head coach of the Raiders. Belichick put assistants Matt Patricia and Joe Judge in offensive roles and the former wound up the play-caller. To quote Genesis’ Phil Collins, it was a “land of confusion.”

The Patriots ranked 26th in total yards per game, 24th in rushing and 20th in passing. New England’s offensive unit totaled only 31 touchdowns. It was quite a drop-off from a club that during Jones’ rookie year totaled 48 offensive TDs. He, rookie Bailey Zappe and veteran Brian Hoyer were sacked a combined 41 times and committed 18 of the team’s 23 turnovers.

Jones started 14 contests, looked hesitant at times, saw his completion percentage dip a bit, and finished with nearly as many turnovers (12) as touchdown passes (14).

The Patriots offense is going to be much better next season

However, it’s 2023, and that brings new hope and the return of a familiar face. Bill O’Brien is back with the organization and while it is extremely early, there are at least some positive signs.

The Patriots stayed in the playoff hunt until the very end this past season despite their offensive issues. Any improvement from the disaster that was 2022 would be welcome. There’s a long time between now and September 10. However, Belichick’s team will be tested right out of the gate when the club hosts the defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1.


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