Dan Orlovsky last month expressed serious concern over the New England Patriots’ offense.
On Monday, the former NFL quarterback-turned-ESPN analyst doubled down, wondering how exactly the unit will function in wake of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels leaving Foxboro this offseason to become head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.
“Two months ago, I said this was the most concerning thing to me in the NFL, and it still is,” Orlovsky said on ESPN’s “Get Up.” “The Patriots took a strength and an advantage, and now sit at a massive disadvantage. I have no clue what their offense is going to be, what their scheme is going to be, and then I was thinking about it last night: Look at their schedule. And look at the teams that they have to play. And find one game where you can be honest about and say, ‘The Patriots have an advantage when it comes to their offensive system or their offensive play-caller.’
“Go through the list. I can find maybe Pittsburgh. Maybe, because Matt Canada’s a little bit of a still unknown. But even in their division — Buffalo has Ken Dorsey, who learned under Brian Daboll, who has this brilliant offensive mind. The Dolphins signed Mike McDaniel, who comes from the Kyle Shanahan, Mike Shanahan tree (and) who’s a renowned, brilliant offensive mind, specifically in the run game. The Jets have Mike LaFleur, Matt LaFleur’s little brother who comes from that same tree that for 50 years in the NFL that offense has worked well.”
It’s still unclear who will call the offensive plays for New England in 2022. It could be Joe Judge. It could be Matt Patricia. Heck, it even could be Bill Belichick himself. The Patriots head coach was predictably evasive Monday when pressed on the subject as New England kicked off organized team activities.
“I’ve called (the plays) and I haven’t called them,” Belichick told reporters. “And other people have called them and they haven’t called them. So, we’ll see.”
That line of thinking probably won’t sit well with Orlovsky, who believes the Patriots are playing with fire in how they’re approaching the offense this season. Mac Jones is coming off a strong rookie campaign as New England’s starting quarterback and now seemingly is dealing with a significant amount of uncertainty while preparing for a very important year in his overall development.
“I have no clue what New England is going to do on offense. And it honestly concerns me for Mac Jones,” Orlovsky said. “This quarterback who last year was so good, and was so attached to Josh McDaniels. And now, I want to be honest, when you say the phrase, ‘It’s going to be headed by Matt Patricia and Joe Judge,’ Joe Judge, respectfully, was the coach who on 3rd-and-8 last year called quarterback sneak. Put that into context.
“Patriots fans, look at your schedule. Find me one game where you can sit there and say, ‘Our offensive staff or scheme is going to give us an advantage in that football game.’ You can’t find one.”
The Patriots went 10-7 last season en route to earning an AFC wild-card berth. It was an improvement over 2020, when New England missed the playoffs with Cam Newton under center after Tom Brady’s departure, but it might be tough to build upon that progress in 2022, all things considered.