Who is to blame for the Patriots’ woes? | Jobs Vox


The New England Patriots defense is very good, but their offense is… not so good. While New England is currently 7-6 and on the playoff bubble, their offensive struggles are plenty of cause for concern.

Especially in recent weeks, these battles and potential internal conflict have been thrust into the public eye Quarterback Mack Jonesoutbursts Directed at offensive player Matt Patricia. But who deserves the most blame for all those offensive matters?

Jones is the face of the offense as its quarterback and de facto leader, and he’s having a statistically worse year in his sophomore year than he did in his rookie season. He’s throwing fewer touchdowns, more interceptions, and his passer rating is down about seven points from last year. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s to blame for the Patriots offense, especially considering all the other factors.

One big factor is the loss of former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who left for the vacant head coaching position in Las Vegas. Last year under McDaniels, the Patriots were the sixth-leading scorer in the NFL and in the top half of all teams in total offensive yards. They were also a top-10 team in offensive EPA/game. McDaniels’ system didn’t ask Jones to do that tons– Most of his pass attempts were within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, but he succeeded when called upon and finished above average in quarterback efficiency last season.

So after losing McDaniels, who helped build the offense that made their rookie quarterback successful and took the team to the playoffs, the Patriots replaced him with… *notes* no one. Instead, New England ran with Patricia, their former defensive coordinator, as their new “senior football advisor” and offensive lineman. It was a strange move at the time, and it hasn’t aged well.

At the head of Patricia, all insults dispersed. Jones currently has a negative EPA/game and is one of the NFL’s worst quarterbacks by that metric; He currently trails players like Taylor Heinicke, Kenny Pickett and even Russell Wilson. It’s not just Jones. The offense is 24th overall in the NFL in EPA/game and 26th in passing success rate. They are in the bottom half in scoring and one of the 10 worst offenses per game.

why is that What happened?

Well, for starters, in part because of their struggling offensive line, the offense is so dependent on short passes and screens. On Monday night against the Arizona Cardinals, Jones threw 12 screen passes, making up nearly a third of his pass attempts (32%). For the record, that’s the most of Jones’ career, especially considering he only had two games with more than five such passes in his rookie season. It was also the most screen run attempts this season since Week 5, when Jalen Hurts threw 14.

What was most disappointing about this approach was not only the lack of yards they gained on those plays (4.8 average), but how solid Jones was when Patricia allowed him to open up a bit. On non-screen plays, the quarterback was 13-23 for 177 yards, averaging 7.7 yards per attempt. He completed seven of his 11 attempts for more than 10 yards.

Another problem with the offense is the team’s inability to use all of its weapons effectively. To that end, their leading receiver (by receptions) isn’t actually a wide receiver, it’s running back Ramondre Stevenson. In my opinion, New England is one of two teams that will target running backs more than their wide receivers this year. The other is the Los Angeles Chargers, who have Austin Ekeler, not to mention injuries to their top receivers this season.

The use of rookie Tyquan Thornton this year has been another courtesy of Patricia and the Patriots offense. Considering he’s a second-round pick in the first place, likely thanks to his 4.3(!) speed in the 40, it’s frankly strange how little play he’s had all season as a vertical threat to the offense.

Thornton has only had 6 targets past 20 yards this season and isn’t even in the top 60 of all NFL receivers in the percentage of his routes that are “go” routes. With receiver Jacoby Meyers injured entering Monday’s game and running back Devante Parker suffering a gruesome head injury on the play, it’s especially strange that Thornton hasn’t gotten more looks. He finished the day with just five targets, catching four (the fifth was an interception by Jones) for a total of 28 yards.

Patricia deserves all the blame (including Jones) for how deplorable abuse has been this year. The offensive game was too conservative — even compared to last year — and it held back Jones, the offense and the team. Even if the main reason for this is the poor play of the offensive line, Patricia is still to blame because he is also the offensive line coach.

Between an over-reliance on the quick game and an inability to properly utilize Jones and the weapons around him to maximize production, New England’s offensive play-maker is clearly at fault. Jones has proven he can be successful in the right system as a rookie, but this The system did not work.


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