New England Patriots: The biggest shame about this great season

Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots season is beginning to shape up as a terrific one, but the biggest shame about it is how much better it could have been.

It’s been no secret in this space that the offensive line issues after the first quarter of the first game against the Miami Dolphins have been tremendously costly to the red, white, blue, and silver.

So, let’s take another look at what might have been an even better scenario if certain decisions had been made in a timely manner by the coaching staff to rectify a big problem on the team.

New England Patriots offensive line decisions were offensive and costly

This space strongly supported the absolutely terrific trade of the gargantuan offensive tackle, Trent Brown.

Yet, after such a great move, they were intent on replicating the mistakes of two of his former teams, the San Francisco 49ers and the Las Vegas Raiders, by using him at right tackle.

Related Story. 3 rookies that are ready to step up for the Pats. light

They were going to use Brown there and stick with Isaiah Wynn at left tackle. That was their first mistake. And quarterback Mac Jones and the entire team paid the price.

Not that Brown isn’t dominant at that position as was clear in the shellacking of the Cleveland Browns in the Patriots’ Week 10 blowout win. He is.

Yet, even so, how could the memory of their own experience with Brown at left tackle have escaped them? He was and is clearly their best option at left tackle.

It was Brown who protected Tom Brady’s blindside in the last Super Bowl-winning season in 2018. No accident there.

And, it was Brown to-boot who opened the hole for Sony Michel to score the Patriots’ only touchdown in beating the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII. How could they have lost sight of that?

That choice notwithstanding, after Brown went out in the first quarter of the first game, the coaching staff again flopped in how they deployed the remaining available assets on hand.

New England Patriots costly mistakes in deploying their offensive line talents

After Brown’s injury, they persisted in trying to fit lesser talents into the right tackle spot rather than immediately using the obvious solution, Michael Onwenu.

Onwenu, last year’s starter at right tackle, should have been moved there immediately after Brown went out with the calf injury in that first game.

Then, his left guard position should have been filled by Ted Karras, whom they had re-signed in the offseason for just such an eventuality.

Instead, defying logic, they fiddled around with Justin Herron and Yasir Durant at right tackle. As a result, Mac Jones got pummeled and sacked, and the Patriots needlessly lost games.

That would be at least two (against the Miami Dolphins and the Dallas Cowboys) and maybe three (if you add Tampa Bay) games they could have won if they had made the right offensive line moves at the right time.

When they finally did move Onwenu to right tackle (where he excelled last season) and Karras to guard, off they went.

The Patriots’ offense almost immediately got better. Jones had time to pass, and they are now a winning team. Not rocket science, just logic, and good positional strategy.

So that’s in a nutshell, the real shame about the New England Patriots’ 2021 season thus far. It’s emerging as a very good one, hopefully a playoff one, and perhaps, who knows even more than that.

Yet, the shame is that they could have been better much earlier, the Trent Brown unfortunate injury notwithstanding.

Right now, this New England Patriots team should be at least an 8-2 team atop the AFC East, heading for a showdown with the Buffalo Bills for the AFC East title with games in hand.

Next. Quick takes on Patriots blowout victory over the Browns. dark

If at 8-2 they won even one of their two upcoming games against the Bills, they very possibly would have locked up the AFC East title on their way to a home playoff game, or more.

They didn’t, and the rest, as they say, is history. We’ll see how this all plays out. The ship is righted (except for the fact that Brown is not at left tackle and Onwenu at right).

They now look like a team on the rise peaking at just the right time. It’s just unfortunate that as well as they are playing now, they could have been much better much earlier.