After an up-and-down week of joint practices in the desert with the Raiders, the Patriots ended their preseason with a tough loss on Friday night in Las Vegas. New England would only tally two field goals in the game, losing 23-6 in what looked and felt like a complete shutout. When speaking to the media after the game, Bill Belichick didn’t shy away from sharing his disappointment about the team’s overall performance.
"“We didn’t have a real good night tonight in any phase of the game. That’s obvious. We might have left it on the practice field on Tuesday and Wednesday. We certainly practiced a lot better than we played out there tonight. Obviously, we’re going to need to clean up a lot of things here.”"
During their two days working with their future opponent, the Patriots’ struggles on offense continued throughout both practices. But the days always seemed to end on a positive note, with Mac Jones leading successful drives when performing the 2-minute drills.
Belichick had been complimentary in the days leading up to the game, expressing he was content with how competitive they had been in executing the plays. But with such a drastic change in production come game time, that feeling quickly changed.
"“Like I said, it’s disappointing because we did things a lot better in practice against the Raiders than we did tonight.”"
The coach would later discuss how every part of the team did not show consistency and mentioned too many mistakes were made throughout the night.
"“We didn’t play well in any phase of the game, didn’t play with any kind of consistency. We had a couple touchdowns called back, turned the ball over, didn’t play well on defense, didn’t play well in the kicking game. I’ve obviously got to do a better job. It starts with me. We’ll get back to work this week and work on the things we need to work on.”"
With two weeks left until the regular season begins, there is a long list of improvements needed for the team to be even remotely competitive, not only in their division but also in their conference. The AFC has gotten tougher this offseason, and with so many changes made to the Patriots this summer, it’s difficult to see how they could repeat or build upon their success from last year.
Because the offense has not appeared to grasp the new scheme yet, it will be intriguing to see if Belichick decides to scrap it altogether. If winning is still a top priority in New England, it may be time to consider making some big changes sooner rather than later.