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New England Patriots links 9/21/23 - Fixing the offense: Finish drives, play cleaner football

Daily news and links for Thursday.

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NFL: Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
Hunter Henry celebrates a touchdown
Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports



  • Andrew Callahan says the Patriots’ game plan for the Jets comes down to 3 words: Play cleaner football. That’s it.
  • Mark Daniels notes Mac Jones had improved and looks better than last year. Why hasn’t it translated to more wins?
  • Steve Hewitt tells us how Bill O’Brien assessed the offense after 2 weeks. “For us, I think it’s about finishing drives. I think we moved the ball at times, I’m not saying we moved the ball all the time, but we moved the ball at times. But we’re inconsistent. We have to coach it better and try to get to be more consistent and finish drives. We get in there and we drive the ball 30-40 yards and then we stall, so we have to do a better job of stringing plays together to be able to finish drives.”
  • Zack Cox spotlights the problem on offense. The Patriots’ red zone offense has improved, but they haven’t been able to finish drives with points on the board. This team should have more than just five touchdowns and 37 total points through two games.
  • Doug Kyed explains how Mac Jones is taking a back-to-basics approach to turning the Patriots around.
  • Andrew Callahan writes Bill Belichick has hamstrung Bill O’Brien with “a rickety offensive line and bland skill-position talent”. O’Brien’s playbook has been more than halved but he has to deliver anyway at the Jets.
  • Zack CoxPatriots Practice Notes: Starters Trent Brown and Jonathan Jones return to open Jets week.
  • Doug Kyed reports the Patriots added DT Christian Barmore to the injury report with a knee ailment.
  • Mark Daniels hears from Rhamondre Stevenson who was also benched as a rookie after fumbling. It was a tough lesson and he met with Demario Douglas on Monday to share and offer some advice to the rookie.
  • Zack Cox explains how Hunter Henry used his own rookie mistake to lift up Demario Douglas — and sees a bright future ahead for the young receiver.
  • Karen Guregian questions whether Matthew Judon is a realist or a spin doctor. He refuses to allow or acknowledge any negativity from the outside as his team tries to dig itself out of a hole.
  • Zack Cox updates the latest in the saga between QB Matt Corral and the Patriots.
  • Sophie Weller says the Patriots continue to leave everyone confused with odd quarterback saga. /We’re all curious, but maybe whatever’s going on with Matt Corral isn’t our business.
  • Chris Mason relays former Dolphins LB Channing Crowder on the mismatch of defending Tom Brady and Randy Moss, and how he knew the play was over even before the snap.
  • A Clare Perspective podcast: Clare welcomes Paul Perillo of to discuss the Pats 0-2 start. (28 min.)
  • Next Pats Podcast: Phil Perry and Shawn Syed explain why there’s reason for optimism about the offense. (47 min.)


  • Albert Breer (SI) Week 3 Mailbag: Why the 2022 QB Class was misjudged, including Sam Howell and Brock Purdy; Replacements for Aaron Rodgers, C.J. Stroud, the Broncos’ defense, Justin Fields, Brian Burns, Cam Akers; More.
  • Matt Verderame (SI) Top NFL Week 2 plays from the All-22 film. No. 2 Christian Gonzalez’s interception.
  • Josh Alper (ProFootballTalk) Jonathan Jones returns to Patriots practice.
  • David Carr ( 2023 NFL Offensive Player Rankings, Week 3: Three offensive surprises who aren’t flukes.
  • Steven Ruiz (The Ringer) Updated QB rankings. Mac Jones 20th (+3).
  • Cody Benjamin (CBS Sports) 023 Week 3 NFL QB Power Rankings. Mac Jones 20th: The bar was set very low for the ailing former first-rounder entering 2023, so he’s cleared it even as New England tries to avoid an 0-3 start. With sluggish weapons, Jones has been accurate and resilient, making two valiant comeback efforts.
  • Bill Williamson (SBNation) 6 NFL teams that could make Deion Sanders their biggest head coaching target in 2024. Patriots included. /Puh-leeze.
  • Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) The turf vs. grass debate comes down to talking points vs. the clearly stated preference of players.


  • Sam Robinson (ProFootballRumors) NFL suspends Saints S Marcus Maye. Patriots play the Saints in Week 5.
  • Flint McCologan reports on the Gillette Stadium death: Autopsy ‘did not suggest traumatic injury’.
  • Ryan Young (Yahoo! Sports) Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Alan Williams resigns after taking leave of absence. The Bears denied rumors that police or other officials raided Halas Hall on Wednesday in connection to Alan Williams.