New England Patriots: 3 areas of improvement as Week 3 approaches

New England Patriots running back Damien Harris (37) Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots running back Damien Harris (37) Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /
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New England Patriots
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels of the New England Patriots talks to Mac Jones #10 (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

New England Patriots Area of Improvement No. 3: Offensive playcalling/Mac Jones’ decision-making

These two issues pretty much go hand in hand, and combined to limit the offense’s production in Week 2. The scoreboard shows one team dominating the other, but New England’s offense benefitted greatly from pretty much always having good starting field position considering Wilson continually fired interceptions to them. Yet for the second week in a row, the offense struggled to find the end zone, and only managed to pick up two touchdowns despite the good field position.

There are two main reasons for that, and they are the playcalling and Mac Jones’ decision-making. We will start with the playcalling considering that’s been an issue for some time now. Josh McDaniels is certainly a great coach, but too often he gets cute with his playcalling and it costs the offense. How many times have you caught yourself screaming at your TV when McDaniels fifth screen pass of the day ends up losing yards?

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Jones showed us in Week 1 that he is capable of carving up whatever defense he finds himself against when he efficiently picked apart a talented Miami Dolphins secondary for 281 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, he simply wasn’t given an opportunity to do that against the Jets, and their offense struggled to get going all afternoon.

When McDaniels did open up the playbook though, he often deferred to a checkdown route rather than taking a shot. Replays showed a couple of occasions where Jones passed up more yardage down the field for a safer option in the flat or five yards in front of him as a checkdown. If that stalls the offense against the Jets, it’s going to happen against more competent defenses too.

When you combine these two issues, it’s easy to see why the Patriots struggled to accumulate much yardage offensively against New York. The Saints secondary, led by star cornerback Marshon Lattimore, is much more talented than that of the Jets, so if this issue persists, they are going to end up losing. McDaniels needs to open up the playbook for Jones, who in turn needs to take advantage of his open receivers down the field if he wants to lead his team to it’s second straight victory.