The Patriots continue to adjust to life after Josh McDaniels, with an offense featuring changes that go far beyond McDaniels being gone.
Over the weekend, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com addressed the transformation on the offensive side of the ball.
As Reiss notes, multiple players (including quarterback Mac Jones and receiver Kendrick Bourne) have referred to the team as having a “new offense.” Last week, center David Andrews addressed the full offense after a shaky practice.
Andrews’ efforts continued during the preseason opener. “He’s a five-time team captain,” coach Bill Belichick told reporters after the game. “I wouldn’t say that’s a big surprise.”
It is a bit of a surprise that the Patriots have decided to engage in an apparent overhaul of the offense.
“When you’re doing some new things, there’s going to be some growing pains,” quarterback Brian Hoyer said last week.
Reiss explains that the changes are in part about making things easier, about trimming the fat from a system that had grown over 20 years.
Also, the team is simplifying terminology. But even if the play calls are shorter, the players still need to learn a new language.
Ultimately, the offense won’t be dramatically different. As Hoyer said, “There’s [still] elements of what we’ve always done here.”
There may be elements that linger, but the changes really are fundamental. McDaniels is gone, and someone as to replace his skills and abilities. The two biggest names that have emerged so far are guys who have never coordinated an offense — former Lions coach Matt Patricia (a former defensive coordinator) and former Giants coach Joe Judge (a former special-teams coordinator).
Again, if any other head coach were doing this, everyone would be questioning his sanity. Because it’s Belichick, he gets the benefit of the doubt. We’ll see if folks are still feeling that way once the regular season gets going — especially if the new offense doesn’t.