Mac Jones and Patriots offensive approach is going to ruin Playoff Dreams | News, scores, highlights, stats and rumours

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

In the offensive-driven NFL, the New England Patriots are trying hard to win.

Monday’s 27-13 victory over the Kyler Murray-less Arizona Cardinals is a positive step for New England after losing its previous two games against superior competition. But a 7-6 record and a tenuous hold on the AFC’s final playoff spot show just how precarious the team’s position is right now based on how half the roster continues to perform.

Bill Belichick is the greatest head coach in professional football history. How he has made the Patriots a consistent winner over more than two decades during the most competitive period in NFL history is nothing short of astonishing. However, he is not infallible.

Belichick’s decision not to hire a legitimate offensive coordinator has produced the expected results. The unit has declined and Mac Jones’ development has been stunted.

Instead, the Patriots’ seasonal aspirations remain intact thanks to an aggressive defense, not the play-calling of defensive-coordinator-turned-head-coach-turned-senior-senior-football advisor (whatever that title means) Matt Patricia.

Foxborough, MA - December 1: New England Patriots assistant coaches Matt Patricia, right, and Joe Judge review their respective playing forms.  The Patriots lost to the Buffalo Bills, 24-10.  (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Jones’ outburst during the Patriots’ earlier loss to the Buffalo Bills became the outward manifestation of the frustration bubbling beneath the surface.

“Obviously I kind of let my emotions get to me,” Jones explained to reporters. “What I said was about throwing deeper into the short game. I need to execute that part better. But it’s the short game that we kept moving into that works. But I felt like we needed chunks. I yelled that to get everyone going. That’s emotional. That’s football. I’m passionate about this game.”

Emotions can be positive if used in the right way. Tom Brady is known for his tirades on the sidelines, and they were quite common during his Patriots tenure. Jones has yet to earn the same level of transparency, but it’s clear he’s passionate and wants more from both himself and the New England offense.

“This is an emotional game and everyone feeds on emotion,” said Jones during a postgame interview on ESPN. “And I think sometimes we’re too flat.”

Entering Monday’s game, the Patriots were in the bottom half of the league averaging 20.8 points per game. However, New England leads the league with 85 points in sales this season, according to ESPN stats and info. In other words, nearly a third of the team’s scoring so far has come through the help of the defense making big plays.

Against the Cardinals, linebacker Raekwon McMillan returned a fumble 23 yards for a score.

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Points by the @Patriots defense! 💪

📺: #NEvsAZ on ESPN
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In addition, Matthew Judon and Co. chasing opposing quarterbacks and making life difficult for all opposing offenses. With a total of six sacks Monday, the Patriots’ defense now ranks third in the category, trailing only the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys.

To be fair, the New England defenders are much better at creating explosive plays. The violation? Not so much.

“I see an attack that makes football run well. It’s a very conservative passing game – lots of fencing, all kinds of fencing. It’s what a defensive man would call offensive plays – ‘let’s not flip the ball, let’s 4 yards a play, and let’s try to burn the clock,” Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said during his team’s preparation week.

“That’s what they do and that’s what he’s going to do on Monday night. He’ll be patient. Maybe take a shot now and then. But for the most part it’s running, it’s a fast game and it’s fencing. “

[Insert “nailed it” GIF]

as fantasy points’ Chris Wet noticed, Patricia called 11 screens on 39 drop-backs. According to Warren Sharp of Sharp Football, 44 percent of Jones’ throws were on or behind the line of scrimmage and 60 percent of the team’s third pass attempts fell short of the sticks.

To make matters worse, Patricia doesn’t even try to build around his unit’s strengths. New England claim the most effective pass offense in the league, but only used a play fake against the Cardinals three times, per Sharp.

Unsurprisingly, Jones once again became frustrated with the offense’s performance and at least made it known two different occasions. Still, not much will change for the rest of this season.

“I think we need to do better at what we’re doing. I don’t think we need to make a lot of dramatic changes right now; it’s too hard to do that,” Belichick said during his weekly interview on WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show.

“If we can consistently do what we do, I think we’ll be okay. We just haven’t been able to have enough consistency. And that hurts us. It’s not one thing. One time it’s one thing. Next time is it something else. We just have to play and coach more consistently.’

A few bright spots appeared, especially among the rookie performers of the attack.

New England Patriots running back Pierre Strong Jr.  reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, December 12, 2022, in Glendale, Ariz.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Freshman backs Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris combined to carry the ball 13 times for 96 yards. Strong added two catches from the backfield for another 20 yards. Second round speedster Tyquan Thornton collected four passes for 28 yards. As this group continues to grow and become more comfortable, the Patriots offense may be more efficient.

Even with the rookies developing in the season, the entire group is fighting an uphill battle when faced with the high-flying offenses at Buffalo, Miami, Kansas City and Cincinnati – three of which New England faces during the last three weeks of the regular season. season . The Patriots are also chased by the Los Angeles Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars, who get excellent play from their quarterbacks, Justin Herbert and Trevor Lawrence, respectively.

New England’s offense is predictable, stale and lacks explosive qualities.

“No, I think the most important thing is not to let it affect my game and to get the best out of the guys,” Jones responded when asked by reports about his obvious frustration with the offending scheme.

The Patriots staff are kidding themselves if the coaches actually believe the unit is currently good enough to be a legitimate playoff contender. The defense certainly is. But anyone watching New England’s attack should react the same way Jones did over the past two weeks, because it deserves to be ridiculed with expletives.


Brent Sobleski covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @brentsobleski.

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