The Patriots have failed at catering their offense to quarterback Cam Newton.
To call the New England Patriots’ offense unimaginative and alarmingly predictable this season, especially in the red zone, would be a colossal understatement.
While we didn’t set lofty expectations for the group after watching Tom Brady struggle to overcome their talent deficiencies last year, we certainly expected better than this. And by “this,” we mean the Patriots ranking 24th in the NFL in total yards per game (332.9) and 25th in points per game (21.3) after everyone assured us that offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels paired with Cam Newton would be a cheat code.
If this doesn’t serve as a damning indictment on McDaniels, who was adamant during training camp about designing a system to accentuate quarterback Newton’s unique skillset, then nothing does.
McDaniels admirably defended Newton in light of his brutal performance vs the Rams on Thursday, but our tolerance level is wearing thin given the longtime coordinator’s apparent inability to make adjustments.
McDaniels regurgitating what he’s stressed all season about Newton should honestly fall on deaf ears among Patriots fans. Seriously, how many times is he going to call a QB draw on the goal line only to watch the three-time Pro Bowler get stuffed at the point of attack?
Newton is one of the greatest physical specimens to grace the NFL over the last decade, but not even he is capable of plowing through a handful of 300-pound defensive linemen, one of who is a perennial All-Pro in Aaron Donald.
With an elite rushing attack led by Newton and Damien Harris, the Patriots’ offense has virtually had zero problem moving the ball downfield. As soon as they step foot in the red zone, however, they’re rendered useless. For context, the unit ranks 27th in the league with a ghastly 52.29% efficiency in the red area.
You mean to tell us McDaniels is incapable of drawing up something more clever than asking Newton to barge through a cavalcade of defenders once the offense is knocking on the door? If that were the case, he wouldn’t have spent 12 seasons as Bill Belichick’s trusted offensive guru.
We have great respect for what McDaniels has accomplished over his Patriots tenure, but don’t let that distract you from the fact that he has failed (in flying colors) to deliver on his promise to implement a system catered to Newton.
We’ve heard time and again how it appears the Patriots have no faith in their quarterback’s ability to throw the ball. But repeatedly on Thursday, the unit’s best plays were Newton passes, to both N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers.
Newton’s arm isn’t what it used to be, but it’s not a zero. And nothing we’ve seen from McDaniels has presented any belief in his current signal caller, who was supposed to unlock his beloved old offense from the days of Tim Tebow.
Unfortunately, the Tebow similarities have been far greater than we’d hoped.