There are certain franchises that simply don’t bother with excuses. The New England Patriots have established themselves as one of those kinds of organizations.
Because of that, it should come as no surprise when offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels refuses to use the team’s obvious lack of talent at the skills positions as a scapegoat for his underperforming unit.
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McDaniels on His Offense: “We Have Enough People Here to Win”
During McDaniels’ time with the media on Tuesday, he was asked about the talent and performance level of his wide receivers, tight ends, and quarterback. As usual, McDaniels supported his players, and quite frankly, he sounded a little miffed that he continues to get questions on this subject.
They [the receivers] work their butt off, and they’re doing what they can do each week to prepare and play their best. I couldn’t ask any more of those guys with their attitude and effort and approach. I don’t worry about this, that and the other in terms of weapons and all that. We have enough people here to win, and we’ve got to do a better job of executing and putting those guys in positions to be productive. But they come in here and work their butt off every week, and they’ve all made plays and done things to help us win. And we have to do more of that as we move forward here in the last few weeks.
There are no players on the Patriots’ offense who can be legitimately accused of not playing hard. If you go back and watch All-22 video, as I have on multiple occasions throughout the season, you see each guy giving it their all on plays that don’t even involve them directly.
Because of this, it has to be very upsetting to be questioned, doubted, and overall disrespected each week. However, that’s the reality when you struggle to score points early in games, and the passing attack has been as anemic as it has been most of the season.
The question is: how much of the failure is due to the receiver’s lack of talent, execution, or faulty playcalling on McDaniels’ part?
Is McDaniels Correct?
McDaniels is partially correct.
The Patriots have enough weapons to be getting better results on offense than they have been, but they are missing a playmaker at wide receiver or tight end. It doesn’t take a football genius to recognize the void.
That said, his playcalling is part of the problem.
While McDaniels has succeeded in creating a potent rushing attack, he has failed to empower his quarterback and receivers to make plays in the passing game. The result is a gun shy quarterback who hasn’t been able to establish enough chemistry with his receivers, and defenses who are keying on the ground game because they have no fear of the seldom-used passing attack.
The Patriots’ postseason hopes are hanging by the slimmest of threads, but if they are to finish this season strong, the team must get more from Cam Newton and the passing game.
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