We’re seeing somewhat of a role reversal within the New England Patriots this season.
The bulk of Patriots teams in recent years were powered by juggernaut offenses, which were able to cover up shortcomings on the defensive side. But thus far in the 2019 campaign, New England’s stellar defense has masked what’s largely been a mediocre start to the season by Tom Brady and Co.
Cris Carter knows there’s still plenty of time for the Patriots’ offense to iron things out. That said, the “First Things First” co-host isn’t convinced the reigning Super Bowl champions will be able to completely shake their offensive woes by winter.
“I can’t trust them right now because if you look at the amount of substitutions they’ve made on their offensive line, every week their offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, Dante Scarnecchia, the offensive line coach, they have to figure out, ‘What are our best protections for this week?’ There’s no type of continuity,” Carter said Tuesday on FOX Sports 1. “It’s hard to be consistent when you have, ‘Oh, my center’s out’ or, ‘Oh, my left tackle is out.’ ‘Oh, now the right tackle is out and I got to move another guy into guard.’ All these moving parts. Everything Tom Brady knows about football, they can’t operate under that mode. ‘Let’s pull back some stuff we did four years ago.’ No, they’re trying to perfect some basic things.”
Carter continued: “Their wide receivers, (Julian) Edelman has missed significant amount of time. Not only in training camp, but the first couple weeks of the season with that chest injury. Josh Gordon, I don’t know how much Josh weighs right now, but I would be saying this is the heaviest I’ve ever seen him playing and I don’t know if he can carry that weight. New England does a lot of lifting during the season. They’re into old-fashioned, as far as doing dumbbells, barbells, squats. A lot of teams don’t do that during the season. New England does that and Josh is a bulky guy. I wonder how fast he is right now. So in practice, are they able to time things up? To me, it doesn’t seem like they’ve had great practices because so many guys are going in and out of the lineup. It’s going to be hard for them. I would give them another three or four weeks, especially until they face some stiffer competition, ’til we start seeing some type of consistency. But I wouldn’t be surprised if this offense because of lack of talent, especially on that offensive line, if they struggle all year.”
The struggles on the Patriots’ offensive line cannot be ignored, and they’ve been exposed at a greater scale the past few weeks. That said, Scarnecchia just might be the best O-line coach in the game, and his units historically have performed their best in the biggest moments. Not to mention, help could be on the way in the form of Isaiah Wynn, who’s a candidate to be one of New England’s two players eligible to return from injured reserve later in the season.
As for New England’s wideouts, Carter might be going a bit overboard. We’re not sure where he gathered Edelman missing “significant time,” as the Super Bowl LIII MVP has appeared in every game this season and nearly is averaging six catches per contest. As for Gordon, his game isn’t entirely centered around speed. The talented WR still is a matchup nightmare at 6-foot-3 and, as evidenced last week, is awfully difficult to bring down once he has the ball in his hands.
Is there room for improvement within the Patriots’ offense? Without a doubt. But the unit probably isn’t in as bad of shape as Carter makes it out to be.