After making the playoffs for the first time since Tom Brady’s departure, the Patriots have plenty to look forward to. Mac Jones looked like a franchise quarterback, throwing for 3,801 yards, 22 touchdowns, and a rating of 92.5. The whole offense looked like it could take a massive leap.
However, losing the Patriots’ offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has led many to believe that the offense will stagnate or get significantly worse. Although McDaniels will be missed, there are still plenty of reasons the Patriots’ offense can improve.
Mac Jones’ Development
Many Patriots fans were curious about how Mac Jones would look in his second year. What Jones has done since the start of camp should leave fans nothing short of excited. Mac has come into camp a new man. His very own teammate can attest to that.
“Mac Jones is in the best shape of his life” “His stomach is gone and he looks really good”.Kendrick Bourne
Another encouraging sight is Mac Jones working with Tom House. House is an excellent throwing coach, and he’s coached the likes of Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Mac Jones confirmed during camp that he worked with Tom House over the off-season.
One of the knocks on Mac Jones during his rookie year was his arm strength. Mac excelled in short to intermediate routes. Although he did complete quite a few deep passes, there was room for more. Mac Jones came into camp looking sharp.
He threw numerous deep balls that were caught on camera. His notable throws went to his new favorite minicamp target, Tre Nixon. His arm strength leaped forward, showing his work during the off-season.
New Receiving Threats
During the Patriots’ 2021 season, their featured wide receivers were Kendrick Bourne, Nelson Agholor, and Jakobi Meyers. While there is good depth, it was pretty clear the Patriots lacked speed and size—both areas needed to be addressed.
That’s exactly what Bill Belichick did, acquiring DeVante Parker and a fifth-round pick and, in turn, giving the Dolphins a third-round selection.
DeVante Parker gives the Patriots much-needed size. Parker is a 6’3″, 209-pound receiver. During DeVante Parker’s one healthy season, he put up 1,202 yards.
He’s also great at contested catches, which can be a safety blanket for Mac Jones if he’s in trouble.
Now that the Patriots had solved their size issue, it was time to address the speed issue. In the second round of the 2022 NFL draft, Bill Belichick decided to take Baylor’s Tyquan Thornton. Tyquan ran a 4.28 40-yard dash, the fastest receiver in the draft and on the roster.
Over the last two seasons, the Patriots have missed a burner down the field, and they took one here. The blazing speed of Tyquan Thornton could make an impact instantly and help Mac Jones significantly. In addition, he is a threat that could help Mac’s deep throws leap off the screen.
An Improved Running Back Room
The Patriots running back room is a very talented, deep group. One standout in the room is Rhamondre Stevenson. In the latter half of the season, Rhamondre started getting more playing time.
He did not take it for granted, rushing for 606 yards on 103 attempts, which is 4.6 yards per carry. Stevenson has flashed his talent, as well as his ability to be a power back. There is a very good possibility he can take a leap this season.
Rhamondre emerging would create one of the best running back tandems in the league with Damien Harris. He could take a leap and emerge as the authentic #1 back.
The return of James White cannot be underestimated for the Patriots’ pass catchers. Throughout the first three games, White emerged as Mac Jones’ safety blanket, and the chemistry between them looked great. Unfortunately White went down with a season-ending hip injury in week three.
However, the Patriots re-signed White and he will be back next year. White will provide Mac Jones with a trustable and consistent receiving threat that can get open on short passes. White is an excellent veteran in the locker room, and his being back will significantly impact the team.
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