Pro Football Focus isn’t confident in the New England Patriots heading into the 2022 season.
Mac Jones is coming off an impressive rookie season where he led all rookie quarterbacks in touchdowns (22) and threw for over 3,800 yards. He led New England to the AFC Wild Card Round where the Patriots were eliminated by the Buffalo Bills.
ALL the latest Patriots news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Patriots newsletter here!
For a rookie quarterback, that’s an impressive feat. Still, Sam Monson from PFF thinks that Jones will take a step back in 2022.
“Jones may be getting lots of training camp hype, but his job will be harder in his sophomore year. First, the departure of Josh McDaniels, his 2021 offensive coordinator, is huge,” Monson wrote.
“Much is being made of the fact that the Patriots aren’t technically employing an offensive coordinator in 2022, but the bigger issue is that one of the best isn’t there anymore, and the most likely replacement (Matt Patricia) is wearing multiple coaching hats and has more of a defensive background. Jones needs to find consistency and a little more aggressiveness as a passer this season, and that will be a lot harder to achieve minus McDaniels.”
What Challenges Will Jones Face?
The biggest challenge for Jones has nothing to do with what is happening on the field. The quarterback will have a new and inexperienced play-caller in 2022.
Matt Patricia, for all intents and purposes, is the offensive coordinator without the title and has been relaying plays to Jones during training camp. Patricia’s only offensive coaching experience was back in 2005 when he was an assistant offensive line coach.
So it wouldn’t be surprising for Jones to struggle in 2022 and that could have ripple effects on the entire Patriots roster and the trajectory of the team this season.
PFF: Patriots’ 2022 Defense ‘Will Be Worse’ Than 2011
When it comes to the Patriots’ defense, Monson isn’t confident either. He believes it be the worst defensive unit of Belichick’s career.
“The NFL grew accustomed to the idea of The Patriot Way and the fact that Bill Belichick was such a good coach that he could grab cast-offs and misfits from around the league, plug them into his defense and coax performances out of them that made the rest of the league wonder what it was missing,” Monson stated.
“In recent seasons, there have been fewer of those standout players within this defense. Last season, only Adrian Phillips earned a PFF grade of 80.0 or better, and he was at exactly 80.0 overall. In 2011, the Patriots allowed 244 points and ranked 22nd in that category. That was arguably the worse defense Belichick has fielded as a head coach. This unit will be worse, heaping pressure on quarterback Mac Jones and the offense.”
New England’s defense suffered some major losses this offseason. The biggest was the departure of J.C. Jackson. The Patriots’ front seven will need to step up a ton as the secondary recovers from losing their best player.
So be wary Patriots fans, 2022 could be a rough season.