It’s been very fun getting the takes and questions of Patriots fans throughout the season, but it led me to a question. What are the other teams’ fans wondering about the team? I had some fun conversations with fans from other teams, and I’ll give my best shot at answering their burning questions.
NFL Nation Asks Their Patriots Questions, I Answer
Matt (Cowboys fan) wonders what the Patriots’ record would be if Tom Brady was quarterbacking them.
Based on pure quarterbacking talents at this current time, all of the external factors affecting Jones – lack of a true number one receiver, offensive line troubles, poor playcalling – would certainly hamper Brady’s performance too. Brady, after all, is on a struggling team with similar deficiencies, and would be out of the playoff picture if not for his division.
The intangibles certainly would help Brady, though. One situation in which Mac has struggled is with double-digit deficits. He has only had one such comeback in his career, early in 2021 against the Texans. The Patriots have lost a number of single-digit and close games this year, and of course, that kind of situation is Brady’s bread and butter.
Furthermore, Brady’s experience and adaptability would help compensate for some of the issues. He would be able to modify his movement in the pocket to poor tackle play, and while that wouldn’t magically solve the issue, it would avoid major mistakes. Also, as Brady’s football IQ has increased, he has called more and more audibles in his career, which would fix some of the issues of Matt Patricia’s schemes. My prediction is that the Patriots would still struggle, but get over the line in a couple more games: 8-4.
Chris (Saints and Titans fan) wants to know if the Patriots should still push for the playoffs and potentially target late-season signings.
Patriots fans expect nothing but the best effort from their team week in and week out, regardless of the record. Tanking is simply not part of the Patriot way. As long as they’re mathematically in the hunt, they’ll go for it. There are parts of the team that are playoff-worthy for sure, from the well-rounded defense to the excellent running game.
While there are problems in playcalling and schemes that signings cannot address, two clear deficiencies – offensive tackles and a true number-one receiver – come to mind when comparing the Patriots’ roster and a surefire playoff roster. The Patriots should certainly pay attention to waiver wires when it comes to tackles, and even a slight improvement at tackle will make life in the pocket much easier for Jones. Furthermore, while the team has a capable and well-rounded group of pass catchers, they lack that surefire star power, and with negotiations between the Cowboys and OBJ somewhat stalled, the Patriots should try to make an effort.
For now, the road to a playoff berth starts with a pair of winnable games against Arizona and Vegas.
Randy (Colts fan) wants to know why the Patriots have a former defensive coach calling offensive plays.
Randy is far from the only one with that question, and frankly, he shares that query with a lot of Pats Nation. Interestingly, a deep dive into Patricia’s coaching career will reveal that Patricia was an offensive coach first, being an offensive assistant/offensive line coach at Syracuse for three years and then for two years as a Patriot. His time with the Lions as head coach also involved offensive coaching. So, it isn’t quite true that he comes into this role devoid of offensive experience.
Furthermore, the defensive perspectives do allow him to approach offensive playcalls with a unique sense of what is happening on the other side of the line of scrimmage. Unfortunately, this hybrid perspective and previous experience aren’t showing in terms of the actual output on the field. There is, of course, a large gulf between the skills needed to coach a specific position or assist offensive and lead the playcalling. So far this season, the schemes have been impractical in terms of making the most of the roster, as well as completely mismatching the situation in terms of down, distance, score, and time.
While there are definitely issues on the player level offensively, the offense is not even producing half of what they should be with the depth and talent they have. Patricia could flourish if allowed to spend all of his time on the offensive line, which clearly needs more attention, and making way for a more offensive-minded guy like Bill O’Brien to take the reigns as the true coordinator.
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