New England Patriots: Reasons to be optimistic about 2023

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 18: Jonnu Smith #81 of the New England Patriots runs with the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first quarter at Allegiant Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 18: Jonnu Smith #81 of the New England Patriots runs with the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first quarter at Allegiant Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots had a down season in 2002 and missed the playoffs by one game, which indeed disappointed its legion of fans. Prognosticators have suggested that the team’s chances at a Super Bowl appearance are slim. Indeed they are.

So what reasons are there to be optimistic at all about the upcoming season for the home team? It’s a good question and warrants an answer, not that it’s anything like an airtight supposition.

It’s not, and the primary reason is that the Patriots 2022 offense was horrible. It regressed dramatically from the good one in 2021 that made the playoffs.

So what has changed and what MIGHT change to make things look better? It’s certainly worth a look-see to determine if the cognoscenti are right or they may just be surprised.

New England Patriots have a chance in 2023

Hope springs eternal they say, and with the New England Patriots that’s all we have right now, hope. The team that was seemingly on the rise last season dropped back significantly and missed the playoffs. So why have hopes for better results?

The team’s personnel operation is and has been a poor one for years. They draft poorly and in free agency, they waste a ton of owner Robert Kraft’s cash. We can only hope that they will have an aberrational offseason and actually be better than that.

First, the New England Patriots have a good defense and a few additions could make it really good. That’s a solid foundation.

Related Story. How the New England Patriots can make the playoffs in 2023. light

One way to help would be to draft a big, young defensive tackle on or about the second round. Adding another in the mid-rounds would also help.

Another position to which to add is cornerback, but please, not before the third or fourth round or so. Otherwise, the team can look to the Undrafted Free Agent market. It’s one of the few areas of their personnel management that excels.

New England Patriots offense needs upgrades

Now on to glimmers of hope. The New England Patriots have thankfully revamped their dreadful offensive coaching staff and can’t help but be better. Bill O’Brien is a tried and true offensive coordinator. Last season’s Matt Patricia was not. That’s a big plus right there.

The top offseason priority for the New England Patriots 2023 draft is the position of offensive tackle. It needs bolstering and depth additions. Three OTs should be added to strengthen a position that was poor in 2022.

Isaiah Wynn a former first-round flop is likely gone in free agency. The top draft pick has to be an offensive tackle. Another should be taken in the middle rounds.

A third should be a top free agency priority. One name mentioned would be mammoth free agent tackle Mike McGlinchey. He wants big money. He’s worth it.

Another position that needs fixin’ because “it’s broke”, is, as always, wide receiver. Clamors for spending a top pick on a wide receiver should be ignored. They can’t draft one up high.

This position screams for a trade or a free agent signing, or both. Just don’t waste another high pick (rounds one and two at least) on a wide receiver. We’ve seen too many N’Keal Harrys and Tyquan Thorntons (OK, the jury is still out on him) go there.

Drafting a tight end would also be helpful in the upper middle rounds. The two costly free agent signings, Hunter Henry (OK) and Jonnu Smith (a bust) haven’t worked out. It needs to be addressed.

New England Patriots quarterback position is key

The quarterback piece may already be in-house. That would be third-year quarterback Mac Jones. Jones is one-for-two in his first seasons. 2021 was just fine. 2022 was a nightmare.

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Part of that could be on the dismal coaching staff. Fortunately, with Bill O’Brien coming on as a real offensive coordinator, that situation will be miles better.

This is show-me time for Jones. A more mobile quarterback should be either drafted low or brought in by trade or free agency.

Skylar Thompson of Miami would be a great trade candidate. His escapability, an attribute Jones does not possess in abundance, is off-the-charts. The competition is good.

Next. 3 intriguing linebackers Patriots should target in 2023 NFL Free Agency. dark

QB is the most important position on the team. It has to work or you’re sunk. Which Jones will show up in 2023? We’ll see. Its importance can’t be overestimated.

So here’s a look at how the New England Patriots can improve to be a playoff team or maybe even better. What do you think the team should do to improve? We’d like to hear.