There are some obvious issues with the New England Patriots‘ offense, but how much is Mac Jones’ fault? That’s something that has been debated fiercely this year.
As many takes come in, Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald dropped a simple but sensible explanation for Jones and the offense’s struggles.
“The connective tissue of any elite NFL offense is always the same: trust,” Callahan wrote.
According to Callahan, this multi-layered issue is eating away at just about every aspect of the Patriots’ offense.
“Trust breeds timing, confidence,” Callahan continued. “Trust allows a quarterback to rip a pass before the receiver snaps out of his break believing he’ll turn in time to catch the ball. It means calling a play believing the quarterback will read his keys correctly, hang in against pressure and deliver on third down.”
If you watch the Patriots weekly, you know Jones doesn’t look on the same page as his receivers. The sort of timing routes and throws that effective offenses need in their bags don’t appear to be available. Unfortunately for the Patriots offense that managed just one TD in the 26-3 win over the Indianapolis Colts in Week 9, the trust issues might extend beyond the receivers.
“Midway through the season, there is little evidence of trust within the Patriots offense,” Callahan offered. “Unsure of his protection, Mac Jones is prematurely bailing from pockets and cutting off full-field reads. The play-calling reflects a lack of belief in him and said pass-blocking. The wide receivers have gone AWOL outside of Jakobi Meyers, who fumbled Sunday.”
With wide receivers and the offensive line struggling and Jones not nearly as sharp as we expected after a solid rookie season, New England’s offense isn’t in a good place.
Quite frankly, Bill Belichick and Co. have a little less than two weeks to find a remedy for the team’s offense.
Around the NFL: Bill Belichick Believes Opposing LBs Know Their Plays
The Patriots’ offense might have another issue beyond trust. Several reports surfaced on Tuesday that suggested the opposing team’s linebackers seemed to know New England’s plays before the snap.
Surprisingly, Belichick acknowledged this issue during his media session. Belichick said he recognized the Indianapolis Colts’ Shaquille Leonard and the New York Jets’ CJ Mosley appeared to know their plays beforehand.
Overstating the obvious, Belichick said he wanted to “prevent that.”
Around the NFL: Matthew Judon Among Favorites to Win Defensive Player of the Year
Things are looking great for the Patriots on defense. The charge is being led by edge rusher Matthew Judon. He leads the NFL with 11.5 sacks, including three in the win over the Colts on Sunday.
On the strength of Judon’s play through the first nine weeks of the season, NFL.com has identified him as one of the top picks for the Defensive Player of the Year award. The only player he is trailing, according to NFL.com, is Dallas Cowboys’ beastly linebacker, Micah Parsons.
Judon got off to a strong start to the 2021 season, but he hit a production swoon last year. The Patriots hope he maintains this pace throughout the 2022 campaign and can become the team’s second Defensive Player of the Year in four years.
Former Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore won the award in 2019 for New England. The veteran pass rusher is already just one sack short of the total he put up all of 2021. It looks like he may have a good chance to set a new career-high in that category.