The New England Patriots are a very interesting team heading into the 2023 season. Let’s dive a bit deeper into this squad. Last year, we saw a defensive coordinator in Matt Patricia running the Patriots’ offense. It failed, as you may expect. Mac Jones, a promising second-year player, fell flat on his face in 2022.
What made that interesting is that Bailey Zappe, a rookie in 2022, looked a bit better in the offense than Jones did. Now, in 2023, big changes were made. Head coach Bill Belichick brought in Bill O’Brien to run the offense and also signed two players who made have huge roles in the offense in Mike Gesicki and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
The Patriots do look like an improved squad from 2022, but will it be enough? Let’s look at three burning questions for the team in 2023.
3 burning questions for the New England Patriots in 2023
Is Bill O’Brien the answer at OC to fix the offense?
Josh McDaniels leaving to become the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders seemed to be a huge deal. Bill Belichick, for some reason, put a defensive coach in Matt Patricia and a special teams coach in Joe Judge in charge of the offense. He quickly changed that for 2023.
Bill O’Brien is a former NFL head coach, college football head coach, and NFL offensive coordinator. As a head coach, he was pretty darn good and he has worked with young quarterbacks before. I do like the hire a lot, but there is still a lot of unknown.
Can BOB do enough with a limited supply of playmakers on offense for the New England Patriots? Will his offensive mind be enough?
Will Mac Jones bounce back?
This kind of goes hand in hand with the first question, but I think Bill O’Brien is way more established in his role than Mac Jones is in his. Jones had a disastrous 2022 season, and even sought out help from outside the organization, which apparently upset Belichick.
The relationship between those two is not great, and I do think that the leash on Mac Jones is a bit shorter because of that. However, he can shut the door on any questions by playing well and building on his very promising 2021 rookie season.
He’s an accurate passer and very intelligent. He seems to have the intangibles to be a franchise QB, and he’ll need to hone in on those, because he’s very limited physically.
Is this Bill Belichick’s last year in New England?
The New England Patriots could have a new head coach and general manager in 2023 if the team misses the playoffs. Robert Kraft doesn’t seem to be fully bought in on the direction the Pats are going, and I think we all can agree that this team is not a Super Bowl contender.
Belichick is getting quite old and has made some puzzling decisions in recent years. He’s also not been that impressive when draft seasons rolls around. Tom Brady seemed to have a bit more to do with the New England Patriots’ success than BB did.
I do think that if the Patriots again win eight games in 2023 like they did in 2022, Belichick will be out of a job in New England.