New England Patriots Off-Season Dilemma
Patriots Season Preview 2023
How the Patriots approach this offseason will heavily contribute to the rate of their success during the 2023 season. 2022 was a huge drop-off for the Patriots as they finished 8-9 missing the playoffs, compared to 2021 where they finished 10-7, clinching a spot in the wildcard round in the playoffs. A lot of Massachusetts Betting Apps had the Pats winning Over/Under 8.5 games last summer, which seemed like a bargain at the time. However, with the up-and-down season and inconsistencies at the quarterback position, it’ll be interesting to see how the team approaches fixing some of its problems this offseason.
Let’s evaluate the type of offseason the Patriots need to get their team back on track and become a playoff team once again.
Recapping the 2022 Season
After a drama-filled offseason with the coaching staff not officially having an Offensive Coordinator until the first week of the season, the Patriots’ offense was doomed from the start. After only scoring seven points in their season opener in a loss to the Miami Dolphins, it was revealed that former Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia was officially named the Offensive Coordinator which was a head-scratcher in my opinion. Unfortunately, the Patriots’ offense was a major problem for them the entire season. Second-year quarterback Mac Jones finished his season with 2,997 passing yards, throwing fourteen touchdowns compared to throwing eleven interceptions, and posted a QBR of 36.0. As a result, the Patriots finished 8-9 leaving the franchise in a state of disarray.
Coaching Changes for 2023
After the struggles the Patriots offense endured last season, the organization decided to bring back Bill O’Brien to become the Offensive Coordinator for the 2023 season. Bill O’ Brien is familiar with the Patriots system as he served as an Offensive Assistant, Quarterbacks Coach, Wide Receivers Coach, and Offensive Coordinator previously from 2007-2011.
Former Patriots tight end and Super Bowl Champion Rob Gronkowski said, “I think that Bill O’Brien is going to put Mac Jones in the best possible situation that he can be in, week in and week out and throughout every single play.” Gronkowski also stated that if Jones somehow does not improve this season, then it may be time to move on from him as the starting quarterback.
Jones drew criticism from many spectators, former players, and fans in the football community due to his poor play and especially his poor body language. Former Patriots players Julian Edelman and Vince Wilfork commented on Jones’ behavior. Edelman said, “He doesn’t practice all the antics after plays, and waving off coaches. He doesn’t practice that, and he still does it. Why can’t he make the play?” Vince Wilfork had this to say about the young quarterback “I’m tired of that, honestly. I’m tired of it, you’re the leader of this team. You’re a quarterback. So, you can’t be frustrated every single week, every single play. You’re the head of the ship when you’re out there, and control what you can control.” In my opinion, when you come from a successful college program like the University of Alabama where Jones won a National Championship, it can be hard to adjust to the NFL, but his emotional outbursts on the field are unacceptable. Jones needs to mature, settle down, and play heads-up football. Needless to say, Mac Jones has plenty of pressure on him when it comes time to perform this season as there are high expectations for him in this offense in 2023.
2023 NFL Draft
It was obvious that another one of the main causes of the offensive collapse was poor play from the offensive line and wide receiver positions. The Patriots’ draft strategy should be to draft either a starting offensive lineman or wide receiver in the first and second rounds, then address other positional needs afterward. Analyst for the National Football League Lance Zierlein is projecting the Patriots to select offensive tackle Broderick Jones from the University of Georgia with the 14th overall pick in this year’s draft. Jones is a tremendous talent standing 6’4” and weighing 310 pounds. He started all 15 games at the left tackle position for the Bulldogs in 2022. Jones did not allow a sack all season and only allowed six pressures, helping his team win the College Football Playoff Championship, and earning Associated Press All-SEC First-Team selection. CBS Sports has the Patriots selecting the number one wide receiver in this year’s class Quentin Johnston from Texas Christian University (TCU) with the 14th overall pick in the draft. Johnston had a brilliant season finishing with 60 receptions for 1,069 yards receiving, averaging 17.8 yards per reception, and scoring 6 touchdowns, helping the Horned Frogs earn their first playoff spot in the history of the College Football Playoff.
2023 Season Preview
This offseason marks one of the most important offseasons in the history of the Patriots organization. With such big decisions to make from the front-office, the future of the franchise lies in their hands. Now that Coach Bill O’Brien is taking over as Offensive Coordinator, will third year quarterback Mac Jones finally step up to the plate or will he fold? Will the Patriots let go of most of their players that are expected to become free agents this offseason to sign with other teams? The Patriots will need to help Mac Jones grow and develop as a player and fill in the gaps at the offensive line, wide receiver, and defensive back positions in order for the team to have the best chance of success next season.
Lawrence is a fan of the Green Bay Packers. He is currently a graduate student at William Paterson University pursuing a master’s degree in Financial Planning. His hobbies include all things fantasy football, weightlifting, collecting Yu-Gi-Oh trading cards, and playing Madden. He specializes in dynasty fantasy football having won two championships in the past five years. He is also a college football fan who loves to watch his Buckeyes play on Saturdays while drinking pumpkin-flavored coffee. He is always looking to evolve his game as a fantasy football player and one of his goals is to help other players do the same.