In an ongoing offseason series, experts from The 33rd Team offer three things each team can do to improve in 2023.
AFC: BAL | BUF | CIN | CLE | HOU | IND | JAX | KC | LAC | LV | MIA | NYJ | PIT | TEN
NFC: ATL | CAR | DAL | DET | GB | LAR | MIN | NYG | PHI | SEA | SF | TB
Here are three things the New England Patriots can do to improve this offseason, and they all focus on one side of the ball (and one player in particular).
3 Ways to Improve Patriots
1. Hire Real Offensive Coordinator (Done)
The Patriots have a bona fide offensive coordinator now, and that’s going to be a revelation for Mac Jones. Now trust me, I had Matt Patricia as a position coach when I was in New England, he was great as a defensive-minded coach, one of the smartest guys out there. But you can’t have a defensive coordinator at OC. You can’t win games in the NFL playing defense on offense and defense, and the Patriots proved that last year.
I’m glad they went out and got Bill O’Brien, and he’s going to be something refreshing for Jones. I think they’ll be able to implement some of the schemes they had with Josh McDaniels, and also bring in some of those things that Jones may be familiar with from Alabama. Having O’Brien there now will settle down Jones, bring some consistency and calm to that offense, and they should get some improved play out of the position.
>> READ: Moves to Help Every Starting QB Next Season
2. Have Jones Mirror Lawrence’s Jump
That will allow them to rebuild Mac Jones, and hopefully get some performance and a rebound such as the Jacksonville Jaguars got from Trevor Lawrence. When Lawrence had Urban Meyer as head coach during his rookie year, it seemed like they made a terrible pick with him. He couldn’t make throws, had a lot of turnovers, was indecisive, and he seemed like he was a broken player.
You give Lawrence one year under Doug Pederson and what happens? You end up going to the playoffs, get a comeback win against the Los Angeles Chargers, and now the organization seems like it’s set up for a long run of success. Those are two things the Patriots cleared up just with the signing of O’Brien as offensive coordinator: Regaining some confidence for Jones and actually having an offensive coordinator calling plays now.
3. Get Playmakers at Wide Receiver
The Patriots need some playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. They have a solid run game, but it seems like they haven’t been able to hit on a No. 1 wide receiver for a long time. So, if you can’t do it through the draft and you may not be able to do it through free agency because those guys aren’t out there this year, maybe you have to make yourself a trade.
>> READ: Top 10 Free Agent Wide Receivers
DeAndre Hopkins, that’s somebody who seems really interesting as a target. And now that Tom Brady’s gone from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they may be trying to clear up some cap space, so maybe you can get a wide receiver like Mike Evans. Bring a veteran presence in there along with O’Brien and then you can use that to help bring Jones along.
Jones had a really great rookie year. If you stabilize him with a great asset on the outside along with an offensive coordinator, I think the sky’s the limit for the Patriots because what’s the one thing I haven’t talked about yet? The Patriots’ defense. They have all their game-breakers on that side of the ball: Matt Judon, Josh Uche, Kyle Dugger. They just need an offense to complement them, and as we noticed, they were right there in the thick of it in the AFC East last year, even with all the issues they had on offense.
You get the offense fixed, and we may see another run from those Patriots, that may remind them of those Tom Brady days. Not quite the same, but maybe a little something like it.
Tank Williams played five seasons in the NFL. Follow him on Twitter @TankWilliams13