Misplaced Doubt In The 2022 New England Patriots Has Them As Underdogs.

June 24, 2022
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Jeremy Fowler said an anonymous scout told him the following about Mac Jones, he’s “not a guy you win with because of him at this level yet. The tight ends will have to produce and the running game. Win with defense, and let him manage the game.”

https://nesn.com/2022/06/afc-scout-still-sees-this-flaw-in-patriots-quarterback-mac-jones/

Regardless of what this ‘anonymous’ scout says, Mac and The New England Patriots can win, and I’m going to spend a few minutes going over why but first, let’s look at what this scout had to say.

What About The ‘Game Manager’?

As for Mac Jones, the one the scout really went after, Player Profiler has him as the 18th best quarterback of 2021, and that’s not a bad spot to be at walking into 2022. Jones was 13th in passing yards and 14th in passing touchdowns. Unfortunately, he was also the tenth worst quarterback when it came to interceptions.

Mac has been working with Tom House to improve arm strength. And he is entering July as the starter. Plus, the Patriots added receivers Tyquan Thornton and DeVante Parker to a depth chart that includes Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers, and Nelson Agholor, so his numbers should improve. So there is no reason to think He will not take a leap in year two. However, not everyone thinks Mac will make the second-year leap.

The New England Patriots Have A Playoff Roster.

The Patriots’ offensive line looks solid with Onwenu, Strange, Andrews, Wynn, and Brown. The depth seems pretty good, and there should be camp battles for the remaining spots.

In 2021 the Patriots had the eighth-best rushing attack in the National Football League. The team rushed for 126.5 yards per game. And they’re expected to continue to pound the ball on the ground.

The threat of Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson being constantly on the opposing coach’s mind let a player like Pierre Strong get loose, who’s coming off a 1,600-yard season and averaged over seven yards a carry in college. They also drafted Kevin Harris, who averaged five and a half yards per carry in college, despite the fact he was dealing with a back injury that hampered his production. Not to mention the return of ‘Sweet Feet’ James White.

Hunter Henry was ranked as the tenth best tight end in 2021 by Player Profiler. Ten tight ends were better than Henry in yards in 2021, but only one tight end was better at getting into the endzone.

Player Profiler ranked Jonnu Smith 35th among tight ends in 2021. Smith was not as productive as Henry, but Jonnu had some issues, including playing 17 percent fewer snaps than Henry. Smith should be more effective as he is expected to play the H-back role in 2022. And the 2020 rookie tight ends were developmental players and are now going into their third season.

However, switching gears to the defensive side of the ball, the line & cornerback are their biggest weakness. There are questions about whether the Patriots’ defensive line can own the edge, clog the interior, and rush the passer consistently. As well as their ability to cover always and handle “track-speed.”

The Patriots were the second-best in points allowed, only giving up 303 for the season. They were also the second-best in yards given up. The Patriots linebackers were considered old and slow, so they got away from them. They decided to bring back Ja’Whaun Bentley over Hightower. They traded away Winovich for Mack Wilson and signed Jabrill Peppers to play a hybrid linebacker safety role. On top of that, they have Raekwon McMillan and Cameron McGrone returning from the injured reserve.

The defense also lost J.C. Jackson but signed Malcolm Butler and drafted Marcus Jones and Jack Jones in the mid-rounds. Jack Jones impressed people within the organization during the minicamp. They will be joining Jalen Mills, Myles Bryant, and Jonathan Jones. While the unit may not be as good as they were with J.C. Jackson, only giving up 187 yards through the air, they should still be a top 16 secondary.

The Issues With Offensive Play-Caller Are Being Overblown.

“For that to happen, Jones is going to need to take a sizable step forward in his second season. And while the Patriots brought in a new top target for Jones in the passing game, there are also factors that aren’t going to make progress in 2022 any easier,” said Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report.

https://heavy.com/sports/new-england-patriots/mac-jones-pressure-nfl-rumors/

Davenport refers to the fact that Josh McDaniels departed for the Raiders, and either Matt Patricia or Joe Judge will be the play-caller. Joe Judge is a former college quarterback turned special teams, receiver, and quarterbacks coach. Matt Patricia started as an offensive line coach who converted to defense and eventually became a coordinator. Both guys are also former head coaches.

Patricia is looking like the favorite to be the offensive play-caller. However, he’s also expected to be the offensive line coach. One concern is how he will know when Mac has issues during the week. That’s easily solved by having short daily meetings between Patricia and Jones or Judge after practice.

Another issue is how Patricia will simultaneously call plays and coach the offensive line. Again that’s solved by having assistant line coach Billy Yates coach up the line during offensive series while Patricia talks to them in between breaks.

One more thing with Patricia, he’s a former Defensive Coordinator. One does not get that job without knowing something about offensive football. How often did we see him dial up a goalline or jumbo defense against a shotgun spread? How about calling a prevent against 14 personnel? We haven’t because he knows that much about the offense. I’m not saying that as a first-year offensive play-caller, Patricia will have a top-ten offense, but I am saying his ability will be worthy of holding one of the 32 spots in the NFL.

The Odds Are Always Subject To Change.

The AFC is supposed to have gotten more challenging, but there’s no reason to think that Mac Jones cannot lead the team to a second wild card birth with the additions and changes made to the Patriots. Likewise, there’s little reason to think the organization cannot make the playoffs with what they have.

Sports Betting Dime, a gambling website, has the Chargers, Ravens, Colts, and Browns all making the playoffs. But, at the same time, they have the Patriots as one of three underdogs for making the playoffs. Cleveland is a disaster, especially at quarterback. I mean, will Watson ever play again? And are we sure all three teams that failed to win the Patriots wild card spot in 2021 have improved enough to take it from them? I doubt it very much. 

After reading this article, check out Sports Betting Dime and see if you think they know what they’re talking about.

The game isn’t played on paper and It’s just my opinion but the Patriots own a wild card spot until someone takes it from them. I mean, there were supposed to be a lot of good teams in the AFC last year, too but guess what? They were just as overrated then as they are now. While again, nobody expects anything from the Patriots. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Those other teams are no better than they were until they prove it on the field.

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