The New England Patriots’ offensive struggles have been well-documented throughout the season. Now, the question becomes how they can be addressed to get the unit back on track heading into the final five games of the regular season.
We already know no major changes will be made — head coach Bill Belichick said as much earlier this week — but the Patriots need to do something differently moving forward. It appears they know as well, and according to their quarterback are trying everything in their power to right the ship.
“We just have to break the theme here, and just keep working,” Mac Jones told reporters on Thursday. “That’s all you can do. Together, talk through things. At the end of the day, we have to go out there and execute better; watch the film in those critical times. And when we do that we should be able to put the points up. Comes back to us.
“We’re doing everything we can: talking through different looks, different ideas, and then obviously continuing to grow on what we’ve done well. We’ve been able to move the ball, it’s just getting touchdowns. That’s what we want.”
The Patriots offense has not been all bad this season, but the positive moments have been few and far between. There is no need to sugarcoat things: the struggles on that side of the ball — from insufficient production in the red zone and on third-downs, to play-calling and design, to turnovers earlier in the year — have held the team back.
Now at 6-6 after back-to-back losses against Minnesota and Buffalo, the Patriots are headed on a crucial two-week trip west. After taking on the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14, they will stay in-state before traveling to Las Vegas to take on the Raiders.
Jones views this journey as the start of a new season.
“At the end of the day, we are where we are. Obviously, it’s kind of a new season here, and it starts with this one, with the Cardinals,” he said. “That’s what we’re going to focus on. We’re in a good spot, we just have to go out there and compete.
“That’s what it’s all about: whatever we have to do to figure out how to win — practice that way, prepare that way, and then obviously play that way. It’s all you can ask for: putting in the work, building a great game plan, and going out there and executing it. So, a big challenge ahead for us and it starts really today, and yesterday, and obviously tomorrow will be a big day. Just stacking those days together and then eventually, we’ll get the product.”
Jones has been saying all the right things throughout the year, but the results have only slowly followed suit. With five games to go and the Patriots just outside the playoff picture, now is the time for him and his entire team to show some urgency and turn the rhetoric into action.