Ask any New England Patriots player about the team’s new-look offense and they will tell you the same thing: it has become simpler. Simplicity, however, lies in the eye of the beholder.
Just because the Patriots’ offense has been “dumbed down,” as offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn called it earlier this offseason, does not mean it is suddenly any easier to learn or grasp. The standard and the basic system that have been in place for years remain mostly unchanged, after all, and players are still under the pressure to perform their assignments as expected.
Nonetheless, where there are changes — regardless of how big or small they might be — there also is an adaptation process. On Friday, wide receiver Jakobi Meyers acknowledged that that process has not been an entirely easy ride for him.
“It’s probably been tougher for me this year because I’ve been here with the old system,” he said. “Now that things are changing a little bit, I just have to be able to find ways to remember the new terminology and just remember what means what. But I’m figuring it out, and the guys have helped me, pretty much.”
The longest-tenured member of New England’s wide receiver group (not counting special teamer Matthew Slater), Meyers has been part of the old system for his entire three-year career in the NFL. He developed into a productive player over that span and despite his status as a former rookie free agent has been the Patriots’ WR1 each of the last two years.
Heading into 2022, he is still a safe bet to make the team. However, he is facing some competition for the number one receiving role in the offense.
Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor are in line for a second-year jump after joining the team as free agents last year. Additionally, the Patriots acquired former Miami Dolphins first-round draft pick DeVante Parker via trade in early April.
All of them are in the same boat as Meyers, though. And all of them, including the 25-year-old himself, can count of the support of not just each other but the offensive coaching staff as well — one that in itself is being supported quite actively by Bill Belichick this summer.
“He’s been a lot of help this year,” Meyers said about his head coach having an active hand in the offensive preparation this year.
Belichick is obviously not the only coach helping make the transition from the previous system to this one go as smoothly as possible for everyone. The entire offensive staff, most prominently wide receivers coaches Troy Brown and Ross Douglas, is involved too.
“Just, the coaches kind of breaking everything down for us,” Meyers said about the assistance he is getting from them. “Not overcomplicating everything, just telling us exactly what we got, what exactly we need to look for, and, when we find it: just go out there and make plays and execute.”