Patriots' Priorities for the 2023 Season

NoXInNixon

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These are the quarterbacks in the AFC playoff field:

Mahomes, Allen, Burrow, Lawrence, Herbert, Jackson, Tua (maybe)

Those are seven young quarterbacks, all of whom are young, and all of whom are significantly better than Mac Jones. Maybe Tua can't stay healthy, so we're down to six, but then you've got the rapist in Cleveland and we're back up to Mac Jones being no better than the 8th best QB in the conference. You just can't consistently contend in the NFL without an elite QB.

Maybe his ceiling is higher with a better OC. I doubt it.
As for that schedule:

Home:

Buffalo
Miami
NYJ
KC
LAC
Philly
Wash
Indy
New Orleans

Away:

Buffalo
Miami
NYJ
Denver
Las Vegas
NYG
Dallas
PIttsburgh

of note: one of the home games is expected to be in Germany
Time to tank for Williams. If that means getting rid of BB because he's too good of a coach to finish 2-15, well let him go.
 

Ralphwiggum

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I know wins and losses are a team stat, and part of this is that the offense sucked so hard that they couldn't put up enough points to beat the better teams, but the QBs in the Pats wins this year were:

Mitch Trubisky
Jared Goff
Jacoby Brisset
Zach Wilson (x2)
Sam Ehlinger
Colt McCoy
Teddy Bridgwater/Skylar Thompson

The Colts suck regardless of who their QB is but for the rest of those wins really only the Lions win with Goff was a win against a team with their true starting QB playing.

Having said that, I do think the defense is good, I am just not sure it is as good as the numbers show. But, it is obviously light years better than the offense so draft capital and FA dollars should prioritize the offense.
 

cornwalls@6

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“He has the ability to play QB in the NFL” is about as damning as faint praise gets, to me. Sounds like maybe moving on from Mac, or least a shot across the bow letting him know he will have to compete fully for the job next year, without any incumbent advantages. Would an assume a veteran is brought in to the mix of Mac and Zappe. Bill isn’t ever tanking for anyone, and I doubt he would have announced his return for next year, without Kraft being fully on board with it.
 

tims4wins

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I know wins and losses are a team stat, and part of this is that the offense sucked so hard that they couldn't put up enough points to beat the better teams, but the QBs in the Pats wins this year were:

Mitch Trubisky
Jared Goff
Jacoby Brisset
Zach Wilson (x2)
Sam Ehlinger
Colt McCoy
Teddy Bridgwater/Skylar Thompson

The Colts suck regardless of who their QB is but for the rest of those wins really only the Lions win with Goff was a win against a team with their true starting QB playing.

Having said that, I do think the defense is good, I am just not sure it is as good as the numbers show. But, it is obviously light years better than the offense so draft capital and FA dollars should prioritize the offense.
The other complicating factor is how little help the D received from the offense and special teams. During the heyday of the dynasty the D seemed to consistently outperform its rankings and metrics because they played such excellent complimentary football. It’s the total opposite now.
 

Ralphwiggum

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The other complicating factor is how little help the D received from the offense and special teams. During the heyday of the dynasty the D seemed to consistently outperform its rankings and metrics because they played such excellent complimentary football. It’s the total opposite now.
Yes, I agree with this, it is hard to accurately evaluate the D given how incredibly craptastic the offense was. I just thought it was interesting that outside of the Lions and Goff their wins were against backups or guys who lost their jobs during the season.
 

Cellar-Door

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They beat up on a ton of shitty QBs last year and this year, and looked mediocre against elite QBs. That doesn’t mean Steve is bad, I honestly have no clue. But that’s why nepotism sucks.
That's the NFL man, nobody consistently looks better than mediocre against elite QBs. Just beating up on bad QBs and not getting torched EVERY time you face an elite QB is going to make you a top D
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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That's the NFL man, nobody consistently looks better than mediocre against elite QBs. Just beating up on bad QBs and not getting torched EVERY time you face an elite QB is going to make you a top D
I think this is right- which shows that you are generally going to need to win some shootouts here and there and put up points to beat good teams, which the post Brady Pats have shown no ability to do.
 

astrozombie

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Yes, I agree with this, it is hard to accurately evaluate the D given how incredibly craptastic the offense was. I just thought it was interesting that outside of the Lions and Goff their wins were against backups or guys who lost their jobs during the season.
Some of those D stats were inflated playing garbage and I don't think the unit was as good as they appeared on paper. That said, they were certainly pretty good and who knows if they would have been a bit better with some tweaks to personnel or more importantly, not tasked with making game saving drives every time they were out on the field because the offense is a 3 and out machine
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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They have two wins in the past three seasons in which the opponent scored more than 22 points.
Yep. And the team has beaten two 2022 playoff QB’s over the past two years; Herbert and Lawrence last year. It’s pretty sobering. (And Allen last year in that weirdo wind game).
 

astrozombie

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I think this is right- which shows that you are generally going to need to win some shootouts here and there and put up points to beat good teams, which the post Brady Pats have shown no ability to do.
It's crazy to me that so many teams went and got their young qbs stud WRs and they generally thrived. But bb looks around at his corps and thinks parker/Meyers are getting it done and not playing Bourne is going to somehow make Mac look better.
 

rodderick

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Some of those D stats were inflated playing garbage and I don't think the unit was as good as they appeared on paper. That said, they were certainly pretty good and who knows if they would have been a bit better with some tweaks to personnel or more importantly, not tasked with making game saving drives every time they were out on the field because the offense is a 3 and out machine
They scored 7 TDs and provided the offense with the best average starting field position in football. I don't know what else they could have been asked to do, the defense held this team together on their own this year. Got zero help from the offense and special teams.
 

bakahump

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We can complain about the coaching staff, and BB in particular. They Deserved some blame. But strangely also some Credit.
I am not sure this is a 500 team on paper. More like a 5-6 win team on paper. Yet Here we are at 8-9 and arguments could be made for what we "Shoulda been".
Which leads to more "Blame". BB is simply too good of a coach to go 4-13 and get us in a position to get a true stud. Which is kinda what we need. We are in no mans land in part because our coach is too good to truly suck and not quite good enough to drag a pretty crappy roster overall to the meaningful playoffs.

WTF do you do.
 

Silverdude2167

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It's crazy to me that so many teams went and got their young qbs stud WRs and they generally thrived. But bb looks around at his corps and thinks parker/Meyers are getting it done and not playing Bourne is going to somehow make Mac look better.
Want to list this "so many teams" or are you talking about two?
 

Silverdude2167

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We can complain about the coaching staff, and BB in particular. They Deserved some blame. But strangely also some Credit.
I am not sure this is a 500 team on paper. More like a 5-6 win team on paper. Yet Here we are at 8-9 and arguments could be made for what we "Shoulda been".
Which leads to more "Blame". BB is simply too good of a coach to go 4-13 and get us in a position to get a true stud. Which is kinda what we need. We are in no mans land in part because our coach is too good to truly suck and not quite good enough to drag a pretty crappy roster overall to the meaningful playoffs.

WTF do you do.
Let him add more talent and challenge for the division next year.

You said it yourself if 2 plays go differently they are 10-7 this year. This team is not far from competing if they fix the Oline, Mac doesn't suck, and add a bit more talent on D.
All of which is very doable with the major question mark of Mac.
 

Cellar-Door

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We can complain about the coaching staff, and BB in particular. They Deserved some blame. But strangely also some Credit.
I am not sure this is a 500 team on paper. More like a 5-6 win team on paper. Yet Here we are at 8-9 and arguments could be made for what we "Shoulda been".
Which leads to more "Blame". BB is simply too good of a coach to go 4-13 and get us in a position to get a true stud. Which is kinda what we need. We are in no mans land in part because our coach is too good to truly suck and not quite good enough to drag a pretty crappy roster overall to the meaningful playoffs.

WTF do you do.
Yeah, this team is weird. On paper the offense is decent if you believe in Mac, but it was not good at all. On paper the D should be not great (pre-season people were talking about how bad everything but the front 4 was) and it was top 5 in the league good.
I think the offensive coaching wasn't good (ST too), but the defensive coaching was excellent.
 

NoXInNixon

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Let him add more talent and challenge for the division next year.

You said it yourself if 2 plays go differently they are 10-7 this year. This team is not far from competing if they fix the Oline, Mac doesn't suck, and add a bit more talent on D.
All of which is very doable with the major question mark of Mac.
That game works both ways. If Kyler Murray doesn't go down and Tua doesn't get a concussion, they go 0-7 to end the year at 6-11.
 

BaseballJones

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So here's the thing. Here's what happened this year, game by game:

at Mia - L, 20-7 - pretty much got manhandled in that game. Little chance to win.
at Pit - W, 17-14 - close game, got fortunate to win, but dominated the stats.
vs Bal - L, 37-26 - close game, very much in it until the Agholor fumble at the end. Actually outgained Baltimore 447-397, but committed 4 turnovers. Hard to win that way.
at GB - L, 27-24 in OT - close game, had a chance to win it in OT but blew it. Should have been a win.
vs Det - W, 29-0 - blowout all the way
at Cle - W, 38-15 - blowout all the way
vs Chi - L, 33-14 - blowout all the way - nobody saw THIS coming but it was the unveiling of Justin Fields
at NYJ - W, 22-17 - close game, Pats got a little lucky to win this one
vs Ind - W, 26-3 - blowout all the way
vs NYJ - W, 10-3 - close game, but the Jets never threatened and the Pats dominated the stats
at Min - L, 33-26 - Pats in this one right til the end; Mac's best game to that point in the season; not a "should have" won, but definitely a "could have" won game
vs Buf - L, 24-10 - closer than last year but Buffalo dominated
at Ari - W, 27-13 - lucky to have Murray get hurt but the Pats controlled the game
at LV - L, 30-24 - absolutely should have won this game; had LV 4th and 10 deep in their own end and let them off the hook; then the bad call on the tying TD, then the ridiculous lateral play; worst loss of the year by far
vs Cin - L, 22-18 - got lucky on the Meyers long TD (nice bounce) but did a great job coming back and had the game in hand at the end til the fumble at the 5 yard line
vs Mia - W, 22-20 - Miami outgained the Pats but NE pretty much controlled this game
at Buf - L, 35-23 - two kickoff returns for TDs, despite kind of holding their offense in check

So it's not difficult at ALL to see this team with a couple more losses than they had (Pit, at NYJ), but also not difficult to see a number of wins that they could/should have had (Bal, GB, Min, LV, Cin). So they were 8-9, could have been as bad as 6-11, but also could have been as good as 13-4. Clearly nobody here sees them as a 13-4 team, so in order to have that be their record, they'd have had to have all these close games go their way. So that's unrealistic, obviously. But it's not hard to see their true level as about a 10 win team. But you are what you are, and they only won 8 games.

But why? I'd say that they had some tough breaks, some bad calls at huge moments go against them, and then they just made critical errors at the worst times. The 2014 Patriots, for example, could overcome bad calls, untimely turnovers, and bad bounces. In fact, they DID overcome those things. The 2022 Patriots could not overcome those. They're not good enough to have those things go against them. So it's easy to point to the bad calls etc, but the fact is, they just weren't good enough to overcome them.

But they're not THAT far away from being a pretty good NFL team. Not that far at all. It wouldn't be hard at all for me to see them jump back to 10 or even 11 wins next year. You get a couple of breaks that you didn't get this year, you don't fumble at the 5 yard line with the game in hand, you don't allow 2 KO returns for TDs in the same game, you don't let teams score after having them down to 4th and 10 and then have the refs miss a call on their tying TD and then don't inexplicably lateral like they did....and it's not hard to see them winning 10 or 11 games next year. Not hard for me at all to see that.

But they still have a lot of places to improve the team. A lot. So this will be a very busy and very important offseason for the organization.
 

Spelunker

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No I don't think there is anything wrong with working your network to find potential job opportunities. I do think a hiring someone you know because you know them can in some cases be problematic, but that's another discussion for another thread. But working your network to find potential opportunities and then (presumably) getting one of those opportunities because you are qualified is not the same as a father hiring his son because he's his son.
If "your network" is based on who you're born to, then it's absolutely nepotism.
 

FL4WL3SS

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I know wins and losses are a team stat, and part of this is that the offense sucked so hard that they couldn't put up enough points to beat the better teams, but the QBs in the Pats wins this year were:

Mitch Trubisky
Jared Goff
Jacoby Brisset
Zach Wilson (x2)
Sam Ehlinger
Colt McCoy
Teddy Bridgwater/Skylar Thompson

The Colts suck regardless of who their QB is but for the rest of those wins really only the Lions win with Goff was a win against a team with their true starting QB playing.

Having said that, I do think the defense is good, I am just not sure it is as good as the numbers show. But, it is obviously light years better than the offense so draft capital and FA dollars should prioritize the offense.
I'm going to take a stab at why I think this is the case and it has nothing to do with the defense: these are the QBs that could not take advantage enough times when the offense went 3&out multiple times and put the defense in bad positions. Of course the defense couldn't beat a good QB because those other QBs had great offenses that couldn't be held over and over again.

The offense absolutely killed the defense against good teams this year. We saw it over and over again, they couldn't sustain drives to give the defense a break. Nevermind that there were a number of very crucial injuries on defense this year. They were absolutely a great unit that continually kept the team in games they had no business being in (due to the offense)*.

*And I didn't even mention ST
 

rodderick

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The breakdown for me is much simpler: they lost every game I expected them to lose and they won every game I expected them to win, sans the Chicago debacle. Given the schedule and the backups they faced, they'd have to be tremendously disappointing in order to win fewer than 8 games.
 

lexrageorge

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As the cap was noted above, the Pats are projected to have closer to $49M to spend when all is said and done.

Their 10 top contracts for 2023:

Matt Judon: $17.6M cap hit. Obviously staying. They may be able to defer some of this hit via restructure.
Jonnu Smith: $17.4M. They restructured his contract already, and the dead cap hit to cut him is something like $19M, so he's staying.
Hunter Henry: $15.5M. They can save $10M via cut and they almost certainly will. I doubt he will be back.
Trent Brown: $11.5M. Same situation as Hunter Henry. Certainly will not be back at that cap hit.
Davon Godchaux: $10.5M. They would take a $12M charge to cut him, and there is not a lot of base salary ($5.8M) to do a significant restructure and savings.
Deatrich Wise: $7.2M. Possible restructure candidate. They could save $2.8M via cut, so I think he will be back.
David Andrews: $7.2M. Probably back, but is a retirement risk.
Kendrick Bourne: $6.9M. Almost certainly will be cut to save $5.5M.
Jalen Mills: $6.6M. You can never have too much DB depth. He could be cut in training camp without any significant cap damage.
DeVante Parker: $6.3M. If the Pats want to keep him, they could extend him and reduce this number fairly easily.

Of their unrestricted free agents:

Addition by subtraction: Wynn, Agholor

Retirements: McCourty, Slater, Marcus Cannon

Candidates to remain: Raekwon McMillan, Joe Cardona

Like to keep but unclear they will be able to: Jonathon Jones, Jakobi Myers, Conor McDermott, Damien Harris,

Unknown or don't care: Cody Davis, Jabrill Peppers, Joejuan Williams, Carl Davis, Ferentz (who could retire), Cajuste, Mack Wilson

And one RFA, Myles Bryant, who they may as well try to keep.

Oof. I guess it's the salary hit that will keep Bailey here but his leg was not the same this year
It seems likely that Bailey may have been battling some injury issues all season, as it would be unusual for him to lose his leg strength at age 25. But I do expect them to bring in some camp competition at the punter and placekicker positions.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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I'm going to take a stab at why I think this is the case and it has nothing to do with the defense: these are the QBs that could not take advantage enough times when the offense went 3&out multiple times and put the defense in bad positions. Of course the defense couldn't beat a good QB because those other QBs had great offenses that couldn't be held over and over again.

The offense absolutely killed the defense against good teams this year. We saw it over and over again, they couldn't sustain drives to give the defense a break. Nevermind that there were a number of very crucial injuries on defense this year. They were absolutely a great unit that continually kept the team in games they had no business being in (due to the offense)*.

*And I didn't even mention ST
Interesting thought, makes a lot of sense to me.
 

Deathofthebambino

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Stud receivers are great for being stud receivers and what happens when the ball gets thrown to them. I think the "gravity" effects you describe (and I hear this line of argument a lot) are completely overblown and not supported by evidence. What are the 2/3 receivers doing opposite Jefferson in Minnesota? Not that much, and they traded for Hockenson in good part because they needed another guy to contribute. It's a pretty common pattern I see - teams get a #1 stud WR, pay him a ton, decide to cheap out on the rest of the receiving corps (because #1 WRs are expensive!) and then find a year or two later that the passing offense is not actually effective and they need more depth. Because as far as I can tell, there is no "gravity" effect.
Huh? They went 13-4 this season, and their QB, who most would agree is borderline a top 10 QB in the league went for 4,500 yards. Jefferson, by himself, had 128 catches, for 1,809 yards and 8td's, which doesn't leave a ton of room for guys to have massive production elsewhere, but this idea that Jefferson doesn't make the guys around him better is insane.

KJ Osborne was a 5th round draft pick in 2020, and he went for 60 catches, 750 yards and 5td's this year. But more importantly, when JJ got shut down in week 3 by Detroit, Osborne went for 5/73 and a touchdown in a game they won by 4 points. In that same game, Adam Theilen who went for 70/710/6tds this season and has lost a step, also went for 6/61 and a td. So when Detroit tried to take away JJ and did so successfully, the rest of the field opened up, and the other 2 receivers went for 11 catches, 134 yards and 2 td's.

The issue with looking at the Vikings is that JJ plays well almost every single week. It doesn't matter how many guys you throw at him, in reality.

Let's not revise history either. They didn't go and get TJ Hockenson because they needed another weapon. They went and got him because their starting TE, Irv Smith Jr., got hurt. Smith was placed on IR the exact same day they traded for Hockenson on 11/1.

Look at a team like Seattle. Before DK Metcalf got there, Tyler Lockett was a guy who averaged 44.1ypg over 4 seasons on 3.1 receptions per game. He had a knack for finding the end zone with 19td's in those 4 seasons.
In the 4 seasons since Metcalf showed up, Lockett is averaging 5.3 receptions per game, for 67.5ypg and he's found the end zone 35 times.

Look what happened to Aaron Rodgers and the receiving corps in Green Bay once they got rid of Adams. They were forced to bring in his washed up binkie, Randall Cobb. Look at the Titans after getting rid of AJ Brown.

Jaylen Waddle had 104 receptions as a rookie, and averaged 9.8ypc. Put Tyreek Hill on the other side, and he only made 75 catches this year, but he led the league with 18.1ypc because he started catching the ball in space.

In Philly, Devonte Smith had a good rookie year with 64 catches for 916 yards and 5td's. Put AJ Brown on the other side, and this year, he goes for 95/1196/7td. And obviously, it doesn't take a stats guru to recognize the differences AJ Brown and Tyreek made to Hurts and Tua's numbers, respectively.

I don't even understand how anyone could make any argument that these #1 receivers don't require more attention from a defense, thereby opening the field up for other guys. This isn't new. Look at the 2010 Patriots and specifically Wes Welker's per game numbers. That was the season after Randy Moss left, and the rookie season of Gronk/Hernandez. It's an extreme outlier in a 6 year span of ludicrous numbers for Welker. Then in 2011, the Pats figured out how to use the double tight ends, Gronk went crazy, and Wes Welker put up Tecmo Bowl numbers.

Elite skill position players make the game easier for their teammates on offense. Just like a stud corner like Gilmore/Revis/Law make everyone else better in the secondary.
 

BigSoxFan

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The breakdown for me is much simpler: they lost every game I expected them to lose and they won every game I expected them to win, sans the Chicago debacle. Given the schedule and the backups they faced, they'd have to be tremendously disappointing in order to win fewer than 8 games.
Agreed. This team was 1-6 against playoff teams. Only win was against the #7 seed Dolphins at home against their #3 QB. This was a firmly mediocre team all year. But even mediocre teams generally have an upset or two over the course of a 17 game season. We never did. This team just wasn’t impressive at all outside of the defense.

There is a LOT of work that needs to be done here, as we all know.
 

SMU_Sox

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The two/three games that stood out to me as truly horrendous losses were Minnesota, Las Vegas, and Chicago. Chicago I give them a half-pass because Mac was hurt, the Chicago offense put in a new game plan for Fields that wasn't on tape before, etc. They were outcoached.

Vegas and Minnesota were/are inferior teams with bad defenses. Vegas knew every single third down play coming. Josh had his defense prepared. Mac had like 5-6 really bad throws and there were 3-4 drops and then the last minute bullshit. Minnesota had the ST debacle, horrible officiating, and the offense couldn't take advantage of a defense consistently enough.

I can't stress enough how badly they need a CB1 - against better teams they were torched by number 1 guys for the most part. You also need a better starting slot corner than Mylez Bryant - he just cannot handle speed and it is unfair to ask him to.
 

astrozombie

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Want to list this "so many teams" or are you talking about two?
1. Diggs for Allen
2. Smith/brown for hurts
3. Hill for Tua
4. Chase for burrow
5. Jefferson for cousins (not young, but the vikes did better with him)

The jets tried with Garrett Wilson but Zach Wilson is just that bad; same with the raiders. So that's 7 teams there and not including some teams (bucs, chiefs, chargers) with established receiving options or teams with young qbs and crummy recceivers who are staying home this off-season (Texans, bears). Yw.
 

8slim

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As the cap was noted above, the Pats are projected to have closer to $49M to spend when all is said and done.

Their 10 top contracts for 2023:

Matt Judon: $17.6M cap hit. Obviously staying. They may be able to defer some of this hit via restructure.
Jonnu Smith: $17.4M. They restructured his contract already, and the dead cap hit to cut him is something like $19M, so he's staying.
Hunter Henry: $15.5M. They can save $10M via cut and they almost certainly will. I doubt he will be back.
Trent Brown: $11.5M. Same situation as Hunter Henry. Certainly will not be back at that cap hit.
Davon Godchaux: $10.5M. They would take a $12M charge to cut him, and there is not a lot of base salary ($5.8M) to do a significant restructure and savings.
Deatrich Wise: $7.2M. Possible restructure candidate. They could save $2.8M via cut, so I think he will be back.
David Andrews: $7.2M. Probably back, but is a retirement risk.
Kendrick Bourne: $6.9M. Almost certainly will be cut to save $5.5M.
Jalen Mills: $6.6M. You can never have too much DB depth. He could be cut in training camp without any significant cap damage.
DeVante Parker: $6.3M. If the Pats want to keep him, they could extend him and reduce this number fairly easily.

Of their unrestricted free agents:

Addition by subtraction: Wynn, Agholor

Retirements: McCourty, Slater, Marcus Cannon

Candidates to remain: Raekwon McMillan, Joe Cardona

Like to keep but unclear they will be able to: Jonathon Jones, Jakobi Myers, Conor McDermott, Damien Harris,

Unknown or don't care: Cody Davis, Jabrill Peppers, Joejuan Williams, Carl Davis, Ferentz (who could retire), Cajuste, Mack Wilson

And one RFA, Myles Bryant, who they may as well try to keep.


It seems likely that Bailey may have been battling some injury issues all season, as it would be unusual for him to lose his leg strength at age 25. But I do expect them to bring in some camp competition at the punter and placekicker positions.
Thanks, this is really helpful.

Year 3 of Jonnu Smith. The mind boggles.
 

SMU_Sox

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If you designate Jonnu as a post June 1st guy you save ~4.5m on the cap.
 

lexrageorge

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I'm going to take a stab at why I think this is the case and it has nothing to do with the defense: these are the QBs that could not take advantage enough times when the offense went 3&out multiple times and put the defense in bad positions. Of course the defense couldn't beat a good QB because those other QBs had great offenses that couldn't be held over and over again.

The offense absolutely killed the defense against good teams this year. We saw it over and over again, they couldn't sustain drives to give the defense a break. Nevermind that there were a number of very crucial injuries on defense this year. They were absolutely a great unit that continually kept the team in games they had no business being in (due to the offense)*.

*And I didn't even mention ST
I endorse this theory. Looking at the QB's to whom they lost:

Tua: Offense gained anemic 271 yards and turned the ball over 3 times.
Lamar Jackson: 4 turnovers. OK, defense did not play very well on this one.
Rodgers: The Hoyer/Zappe game that the coaches blew in OT.
Fields: Bad game in all 3 phases.
Cousins: Offense played well; defense had its struggles, but the running into the punter penalty cost them the game.
Josh Allen: Offense put up 240 yards and never had the ball.
Carr: Offense could do nothing against a weak Raiders defense until the 3rd quarter, then disappeared again in the 4th.
Burrow: Costly turnover ended the comeback attempt, but offense literally did zilch all first half.
Allen: ST killed the slim chance they had.
 

NoXInNixon

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Agreed. This team was 1-6 against playoff teams.
And next year they play 10 games against playoff teams. 3 more than this year. Also, the Jets with any other QB than Zack Wilson are a playoff team, and no one expects him to be back, so that's 12 games against playoff teams.

The schedule is brutal next season.
 

8slim

has trust issues
SoSH Member
Nov 6, 2001
26,006
Unreal America
I'm going to take a stab at why I think this is the case and it has nothing to do with the defense: these are the QBs that could not take advantage enough times when the offense went 3&out multiple times and put the defense in bad positions. Of course the defense couldn't beat a good QB because those other QBs had great offenses that couldn't be held over and over again.

The offense absolutely killed the defense against good teams this year. We saw it over and over again, they couldn't sustain drives to give the defense a break. Nevermind that there were a number of very crucial injuries on defense this year. They were absolutely a great unit that continually kept the team in games they had no business being in (due to the offense)*.

*And I didn't even mention ST
The Pats were 28th for plays. The only teams that ran less plays were the Rams, Chicago, Tennessee and Carolina. That's horrible, and supports the notion that the D was let down by the O too often.
 

BigSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
May 31, 2007
47,904
And next year they play 10 games against playoff teams. 3 more than this year. Also, the Jets with any other QB than Zack Wilson are a playoff team, and no one expects him to be back, so that's 12 games against playoff teams.

The schedule is brutal next season.
And that doesn’t even count teams like Denver and the Raiders who both could be much improved depending on their coaching/QB searches. The NFCE has staying power. That should be a good division for a while.
 

Red Averages

owes you $50
SoSH Member
Apr 20, 2003
9,351
And next year they play 10 games against playoff teams. 3 more than this year. Also, the Jets with any other QB than Zack Wilson are a playoff team, and no one expects him to be back, so that's 12 games against playoff teams.

The schedule is brutal next season.
It's really hard to know which teams will be good next year, at this stage. The Ravens were a completely different team when Lamar got hurt, for example. The Patriots steamrolled a terrible Lions team 29-0, yet if they played them 8 weeks later it would have been a much harder game. I don't really see any benefit to even looking at the schedule.
 

8slim

has trust issues
SoSH Member
Nov 6, 2001
26,006
Unreal America
I'm hesitant to call the schedule brutal just yet, if only because there are so many offseason variables that can affect team quality. Obviously it doesn't look promising, but hopefully a few teams take a step back and makes it more manageable.
 

EL Jeffe

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 30, 2006
1,342
My offseason priorities would be:

1) Offensive Coaching Staff: I completely underestimated the cumulative effect of having on-the-job trainees at literally everywhere on the offensive staff, outside of TE coach. You can live with one or two, but not everywhere. Bill O'Brien is the obvious name, but I'm agnostic on who they choose - as long as they choose someone with the skills and experience to design an offense and hire their own staff.
2) Special Teams Coach: Dead last in ST by DVOA this year after being below average the prior year. Just a dreadful performance littered with disastrous plays throughout the season. Joe Judge seems like an easy solution.
3) QB: I was a big Mac guy throughout the pre-draft process but I just don't think you can be a serious contender with a QB that has such significant physical limitations. I don't expect them to address the QB spot this year, but there isn't much reason to think Mac is The Guy. A promising (albeit inconsistent) rookie year shows he can be a guy to get you to the playoffs. But that's not really the bar.
4) OT: They have to figure out what to do with Trent Brown and it isn't an easy decision. If they move on, they need 2 starting OTs, a swing OT, and a developmental guy to compete with Stueber. If they bring him back, you can live with him but you aren't thriving with him.
5) FS: Maybe Dev decides to comeback but that's a longshot. I could see Marcus Jones replacing him, but those are huge shoes to fill and an important role on the D.
6) CB: We'll see what happens with Jon Jones. If they lose him, they need a starting caliber CB. Maybe you can get by with Mills, Jack Jones, and Marcus Jones (if he stays as nickel) but you're probably not feeling great about it. Another CB with some size would be nice.
7) WR: We'll see what happens with Jakobi. They could really use a RAC guy with some dynamic aspects to his game. Bourne has some RAC to him, but he's a 4.6 guy and while he's useful, he's not particularly dangerous.
8) TE/FB: You can live with Hunter Henry moving the chains and being a safety blanket (which is terrible value for the contract, but that's water under the bridge). Jonnu is useless and the Jonnu Truthers (who are surprisingly out there today) seem to ignore that not only could Josh McDaniels get nothing out of Jonnu, nobody has ever gotten anything out of Jonnu. He just isn't good, even if he looks like someone who should be good. They could use a true blocking TE, or a FB who can block but also catch better than a Jakob Johnson type.
9) Kicker: Maybe you bring Folk back? He's under contract in 2023 but finished the year very iffy and he clearly can't kickoff. They save $2.2m by cutting him.
10) Punter: Dead last in net punting. If the suspension is upheld, you have to figure Bailey is gone. He's been bad for 2 straight years and clearly something was up this year.
11) IOL: Ferentz can't be your top interior backup. Maybe Hines or Russey take a big leap (I like Hines, but he's way further ahead in run blocking than pass pro at the moment), but you can't count on that...and you can't count on Strange and Onwenu being healthy all year like 2022.

That's a really long list. The good news is that they have cap room and a lot of draft picks (albeit a bunch in the 4th and 6th rounds). Some of these aren't difficult to fill (like shifting Judge to ST or signing a vet IOL), and you don't necessarily have to fill every hole. There's also no such thing as a perfect team. That said, having an elite QB sure as hell covers up a lot of problems, and Mac is never going to be elite. Maybe he'll be pretty good, but he's never going to reach that elite tier.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
25,466
The teams with a true, legit, great #1 WR:

Miami - Hill
Buffalo - Diggs
Cincinnati - Chase
Philly - Brown
Vegas - Adams
Rams - Kupp
Vikings - Jefferson
Arizona - Hopkins
Seattle - Metcalf
Tampa - Evans
Dallas - Lamb
Detroit - St. Brown

I'd say those 12 teams really have top of the line, stud, star #1 WRs. Here's how they rank in the NFL in offense:

Miami: #11 points, #6 tot yds, #4 pass yds
Buffalo: #4 points, #4 tot yds, #8 pass yds - only played 16 games
Cincinnati: #8 points, #15 tot yds, #7 pass yds - also only played 16 games
Philadelphia: #2 points, #2 tot yds, #9 pass yds
Las Vegas: #12 points, #11 tot yds, #11 pass yds
LA Rams: #27 points, #32 tot yds, #27 pass yds - Kupp hurt much of the year; Stafford too
Minnesota: #7 points, #7 tot yds, #5 pass yds
Arizona: #21 points, #22 tot yds, #18 pass yds - Murray missed a bunch of games
Seattle: #9 points, #12 tot yds, #12 pass yds
Tampa: #25 points, #14 tot yds, #2 pass yds
Dallas: #3 points, #10 tot yds, #14 pass yds
Detroit: #5 points, #3 tot yds, #6 pass yds

So the 12 teams with the stud #1 WR:
- Have 7 of the top 10 scoring offenses
- Have 9 of the top 12 scoring offenses
- Have 5 of the top 10 total yards offenses
- Have 8 of the top 12 total yards offenses
- Have 10 of the top 15 total yards offenses
- Have 7 of the top 10 pass yards offenses
- Have 9 of the top 12 pass yards offenses
- Have 10 of the top 15 pass yards offenses

But the teams without the stud #1 WR:
Points scored: #1 (KC), #6 (SF), #10 (Jax), #13 (LAC), #14 (GB), #15 (NYG)
Total yards: #1 (KC), #5 (SF), #8 (LAC), #9 (Jax), #13 (Cle)
Pass yards: #1 (KC), #3 (LAC), #10 (Jax), #13 (SF), #15 (NYJ)

So of THOSE teams:
- KC obviously has the best QB in the sport in Mahomes, incredible offensive coaching, and by FAR the best TE in the league in Kelce. So not a true #1 WR, but a guy who basically is that.

- SF has terrific skill people, though I'd say not a true #1 (Samuel isn't quite that). Great OL, great offensive coaching, dynamic running backs, and a smothering defense that gets the offense the ball all the time.

- LAC has two excellent WRs in Williams and Allen, who probably are *thisclose* to being true stud #1 WRs. And obviously a great QB in Herbert.

- Jax has good skill players and a rising star at QB.

So yeah, having a true #1 definitely helps a LOT, but you can do tons of damage without one; it's just that you need to have a really, really good QB, and another stud somewhere else (RB, TE, etc.).
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
18,816
It's really hard to know which teams will be good next year, at this stage. The Ravens were a completely different team when Lamar got hurt, for example. The Patriots steamrolled a terrible Lions team 29-0, yet if they played them 8 weeks later it would have been a much harder game. I don't really see any benefit to even looking at the schedule.
I'm hesitant to call the schedule brutal just yet, if only because there are so many offseason variables that can affect team quality. Obviously it doesn't look promising, but hopefully a few teams take a step back and makes it more manageable.
Another consideration with the schedule is the rest of the Pats divisional opponents play much the same schedule. A team that finishes 3rd or 4th in its division really cannot use the schedule as an excuse.
 

astrozombie

New Member
Sep 12, 2022
527
The teams with a true, legit, great #1 WR:

Miami - Hill
Buffalo - Diggs
Cincinnati - Chase
Philly - Brown
Vegas - Adams
Rams - Kupp
Vikings - Jefferson
Arizona - Hopkins
Seattle - Metcalf
Tampa - Evans
Dallas - Lamb
Detroit - St. Brown

I'd say those 12 teams really have top of the line, stud, star #1 WRs. Here's how they rank in the NFL in offense:

Miami: #11 points, #6 tot yds, #4 pass yds
Buffalo: #4 points, #4 tot yds, #8 pass yds - only played 16 games
Cincinnati: #8 points, #15 tot yds, #7 pass yds - also only played 16 games
Philadelphia: #2 points, #2 tot yds, #9 pass yds
Las Vegas: #12 points, #11 tot yds, #11 pass yds
LA Rams: #27 points, #32 tot yds, #27 pass yds - Kupp hurt much of the year; Stafford too
Minnesota: #7 points, #7 tot yds, #5 pass yds
Arizona: #21 points, #22 tot yds, #18 pass yds - Murray missed a bunch of games
Seattle: #9 points, #12 tot yds, #12 pass yds
Tampa: #25 points, #14 tot yds, #2 pass yds
Dallas: #3 points, #10 tot yds, #14 pass yds
Detroit: #5 points, #3 tot yds, #6 pass yds

So the 12 teams with the stud #1 WR:
- Have 7 of the top 10 scoring offenses
- Have 9 of the top 12 scoring offenses
- Have 5 of the top 10 total yards offenses
- Have 8 of the top 12 total yards offenses
- Have 10 of the top 15 total yards offenses
- Have 7 of the top 10 pass yards offenses
- Have 9 of the top 12 pass yards offenses
- Have 10 of the top 15 pass yards offenses

But the teams without the stud #1 WR:
Points scored: #1 (KC), #6 (SF), #10 (Jax), #13 (LAC), #14 (GB), #15 (NYG)
Total yards: #1 (KC), #5 (SF), #8 (LAC), #9 (Jax), #13 (Cle)
Pass yards: #1 (KC), #3 (LAC), #10 (Jax), #13 (SF), #15 (NYJ)

So of THOSE teams:
- KC obviously has the best QB in the sport in Mahomes, incredible offensive coaching, and by FAR the best TE in the league in Kelce. So not a true #1 WR, but a guy who basically is that.

- SF has terrific skill people, though I'd say not a true #1 (Samuel isn't quite that). Great OL, great offensive coaching, dynamic running backs, and a smothering defense that gets the offense the ball all the time.

- LAC has two excellent WRs in Williams and Allen, who probably are *thisclose* to being true stud #1 WRs. And obviously a great QB in Herbert.

- Jax has good skill players and a rising star at QB.

So yeah, having a true #1 definitely helps a LOT, but you can do tons of damage without one; it's just that you need to have a really, really good QB, and another stud somewhere else (RB, TE, etc.).
Thanks for this. I was trying to make a similar point elsewhere but my coffee hasn't kicked in yet
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
18,816
The teams with a true, legit, great #1 WR:

<snip>

So of THOSE teams:
- KC obviously has the best QB in the sport in Mahomes, incredible offensive coaching, and by FAR the best TE in the league in Kelce. So not a true #1 WR, but a guy who basically is that.
JuJu Smith-Schuster would be the best WR on the Patriots.

- SF has terrific skill people, though I'd say not a true #1 (Samuel isn't quite that). Great OL, great offensive coaching, dynamic running backs, and a smothering defense that gets the offense the ball all the time.
I think this underrates Deebo Samuel somewhat. And Brandon Aiyuk would be better than nearly every receiver on the Pats roster.

- LAC has two excellent WRs in Williams and Allen, who probably are *thisclose* to being true stud #1 WRs. And obviously a great QB in Herbert.
Both are far better than any receiver on the Pats roster.

- Jax has good skill players and a rising star at QB.
Christian Kirk was a good, under the radar pickup for them.

So yeah, having a true #1 definitely helps a LOT, but you can do tons of damage without one; it's just that you need to have a really, really good QB, and another stud somewhere else (RB, TE, etc.).
+1. In today's NFL, you don't win consistently without an elite offensive player somewhere on the field.
 

HomeRunBaker

bet squelcher
SoSH Member
Jan 15, 2004
31,295
Problem is it’s hard to tell how much of that is father and how much of that is son given that Bill consistently has seemed to be much more hands-on with defense as compared to offense. (Not saying Steve Belichick is a bad coach or anything, just that it’s hard to tell how much he individually is responsible for the strong defensive performance this year.)
I don’t see Bill as the type who would hold his sons hand or any of his coaches hands for that matter. Of course I could be wrong but he seems like more of a guy who will give you an opportunity and see what you do with it. In Steve’s case he’s been promoted several times.
 

Deathofthebambino

Drive Carefully
SoSH Member
Apr 12, 2005
42,420
So yeah, having a true #1 definitely helps a LOT, but you can do tons of damage without one; it's just that you need to have a really, really good QB, and another stud somewhere else (RB, TE, etc.).
That's basically the Patriots in every non-Randy Moss year during the Brady run, but you also add in an all world slot receiver too (and a great offensive line, and great OC's).

Trying to get an elite top 5 QB in the NFL is a recipe for disaster for most NFL teams. They just don't grow on trees. Mahomes, Allen, Herbert, etc. just don't fall into your lap. I made this post in the game thread last night regarding San Fran:



"Yep, and teams can wait decades to find that top 5 QB.

That's why I love the way San Fran has approached building their team. They built the defense and offense, and then went and got their QB (Lance). Lance obviously got hurt, but he was the first QB they've taken in their first 104 picks since Kaepernick in 2011.

They took CJ Beathard in the 3rd round in 2017, then Lance in 2021 and then threw a dart at Purdy with the last pick in 2022. Their only QB selections in 11 years besides those guys were Jeff Driskel in the 6th round in 2016 and CJ Daniels in the 7th round in 2013.

That's the model teams that aren't bad enough to have a top 3 pick need to have, IMO."
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
25,466
I think this is what the Pats are trying to do. They've built a very good defense, have added some good young talent on offense, and are chipping away at this. The 49ers also, of course, made a bold trade to get McCaffrey, and they've gotten very lucky with Purdy, though they were UN-lucky with the Lance and JimmyG injuries. They're a good team but also....they haven't won it all yet, so maybe they've figured out the formula for being good but not great.
 

Bongorific

Thinks he’s clever
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
8,527
Balboa Towers
The teams with a true, legit, great #1 WR:

Miami - Hill
Buffalo - Diggs
Cincinnati - Chase
Philly - Brown
Vegas - Adams
Rams - Kupp
Vikings - Jefferson
Arizona - Hopkins
Seattle - Metcalf
Tampa - Evans
Dallas - Lamb
Detroit - St. Brown

I'd say those 12 teams really have top of the line, stud, star #1 WRs. Here's how they rank in the NFL in offense:

Miami: #11 points, #6 tot yds, #4 pass yds
Buffalo: #4 points, #4 tot yds, #8 pass yds - only played 16 games
Cincinnati: #8 points, #15 tot yds, #7 pass yds - also only played 16 games
Philadelphia: #2 points, #2 tot yds, #9 pass yds
Las Vegas: #12 points, #11 tot yds, #11 pass yds
LA Rams: #27 points, #32 tot yds, #27 pass yds - Kupp hurt much of the year; Stafford too
Minnesota: #7 points, #7 tot yds, #5 pass yds
Arizona: #21 points, #22 tot yds, #18 pass yds - Murray missed a bunch of games
Seattle: #9 points, #12 tot yds, #12 pass yds
Tampa: #25 points, #14 tot yds, #2 pass yds
Dallas: #3 points, #10 tot yds, #14 pass yds
Detroit: #5 points, #3 tot yds, #6 pass yds

So the 12 teams with the stud #1 WR:
- Have 7 of the top 10 scoring offenses
- Have 9 of the top 12 scoring offenses
- Have 5 of the top 10 total yards offenses
- Have 8 of the top 12 total yards offenses
- Have 10 of the top 15 total yards offenses
- Have 7 of the top 10 pass yards offenses
- Have 9 of the top 12 pass yards offenses
- Have 10 of the top 15 pass yards offenses

But the teams without the stud #1 WR:
Points scored: #1 (KC), #6 (SF), #10 (Jax), #13 (LAC), #14 (GB), #15 (NYG)
Total yards: #1 (KC), #5 (SF), #8 (LAC), #9 (Jax), #13 (Cle)
Pass yards: #1 (KC), #3 (LAC), #10 (Jax), #13 (SF), #15 (NYJ)

So of THOSE teams:
- KC obviously has the best QB in the sport in Mahomes, incredible offensive coaching, and by FAR the best TE in the league in Kelce. So not a true #1 WR, but a guy who basically is that.

- SF has terrific skill people, though I'd say not a true #1 (Samuel isn't quite that). Great OL, great offensive coaching, dynamic running backs, and a smothering defense that gets the offense the ball all the time.

- LAC has two excellent WRs in Williams and Allen, who probably are *thisclose* to being true stud #1 WRs. And obviously a great QB in Herbert.

- Jax has good skill players and a rising star at QB.

So yeah, having a true #1 definitely helps a LOT, but you can do tons of damage without one; it's just that you need to have a really, really good QB, and another stud somewhere else (RB, TE, etc.).
You’re missing some context.

I don’t see much use in LAR‘s season stats. Kupp only played 8 games and put up 75/812/6. That team had absolutely nothing else going at WR or RB.

Arizona is similar as Hopkins only played 9 games. I’m not sure why he would be included on the “stud” list still.

Of the “non stud WR” teams: Kelce is essentially a WR. They could have kept Hill or Kelce and went Kelce. Much like some of the Gronk years, having an absolutely dominate catching TE has the same impact as dominate WR.

SF has its own wrinkle as well. I don’t know if Deebo is a “stud” receiver, but he’s a stud playmaker. And when they lost him they got CMC who is an excellent WR and RB at the same time.

LAC are similar. Williams and Keenan can be in the same class as Metcalf, ArSB, Evans, and Lamb. And Ekler is their own CMC.

Jax signed Kirk to WR #1 money. He played better than I would have thought. I wouldn’t call him a “stud”, but to @Deathofthebambino ‘s point, he must be doing something effective out there to allow Zay Freakin Jones and Evan Engram put up career years.

Bringing this all back to the Patriots, their issue, in my eyes, isn’t that they don’t have one of the top 12 receivers you listed; it’s that they don’t have anyone even in the top 50. Just having someone like McLaurin, DJ Moore, Higgins, Pittman, Sutton/Juedy would make the offense a lot more dynamic.
 

Ralphwiggum

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 27, 2012
9,892
Needham, MA
If "your network" is based on who you're born to, then it's absolutely nepotism.
I was assuming we are talking about professional connections, not familial. I think there are some issues with how networks are formed, and how easy it is for some and difficult it is for others to form them, so it is far from a perfect way to promote equity in hiring. But it is also so ingrained in how things work that it would be incredibly hard to undo that, I think the best you can do is go out of your way to help marginalized individuals have access to your network. Straight up nepotism is much more pernicious, IMO.
 

SMU_Sox

queer eye for the next pats guy
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2009
9,087
Philly
@BaseballJones I can't find it but you were talking about points allowed for the Patriots. I don't think that is as useful as yards per drive and points per drive on defense.

2022:
Points per drive on defense: 1.66, 2nd best in the NFL.
Yards per drive on defense: 29.32, 8th best in the NFL.

It was a damn good defense this year but they really need better corners.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
25,466
@BaseballJones I can't find it but you were talking about points allowed for the Patriots. I don't think that is as useful as yards per drive and points per drive on defense.

2022:
Points per drive on defense: 1.66, 2nd best in the NFL.
Yards per drive on defense: 29.32, 8th best in the NFL.

It was a damn good defense this year but they really need better corners.
I'm sure BB will draft a corner or two this offseason. Even when they're loaded at that position he always seems to go after one. And with Jonathan Jones a FA, they definitely have needs there.

They'll need help at safety also, with McCourty likely retiring. Thankfully the DL is in really good shape.
 

heavyde050

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 17, 2006
11,259
San Francisco
@BaseballJones I can't find it but you were talking about points allowed for the Patriots. I don't think that is as useful as yards per drive and points per drive on defense.

2022:
Points per drive on defense: 1.66, 2nd best in the NFL.
Yards per drive on defense: 29.32, 8th best in the NFL.

It was a damn good defense this year but they really need better corners.
I really think this makes sense. There were a few too many 3rd and 10 and 4th and 10 conversions for big plays that really hurt this team (e.g., the Diggs TD yesterday and the 4th down conversion in the Raiders game before the TD that shouldn't have counted). IIRC Revis was the 14th pick. Let's hope for something like that this draft.