The New England Patriots‘ 2020 offense is going to be worse than it was last season. That’s what several analysts have proclaimed about the upcoming campaign.
ESPN’s Ryan Clark and Rob Ninkovich, who is also a former Patriot, don’t see a path for New England’s offense to be as good–let alone better than it was in 2019.
Here is a look at their segment on ESPN’s Get Up.
Here is essentially what Clark, a former NFL safety said about the Patriots’ offense with Jarrett Stidham at QB and questions across the offensive line and in the receiving corps.
No, they’re not going to be better. They didn’t go out and get better. It’s still the same wide receivers. I understand that you say you can be a run-first team. But they had this stable of running backs last year. This team is not going to be better without Tom Brady. He’s the greatest quarterback that ever played, and even he couldn’t make this offense go last year.
If you were looking for Ninkovich to be a little more supportive of the Patriots, sorry to disappoint you, but the two-time Super Bowl champion agreed with Clark.
In response to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, who opined the Patriots might be better without Tom Brady. Ninkovich said:
I can’t agree with that the Patriots offense is better with Brady. Look, you had a Hall-of-Fame QB for a very long time. If you have a great QB, their job is to throw the ball away when nobody is open. If you have a great QB, that means nobody was open. If you have a young QB, he might try to make a play and force the ball in there. He might throw the ball into coverage and toss interceptions. The No. 1 way to lose in the NFL is to turn the ball over. That’s how you lose. That’s losing football. You talk about running the football, you can’t just run the football. You have to be ahead to play that way.
Ninkovich and Clark may have a point, but they might also be neglecting a key component and that’s the presence of head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. There is no question an offense led by Stidham probably can’t survive or thrive throwing the ball as much as the Patriots had under Brady in recent years.
However, that’s not the only way to win football games. The Patriots still figure to have one of–if not the best defense in football. They would be smart to lean on that aspect of their team and to also use the running game far more than it has in the last 10 years. Fans, media, and players must remember, the Patriots weren’t always a pass-happy team. More than any other coaching staff, the Patriots have shown the willingness to adapt to the current player personnel.
If they are to be successful and to prove the doubters wrong, they will need to re-invent themselves once again.