The New England Patriots’ offseason looked quite different than last year’s. The team did not make any flashy moves in free agency or the draft, while losing starter-level players such as J.C. Jackson and Ted Karras. Additionally, long-time offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels departed for Las Vegas and took three fellow assistant coaches with him.
All things considered, the Patriots appear to be in a worse position than they were in when their 2021 season came to an end with a 47-17 wild card playoff loss versus the Buffalo Bills. One analyst sharing that perspective is veteran NBC Sports writer Peter King.
Publishing his new power rankings on Monday morning, King had New England ranked 17th — behind AFC East rivals Buffalo (No. 1) and Miami (No. 16).
17. New England (10-8, lost a wild-card game to Buffalo)
Every year’s a new year. Every season’s a snowflake, always different. But the Patriots, particularly after the worst beatdown in a big game a Belichick team ever absorbed in New England (Bills 47, Pats 17, and it was 33-3 after 38 minutes) in the AFC wild-card game, have to be thinking: Buffalo’s what we were the first 19 years of this century. It’s crucial for Mac Jones to be better in year two if New England has a prayer to catch Buffalo and to stay above Miami in the East. But will he be better? Jones was a 69-percent passer while starting his NFL career 9-4; he was a 61-percent passer in finishing the season 1-4. And now he’s lost his mentor and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in favor of either Joe Judge, Matt Patricia or some combination of them. I’d check Wikipedia. In 39 years of college and NFL coaching combined, neither Judge nor Patricia has ever had quarterback coaching as part of their job description. That seems problematic for a quarterback who needs to get better.
Time will tell whether or not the Patriots will outlive the current expectations that can best be summed up as “TBD.” King, however, appears to be skeptical — especially due to the coaching changes and how they will impact second-year quarterback Mac Jones.