With less than two weeks left until their season opener in Miami, their offense still appears to be a major question mark for the New England Patriots. The unit, after all, has had its ups and downs throughout training camp and preseason.
There were some signs of progress and encouraging moments, but they were few and far between at times; there also were ugly moments such as the preseason finale against the Las Vegas Raiders last Friday. That game saw the Patriots starting offense put up just three points in four drives, despite mostly going against backups.
Nonetheless, quarterback Mac Jones continues to preach optimism. He did so again after Wednesday’s practice when asked about the unit’s progress with the preseason in the rear-view mirror.
“A lot of learning experiences, and always room for growth. I think it’s been good. I think we’ve ironed out a lot of things and it’s good that they’re happening now. I feel confident in what we’re doing” the 23-year-old said.
“We just have to go out there and do it for 60 minutes, and that’s just play-by-play. Obviously during practice, same thing, play-by-play, go out there and execute it and once you turn on the game film and you look back and there’s 45, 50 good plays then hopefully you come out on top. But that’s more about executing it and doing your job individually. If we all do that, 11 guys do it close to right every play, then you’ll have a good play.”
All 11 guys being on the same page has proven itself an issue for the Patriots, both in practice and game situations. The contest in Las Vegas was evidence of that.
The offensive line struggled to consistently execute its assignments, especially on zone-blocking calls, while Jones appeared to be uncomfortable and oftentimes rushing through his progressions. Look no further than his interception that saw him throw a pass into what can best be described as quintuple coverage.
While that play was among the young QB’s worst of the summer, the inconsistent execution as a whole has hampered the Patriots offense and led to some limited success particularly in the preseason finale.
“You have to focus on what you have to do each play and the points will come,” Jones said. “Obviously in the preseason, it is what it is. We’re past that. We’re on to just this week and trying to run better plays, and do things better so that we can put more points on the board.
“That will come. I know in watching tape I was talking to our coaches, and it is a long game. Every game is a long game and that’s a good thing because there’s a lot of plays to be had and a lot of plays to be made. So, it’s good to realize that it doesn’t have to be made in one play. It doesn’t have to be made in 20 plays. It happens when it happens, and you put points up by moving the ball and driving it.”
Being able to find some consistency on the offensive side of the ball will be a key to the Patriots’ success this season, and next Sunday versus the Miami Dolphins. The next two weeks of preparation will therefore be crucial for the unit.