The Patriots are a hard team to evaluate heading into 2022. They need to see development to be successful this season.
The Patriots had a polarizing off-season. They saw key departures, but they also welcomed new talent. As the Patriots are heading for the post-Tom Brady era, they must build a sturdy team incorporating good draft picks and excellent off-season moves. The moves New England has made this off-season can lead many to perceive the team in two very different ways. Here are two drastically different ways the Patriots season can go.
Patriots’ Player Regression
One of the two most significant departures the Patriots saw was the loss of their trusted, long-tenured offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. McDaniels is a terrific offensive coordinator, and the Patriots will certainly miss him. Unfortunately, with the team losing a trusted excellent coordinator, they don’t seem to have a straightforward replacement for him. In addition, Matt Patricia and Joe Judge are involved in the offense, which can cause concern. Both Patricia and Judge don’t have offensive experience and weren’t good head coaches.
Along with a young quarterback, that can potentially be a nasty combination. Mac is heading into his second year, and the coordinators he’s working with don’t have much offensive experience. As a result, the Patriots’ overall offense can regress. However, with the Bills being arguably the best team in the NFL and the Dolphins having a fantastic off-season, the Patriots could finish third in the division.
The other fundamental departure the Patriots saw in the off-season was losing star cornerback J.C. Jackson. Jackson thrived with the Patriots and quickly became one of the best cornerbacks in the league. After Jackson’s departure, they signed veterans like Malcolm Butler and Terrence Mitchell drafted cornerbacks in the later rounds. The secondary is a big question mark currently, and there is lots of unproven talent. In addition, the AFC is full of wide receiver talent, and it can quickly become an issue for the Patriots covering them.
These two key departures create a lot of concerns for the Patriots, and it’s unclear how good the Patriots will be without J.C. Jackson and Josh McDaniels.
The offensive talent in the AFC is at an all-time high, and it’s valid to question if the team can keep up. The number of stars doesn’t seem close to the top teams in the AFC. Also, on paper, New England doesn’t seem like a team that can win high-scoring games. So while there are valid concerns, it’s reasonable to think they’ll regress. However, it is also likely that they will leap forward due to crucial developments and good additions that can benefit the Patriots.
Patriots’ Key Development And Additions
The team could take a step backward, but they can also take a healthy leap forward.
With a rookie quarterback, New England was able to go ten and seven However, all signs point to Mac taking a good step in his development. Mac’s arm strength has notably improved, and the wide receiver core has also improved, with year two performances from Bourne, Agholor, Smith & Henry. As a result, Mac’s development is in a perfect position heading into 2022, along with new receiving additions.
Another promising standout is defensive linemen Christian Barmore. New England desperately needed productive defensive linemen, who seem to have found a gem. Barmore was constantly getting pressure on other quarterbacks, and he’s also in an excellent position to breakout in 2022. Barmore won’t be receiving the majority of attention with Matthew Judon and can thrive heading into the future.
Hopefully, their promising young quarterback and two new receivers can bring the speed and size they lacked. Devante Parker provides the big X receiver they seemed to lack for years, and his ability to get contested catches should help Mac significantly. As for speed, the team took the fastest receiver in the draft: Tyquan Thornton. Thornton can burn defenses, and he can make big plays. Giving Mac a speedy playmaker like Tyquan could contribute to a leap in offensive performance.
The secondary is still an area of concern for the team so, New England was able to snag Jabrill Peppers on a one-year deal. Peppers is a versatile player who fits in great with the Patriots. Peppers can excel when used as a utility player. Belichick should be able to get the best out of him. Another addition the Patriots had was Mack Wilson. Mack is a fast, athletic linebacker who can run sideline to sideline. This should help the Patriots significantly and help them compete against faster teams.
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How do you think the Patriots season will go in 2022? Do you think their additions will be able to make up for the players they split with?
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