The Patriots offense has not played very well recently. It has Patriots fans looking for things to blame left and right. Injuries, young receivers, bad protection, the list goes on and on.
So, what is it?
Well, according to former Boston Globe columnist and current MMQB scribe Greg A. Bedard, it's all of the above.
Everyone, especially the rabid fans in New England, wants to know what’s wrong with the Patriots’ offense. After watching film this week, here’s my quick synopsis: they stink.
All of them.
It’s not just the receivers. It’s not just the pass or run blocking. It’s not just Tom Brady’s inaccuracy. It’s a combination of everything. Basically, there isn’t one thing they do well. It looks like the Patriots coaches think that as well, because the game plan against the Dolphins last Sunday was bare bones. The Pats won, 27-17, but there wasn’t a whole lot of motion or variety. They stuck to a few basic runs, a handful of different pass concepts.
While it's rough to hear someone say that all of your players stink, it's really not that far from the truth.
Stevan Ridley is the team's best running back, but for whatever reason he doesn't play much, so that group consists of LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden. In other words, it's not great.
The wide receivers have their well known issues. They are either rookies with drop problems, Danny Amendola with health problems or they're Julian Edelman who at one point was a Patriots cornerback.
The tight ends for most of the season were Matthew Mulligan and Michael Hoomanawanui. Rob Gronkowski continues to see limited snaps as he works his way back into game shape, recovering from forearm and back surgery in the offseason. Oh, he also had a hamstring flare up this week.
The offensive line has given up 23 sacks already, good for 10th most in the league. They are on pace to have Brady sacked the most times in his career. By comparison, last year Brady was sacked 27 times ALL YEAR.
Oh and Mr. Brady isn't void of blame himself. He's played inconsistent, missing easy passes and showing some poor accuracy at times.
As Bedard points out, the Pats tried to dumb down their offense against the Dolphins, and even that worked terribly. Though, perhaps actually using Ridley earlier would've helped things. But, I digress.
Brady has maybe been the main problem, as the quarterback is the most important position on the field. Bedard partially blames injuries for this, not necessarily just for Brady but to Amendola and Gronk. As we've pointed out here before, Brady usually makes his hay in the middle of the field, but he's had to throw mostly to the outside this season. Not only is that out of Brady's comfort zone, they are just harder passes to complete anyway according to Bedard. Especially when your targets on the outside are rookies with drop problems.
Still, there's plenty of time for the team to turn things around, and the good news is they're a struggling 6-2 instead of 2-6 like the Steelers team that will visit Foxboro this weekend.
With a bye week coming up, Shane Vereen's return on the horizon and their top players getting healthier, it's too early to say that this unit will stink forever. But, for right now, they most certainly do.