It happened quickly, but Week 1 of the NFL season is just around the corner for the New England Patriots.
That might not exactly be great news for the team’s offense, with it still fine-tuning different elements of the attack as it shifts gears to a more Kyle Shanahan-esque approach. Making matters even more complicated for the unit is having Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, who have spent the majority of their time in the NFL coaching other aspects of the game, entrenched on that side of the ball.
It feels like the Patriots offense isn’t where it should be with the season opener against the Miami Dolphins now less than three weeks away. But while the pressure on getting things up to speed is starting to intensify, it doesn’t have New England panicking despite time running out to be able to properly execute the new-look offense.
“Urgency, yes, but I wouldn’t say we’re rushing,” wide receiver Jakobi Meyers told reporters Monday ahead of joint practices with the Las Vegas Raiders, as seen on video provided by Patriots.com. “We know what’s coming, we know when it’s coming. But at the same time, I feel like we’re making sure we’re doing it on the right terms that way we don’t skip over everything and everybody understands what’s going on moving forward.”
Meyers said his role in the offense hasn’t change much and he’ll still primarily be working out of the slot. For Meyers, the gap in learning the new offense isn’t as wide as some might think.
“It’s not crazy different. At the end of the day it’s still football,” Meyers said. “And then we’ve been around the game long enough to understand different offenses. So, even though it’s new to us, we know this is an offense that’s been in the game for a while. So, there’s tape out there. Even if it’s not us, we can go study it there and still get our mental reps.”
Meyers can feel the offense ironing out some of the wrinkles that caused problems early on during training camp. The starters getting into their first preseason against the Carolina Panthers last Friday was a benefit, Meyers said, which certainly begs the question why the first-team offense didn’t get a series or two in the preseason opener against the New York Giants.
The Patriots offense with the starters in looked atrocious through two series versus Panthers when they gained three yards on six plays and quarterback Mac Jones didn’t even complete a pass.
But the unit got some redemption on its third and final series of the game. The Patriots orchestrated a 10-play, 81-yard touchdown drive that included a 45-yard bomb down the sideline from Jones to Nelson Agholor and was capped off by a two-yard touchdown run from newcomer Ty Montgomery.
“Like I said, change is going to take some getting used to,” Meyers said, “but now that we’re getting those live reps as a first offense and guys are really getting in there, seeing what it’s like, seeing where they fit in, I feel like it’s definitely helping and smoothing out.”
There will certainly be worries about the Patriots offense until they prove they can function at a high level in the regular season, but at least one former member of the team thinks everything is going to work out.
NESN.com’s coverage of New England Patriots preseason is presented by Cross Insurance, protecting your team since 1954.