The New England Patriots 2022 season has been disappointing, and many blame head coach Bill Belichick.
After the impressive rookie season of New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones in 2021, the expectations for his sophomore year in 2022 were high. However, the reality has been low, but who is to blame?
The New England Patriots had a steady offense with Josh McDaniels as the offensive play caller in 2021. Since McDaniels’ departure in the offseason, Bill Belichick brought in former Patriots coaches Matt Patricia and Joe Judge to take over on offense.
Judge had spent time in New England serving as special teams and receivers coach from 2012 to 2019. He returned to the Patriots as the quarterback’s coach and offensive assistant.
Patricia had been with the Patriots from 2004 to 2017, serving as an offensive assistant for two years before becoming a defensive coach for over a decade. He then became the head coach of the Detroit Lions in 2018, a tenure that lasted two seasons before returning to the Patriots to be a senior football adviser and offensive line coach. He is also the offensive play-caller for the Patriots but was not given the official offensive coordinator title.
Who is to blame for the New England Patriots’ struggles?
Since Patricia took over the play-calling duties, the Patriots’ offense has regressed. In 2021, New England had a top 10/15 offense; now, they are far below that mark.
However, the season is not over; the Patriots’ playoff hopes are still alive, with two games to go. To clinch a playoff spot, they must defeat the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills, which is easier said than done especially considering these teams hold wins over the Patriots from earlier in the season.
New England has lost four of their last five games, including the previous two, which included awful fourth-quarter mistakes.
One of the worst regressions for the offense has been its Red Zone scoring. Last season the Patriots were seventh in Red Zone scoring percentage, averaging 63.08 percent, while in 2022, they are dead last, 32nd, averaging 38.46 percent.
While the Patriots offense has regressed, it has done the most damage to quarterback Mac Jones, who is in the second year of his NFL career. Jones had a rookie of the year caliber year in 2021 and was a top quarterback. The Patriots’ coaching has drawn criticism from fans for not allowing Jones to throw the ball more and relying on checkdowns more than deep passes.
Jones made headlines this season for his visual and verbal frustration during games, which many assume was directed at Patricia. Jones has since come out in support of Patricia, saying:
‘I talk to Matty P. every day. Sometimes it’s at 4 in the morning. Sometimes it’s 8 at night. I have no problem with Matty P.”
With the calls of many fans wanting Patricia gone, Belichick stated a few weeks ago that changes would not be made during the season. This does not mean that Patrica won’t be gone, it just means it will not be happening during the season.
Coaches have been fired during the season, which we saw recently when the Denver Broncos fired their head coach Nathaniel Hackett. The most apparent reason Patricia has not been relieved of his duties is that he is close friends with Belichick. However, friendship should not come before the team.
While many call for Patricia’s firing, this does not mean they also want Belichick gone. Belichick is one of the greatest football coaches of all time and has had sustained success for two decades, along with Tom Brady, to create the greatest dynasty in football history. The current issues with Belichick stem from his questionable decisions, the biggest one being allowing Patricia to ruin his offense and second-year quarterback in one season. It is something that has dumbfounded fans and sports media.
Who exactly is to blame? Is it Belichick? Patricia? Jones? The entire offense?
As the season ends, it does not matter. What has happened this season has happened, and it cannot be changed. What matters is 2023 and the future of the New England Patriots; they have many issues to fix, with coaching at the top of their list.