The New England Patriots hired offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien last offseason to help get the offense back on track. But through 12 weeks, the unit ranks 31st in the NFL averaging just 13.5 points per game.
While poor quarterback play has been the main cause of those issues, O’Brien put the blame on himself for the offenses regression.
“Things haven’t gone great for [Mac Jones] this year. I don’t think he’s the No. 1 guy to blame. If you want to blame anybody, blame me. I’m the one that designs it and it’s not going very well,” the coordinator told reporters Tuesday.
“Look, at the end of the day can he execute better? Are there things that he can do better? Sure. But there’s things that all of us have to do better to put a winning product on the field, and right now that’s not what it is. What I see is a very confident guy, that’s a very bright guy, a very hard-working guy that’ll continue to work hard and try to improve on the things he needs to improve on.”
After a week of quarterback mystery, it was ultimately Jones who again drew the start against the New York Giants. The downward trajectory continued, as Jones threw two more ugly interceptions before getting benched at halftime.
“I don’t want to get into all the detail of each play, but the one play where he threw the first interception, there was a protection breakdown. He has to make a better decision there to throw the ball out of bounds,” O’Brien explained. “We have to do a better job of protecting him, designing the protection, executing the protection. I’m just being real with you. And the next interception, we were in a situation where they brought an extra guy and we have to get the ball out and make a good decision or we have to take the sack. In both of those situations, he would probably be the first to tell you that he has to make a better decision.
“But all of us have to do a better job,” O’Brien added. “I’ve been doing this for 31 years – some years are better than others and right now this year is not going the way any of us wanted it to go, but there is a lot of football left. So we have to continue to try to coach better and play better and execute better, because that’s what it comes down to on game day.”
As there are six games left in the season, New England must decide who will now start under center at home this week against the Los Angeles Chargers. According to O’Brien, it seems like the team is headed towards a similar path as last week despite the poor results it led too.
“I think it will be the same as last week relative to going into the week,” he shared. “Let’s do a good job this week of installing a good game-plan, teaching it to the players, and then the players going out and executing it on the practice field. That’s really what it comes down to, and then performing on game day.
“And as an offense, coaching and playing wise, we just haven’t done that. We haven’t been consistent enough. We are going to continue to work hard on the practice field and then see how it all shakes out relative to game day.”