New England Patriots: 3 major reasons why Pats offense failed in 2020

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 10: Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots is sacked by Aaron Donald #99 of the Los Angeles Rams during the second half of an NFL game at SoFi Stadium on December 10, 2020 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 10: Cam Newton #1 of the New England Patriots is sacked by Aaron Donald #99 of the Los Angeles Rams during the second half of an NFL game at SoFi Stadium on December 10, 2020 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
New England Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham (4) Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /

New England Patriots’ demise on offense can be attributed largely to three major factors as the club slides out of the playoff picture and into mediocrity.

The New England Patriots disappointing season in 2020 has not been a shock, but it was more of a surprise after the signing of Cam Newton.

Yet, none of the followers of Patriots Nation should be in any way astonished at this turn of events. It was to be expected more than not.

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While the team has been a Jekyll and Hyde outfit, alternating between good and bad throughout the season thus far, it would have taken a Cam Newton miracle to have led the Patriots into the playoffs in 2020, a situation that is now all but over.

So, one might ask what were the major reasons why this particular New England Patriots team’s offense did not, “cut the mustard”, so-to-speak. There are three that readily come to mind amongst others that can be proffered. Hint: one is not Newton

1. The New England Patriots 2020 offseason personnel activities were a dismal failure, absent one move, the signing of Cam Newton for a contract for peanuts.

New England’s offseason was a disaster. They not only lost the best quarterback in NFL history by their non-attention and lack of respect for their all-time greatest player, a certain No. 12, but their other off-season activities were for the most part equally appalling.

In short, this team seems clueless in team-building. The loss of Brady and the reasons therefor have been highlighted previously. That non-move alone is enough to grade the Patriots’ 2020 offseason an F-. Yet, there is much more to highlight about the offseason that bears repeating in part.

This team was woefully inadequate at the receiver position in 2019 absent the magnificent Julian Edelman. Yet, Edelman, entering 2020 at 34 years of age, had experienced frequent injury scenarios that for any normal person would have derailed them.

Yet, Edelman through sheer force of will it seemed at times would just power through any adversity and do the job. 100 catches in 2019 were certainly doing just that. But this season he has been limited to just 21.

That left the Patriots and ultimately their new quarterback Newton with essentially no experienced wide receiver with any solid history to throw to. That situation was exacerbated by the team’s inexplicably failing to draft even one wide receiver at all in the 2020 draft even though their crew, absent Edelman was clearly one of the worst in the NFL.

In addition, their tight end position was and remains arguably the worst in the NFL. Yet, surprisingly, the team asserted itself and actually drafted to shore up this spot. They invested in two top draft picks in the third round, trading up (and sending out additional picks) to secure Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene. The goal was to seek to hopefully replace some of the production of Rob Gronkowski, at the position.

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Those picks haven’t quite worked out as hoped. Asiasi has caught zero passes this season. While Keene has one catch. Not exactly what is expected from third-round picks. Not at all. And to trade up for both and then strike out like this is hard to fathom.

In addition, the team floundered around and has gleaned really little production from most of its other picks. This excludes the really fortuitous selection of Michael Onwenu in the sixth round, their best pick in 2020.

Interestingly, if Onwenu had been selected with one of those aforementioned third-round picks, it would have been hailed as brilliant since he was not projected nearly so high. The fact that he was selected so low is indicative of the fact that it was a flier on a big, physical but not too highly-rated player with a great college pedigree, Michigan. They struck gold on another Michigan guy in the sixth round.

The saving grace for the whole offseason on offense was the signing of Newton for nothing really. Hats off to the Patriots for at least jumping at the opportunity when he evidently had few or no other suitors.

Yet, in not stocking up and adding offensive weapons to Newton’s arsenal, he did as what should have expected, especially after Edelman’s injury, poorly.

But this was not due to Newton’s performance. Though he has been scapegoated and some are calling for his benching, not even Tom Brady could have gotten this bunch to perform. Even with an Edelman catching 100 passes last season, Brady floundered. After Edelman’s injury, what were Newton’s chances? Slim and none.