Receivers/TEs/Receiving backs not brought in through the draft:
The Krafts and Belichick knew they weren't signing Davante Adams, Tyreke Hill, Travis Kelce, Gronk or players of that ilk. Expecting them to produce like that is ridiculous. They are what they are.
Who cares ho's fault it is. It's what happens after 20 years of brilliance and you need to rebuild.
Do you actually watch the Pats games? Or are you once again just spouting stats?
The conservative play calling makes it easy to game plan because the defense knows you aren't even going to attempt a deep throw. It hamstrings the offense because it sets up the defense to go guns blazing on every play. I'm not saying the Patriots should go wide open and throw deep every play, but they aren't doing it at all, making their offense predictable, which is never a place to be. Lots of all time great QB's came in and started immediately, some on bad teams where they played poorly. Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson, Big Ben, etc. There is no one way to develop a QB, but if you are going to start a guy immediately, you have to give him a real shot, and I just don't think the Patriots are doing that. What they are doing is not working and they are losing games they should win. I mean even yesterday the Patriots had the ball, winning the game, with 2.5 minutes left and then threw a pick 6 before flaming out in OT and not moving the ball. They should have beaten Miami and Tampa as well, but the conservative game planning cost them both those games.
Teams are blitzing the Pats on a regular basis. Dallas did as well by setting seven in the box, rushing 4 and blitzing one while dropping two into coverage. They brought guys in from different directions on the regular. They played lots of cover 1 with man underneath.
No to play a slow conservative run oriented offensive game you need a great OL. You can't rely on a bad OL for 10+ play drives. They won't hold up that long and will make devastating mistakes. You need big plays that get big yards. The teams that have had success running the 3 yards and a cloud of dust type offenses have great OL's. You quite simply can't run long time eating drives with a bad OL, because the OL will invariably fail leading to the end of those drives. They don't have the ability to get the ball over the hump. It is why the Patriots can move the ball, but can't put it in the end zone. The OL isn't good enough. They need the big plays to get huge yardage plays. They have to air it out more. That is the only way they are going to win games because it is the way to maximize a weak OL. In addition, it stops teams from just loading up in the box. Without the deep throws and downfield plays the offense becomes predictable. It is why they can outgain an awful Dolphins team by over 100 yards and lose. Or why Mac can "outplay" Tom and they lose with some questionable play calling. Or why they can't score in OT when they get the ball first. The offense is too predictable and too conservative.
I actually disagree with your conclusion. When your OL isn't that good, you need to create big explosive plays. You can't play the conservative game, because they aren't going to be able to hang on long enough. The Pats need to score fast and get the OL off the field. They need to let Mac go and see if he really can be the long term guy.
The Pats have been playing this year with a very conservative gameplan. them losing another close game should not be a surprise because when you coach conservatively you lose more times then you win, especially when your roster on the whole isn't very good. That said, Bill has that job until he doesn't want that job. McDaniels, though, I think he could start to see his seat get warm if he continues down this playing not to lose path. He has to take the reigns off and let Mac go. He may fail, but at least you get to see what you have in him.Pats have to be conservative right now. They are playing with a patchwork offensive line. They don't have receivers that can create separation that opens up the vertical game. Their best and really only receiving back is out for the season. Their best receiving options are good but not great or dominant TEs. And they have a rookie QB, that even though has played incredibly for his age and experience, needs to be managed properly for the team to win.
For the Patriots to win this year, they have to win the time of possession. They have to have a sustained running game. They have to kill it with the double TE sets during passing downs because the WRs are not explosive, fast or large and powerful.
The Pats need to walk a fine line to win versus the best teams in this league, and the are trying like hell to do it. But all it takes is splay or two and things will go sideways quick.
This is a rebuilding year, lots of money spent in free agency or not. Develop Jones the right way. That is the most important thing to do. He has been about the best rookie in the league. He will pay dividends, just not this year, so you don't ruin his confidence or get him killed or let him think he doesn't have the chance to be the difference maker in winning.
The Pats will be fine but if people are expecting long playoff runs or 10+ win season this year, they're just fooling themselves.
I do agree it is a rebuilding year, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't try to win games. They are playing not to lose and not playing to win. They should have beaten Miami, Tampa, and Dallas, but failed because they didn't trust Mac to go out and win the game.
To develop the vertical passing game you need an O-line to give the QB and receivers time to make the play develop, unless the WRs are super fast and able to create separation on a regular basis. And that's if the defense is playing man and not hanging coverage 2 on the backside.
And....at this point, the best interest of the team as a whole is to have long sustained drives to keep the defense off the field. That means running the ball with high percentage completion passing game mixed in.
Your idea of developing a QB is asinine. You bring them along at a slower pace and manage them. You don't hang them out to dry and get them pulverized because they are sitting back there waiting for plays to develop. You don't kill their confidence. You don't make them feel like they have to be a hero for the team to win.
Given the injuries and personnel, Belichick is handling Jones perfectly. Mac is getting better every week. They are adding new wrinkles in every week. When Jones can go up to the line of scrimmage and be able to audible into anything he wants and pull it off with success, the will let him loose. Mac ain't there yet so you manage him and the game until you don't have to. They aren't there yet.
With 5-6 guys coming in on the pass rush, Jones didn't have time to go deep. He was absolutely killed on two different sacks. Not smothered and tackled. Violent hits that can hurt people. If the Pats tried to go deep down field, that would have happened a lot more.
The Pats line, even though a patchwork, are better at run blocking than pass blocking. That is the strength you have to play to. But they suck at both. So they have to attempt to establish the run while mixing in quick slants, screens, out routes and timing play comeback curls. All those passes get the ball out of Jones' hands fast and protect him from getting killed. If successful, that should put points on the board while winning the time of possession and keeping the defense off the field.
It almost worked. Twice. Against two of the best teams in the league.
Doing things your way would be hanging Mac out to dry. It would put your future star in jeopardy of getting killed. It would ruin his confidence and his long term development.
Mahomes played one game his rookie year. Rodgers sat for his first three years. Drew Brees barely played his rookie year and was bad his second. Brady was managed and had to manage the game his first year, getting better every week.
Most of the very best guys were brought along slowly. Meanwhile, the amount of QBs that became nothing, who were often overwhelmed by trying to do too much while getting killed by being sacked so much, is enormous.
Mac Jones is having a very good year. He is one of the league leaders in completion percentage. Not rookie leaders, league leaders. He is extremely accurate on all his throws:short, medium and long. I am pretty sure he has had 3TD throws come back due to penalties. He gets a little better every week. He is developing tremendously and doing so because of the style of offense being run given the personnel packages he has.
I think Belichick and McDaniels are doing a great job of developing him.
Does that mean the Patriots have a razor thin edge they are straddling in order to win? Yup.
Does the fan base hate it because they aren't seeing Brady with the complete confidence of his coaches and absolute power with a full playbook at his disposal to audible plays into? Yup.
But if the fan base wants a star QB to lead them to future Super Bowls, this is the proper way to do it, given the makeup of the current team. Growing pains will need to be lived with and losses are going to happen. My guess is by year's end, the Pats will beat a really good team or two and have easier wins over bad teams.
That's progress. That's how Belichick teams work. That's how you develop star QBs.
And the advanced numbers all support this as Mac is well below average in Y/A+, NY/A+, AY/A+, and ANY/A+, which also leads to a well below average TD%+ and INT%+, and despite him having a great CMP%+, his RATE+ is below average. So a guy with an incredible completion percentage, is a well below average QB because his completions are so short, the team can't get into the end zone, and he throws it to the other team. They need to throw the ball down the field. They need to open up the play book, because that will make the team (and Mac) better.
Their game plans are designed to keep them in games while protecting their QB. They have no deep threat. They have a massive, injury riddled problem on the line. They have no receiving back out of the backfield. Their best "deep routes" are crossing patterns over the middle in the 10-15 yard down field range. Their best receiving options are TEs in those areas or short screens and outlet plays.
They simply don't have the players to pull off what you are describing especially when the defenses are blitzing regularly. And the defenses aren't blitzing regularly because of a conservative game plan. They are blitzing because that's the easiest way to shut down rookie QBs who don't have the experience reading the blitzes and checking out of plays to offset the lack of time they are going to have to throw. Belichick has been doing this to rookie QBs for decades. It works.
This is very easy to see....if you actually watch the games.
But Nick, whose fault is this?
You say the Pats donít have the personnel to throw the ball downfield, yet they Spent $100M+ on 3 skill position players this off-season and all are underperforming. Who cares? I think Bob and Jonathan Kraft might.
Also, those contracts are not 6 game contracts, they are for years. They will be better bargains in the 2nd and 3rd years after the salary cap skyrockets the next two years in a post Covid world.
I see zero reason for team ownership and management to be concerned with the production thus far. A re-examination at the end of next year is when things will be properly judged.
No one expected them to go out and get a T. Hill or D. Adams. Only way the Pats would ever get a talent like that would be through the draft and with Billís history of picking wide receivers, I would bet that it never happens. As far as the off season signings,
For the price Of Jonnu Smith and Nelson Agholor, you could have had 6í4Ē Kenny Golladay or 6í2Ē Marvin Jones Jr who are both deep threats and have had 1000 yard receiving seasons. Emmanuel Sanders would have been an upgrade over any of the wide receivers that the Pats brought in and heís making $2.5M this year. The WRís that the Pats sign donít work out the majority of the time.
Receivers/TEs/Receiving backs drafted:
How short is the memory of Patriots fans?
So we are talking about WRís that can stretch the field and then you make a list of players where 90% of them canít/couldnít do so.
Kind of late but have to agree.
Also this list isn't good in general. Two HOF guys (Gronk, Moss), bunch of mediocre guys with short runs (Welker, Brown, Pat, Branch, Edle), the rest not very good because they had three or less seasons of high production. For 20 years running a team that's not a good list when you have a top 10 QB throwing it for 18 years.
You expect 4 in house HOF guys at least when you have a HOF QB that long. Remember people questioned if Manning was great or overrated because he had the best receivers for a while. We never had that asked about TB.