3 Offseason Moves That Could Backfire on Patriots

Jan 17, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo (L) and owner Robert
Jan 17, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo (L) and owner Robert / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
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This offseason has been the most important offseason in New England Patriots history. The team parted ways with their head coach and de facto general manager of 24 years, Bill Belichick, on Jan. 11. Belichick was at the center of the Patriots historic dynasty run and departed Foxborough with six Lombardi Trophies.

Only three teams have a worse record than the New England Patriots over the last two seasons, and the state of the franchise is in dire straits after 16 playoff appearances in the previous 17 years. Since that run, New England has only made the playoffs once in four seasons.

At a crucial turning point, the Patriots hired former linebacker Jerod Mayo as their head coach soon after Belichick's departure. Mayo was then subsequently tasked with assembling his coaching staff as a first-year head coach. Furthermore, New England has their highest draft pick since 1993 and are presumed to take a franchise quarterback with that pick in next month's draft.

Needless to say, several momentous decisions have been made so far this offseason at all levels of the organization that will determine the franchise's future. In this all-so-pivotal offseason, here are three moves New England has made that could ultimately backfire on the Patriots.

3. Hiring of Alex Van Pelt

Even the Patriots can't contend that Van Pelt was their first choice. New England interviewed at least 11 other candidates for the position, and offered Los Angeles Rams tight ends coach and passing game coordinator Nick Caley the job, which Caley ultimately declined. Quite frankly, it feels like Van Pelt was simply the last one standing at the dance.

There are a lot of questions surrounding Van Pelt, a former NFL quarterback. He hasn't called plays full-time since 2009, when he was offensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills. It should raise eyebrows that another team hasn't given him a chance to do so in 14 years. The Patriots are also Van Pelt's sixth team since 2009, a lack of consistency that raises questions about why he has failed to stick in any one spot. He served as the Cleveland Browns quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator last season, and was fired following a season in which the team started five different quarterbacks yet still made the playoffs. Why? There are numerous lingering questions about Van Pelt that should bring pause.

In yards per game over the past five seasons, Van Pelt's offenses have ranked: 16th, 14th, 18th, 16th, and 26th. His offenses haven't exactly been blowing the doors off of NFL defenses.

With a rookie franchise quarterback inevitably coming in 2024, the offensive coordinator position is even more imperative. Hopefully, Van Pelt is up for that challenge.