Dante Scarnecchia Wants Patriots To Give Mac Jones This Kind Of Weapon

'They don't want to hear that, but that's the truth'


January 18, 2022

Every fan wants the Patriots to find some flashy, high-end receiver for Mac Jones to work with. Stars such as Calvin Ridley and Odell Beckham Jr. surely will be mentioned as potential targets this offseason.

But is that the kind of player Jones needs to take New England’s offense to the next level? Legendary Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, for one, doesn’t believe New England needs to make some headline-grabbing addition.

“We’ve always had that guy, a guy who moved the chains,” Scarnecchia, who retired in 2020, recently told Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. “Whether it was Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola when all else failed, he was that guy. But they don’t have that guy right now.”

Scarnecchia added: “They gotta get a better supporting cast around (Mac). They don’t want to hear that, but that’s the truth. Other than Jakobi Meyers, who do they got?”

Notice that Scarnecchia didn’t mention players such as Randy Moss, Josh Gordon, Antonio Brown or even tight end Rob Gronkowski. While a true No. 1 pass-catcher obviously would help any team, including the Patriots, the reality is that New England has an explosive talent in Kendrick Bourne, a speedy boundary option in Nelson Agholor — who admittedly wasn’t good this season — and a reliable red-zone weapon in Hunter Henry. Meyers has turned himself into a good NFL receiver — 83 catches for 866 yards this season — but he’s not especially athletic and isn’t exactly scaring opposing defenses on third downs.

What the Patriots don’t have is a quick, traditional slot receiver who can get open in a hurry when Jones needs to get rid of the ball. That’s not to say they should limit themselves to a traditional slot; Edelman certainly became much more than that as his career progressed. But bringing in a player capable of playing a typical slot role when called upon would help Jones immensely.

Scarnecchia actually believes the Patriots had an in-house solution a few years ago in Braxton Berrios, whom they drafted in 2018 and released before the 2019 campaign in favor of Gunner Olszewski, who thus far has failed to develop a role in the passing game.

“He’s just like those guys,” Scarnecchi said of Berrios. “He gets open. He can run the reverses. People in New York think he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.”

Scarnecchia’s assessment of Berrios might be on the kind side. The 2018 sixth-round pick is a decent player, but he doesn’t possess the talent of players such as Edelman, Amendola or, to go back further, Deion Branch. In three seasons with the Jets, Berrios has amassed 89 catches for 940 yards and five touchdowns. The 26-year-old is coming off a career-season in which he caught 46 balls for 431 yards and two scores.

But Scarnecchia’s point is well-taken. And who knows? Perhaps Berrios could’ve developed into an even better player had he stayed with the Patriots.

As New England prepares for a critical offseason, its focus should be on overhauling a defense that got exposed over the final five weeks of the season. But adding a fast, reliable slot receiver also should be on the Patriots’ to-do list.

Thumbnail photo via Sam Navarro/USA TODAY Sports Images
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