Grading the Patriots’ offense heading into the 2022 season

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 18: David Andrews #60 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 18: David Andrews #60 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots are heading into the 2022 season with a good, but not great roster. What letter grade could we give each offensive group? In the loaded AFC, New England might not crack the top 10 in most power rankings, but the team is sporting a solid roster with minimal holes.

They have a promising second year quarterback in Mac Jones, a plethora of effective weapons on offense, and what appears to be another stout defense.  It remains to be seen if the team can overcome what is likely going to be some inconsistent playcalling.

Nestled in the AFC East, the Patriots will likely have two easier games on their schedule against the New York Jets, but it remains to be seen if their talent can compete with the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins in 2022.

So, what kind of letter grades can we give each position group on the team heading into 2022?

Grading each position group on the 2022 Patriots

Quarterback: B-

I think the Patriots get a B- for their quarterback room right now.  I like Brian Hoyer as the backup, and Bailey Zappe as the third QB is also just fine.  Mac Jones’ rookie season was excellent, and I think we’ll be talking about him more highly at the end of the season, but I think with what we know now, they get a sliiiiiightly above average grade.

Jones is going to need to show his stuff and turn into a legitimate passer since he does not have some of the desired physical tools that other quarterbacks in the NFL have.

Running back: B+

I think the Patriots’ running back tandem of Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson has a chance to be insanely special in year two.  Stevenson has shown a ton of improvement as a receiving back, and Harris’ career arc thus far would propel him to a 1,000 yard campaign on the ground.

Look for the two to get a majority of the carries during the season.  Damien Harris had 15 rushing touchdowns in 2021, and if the team cannot get their passing game going, I’d look to Harris to lead the way from there.

Tight End: B

The Patriots have a really nice tight end room of Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, two freakishly athletic specimens at the position.  It was clear that Hunter Henry was the favorite of the two for Mac Jones in 2021, but Jonnu Smith has proven to be an effective redzone target in prior seasons, so I’m hoping he can channel some of what he brought when he was with the Tennessee Titans.

I’d also think we could see an improvement from this unit overall considering both Henry and Smith are in year two of being in the Patriots offense.  This is an above average unit in the NFL.

Wide receiver: B

I am a huge fan of the depth that the Patriots have at this position.  I would also say that this unit is a low-floor type, meaning I don’t think we’d ever see them bottom out.  From top to bottom, the receivers all have proven to be effective pass catchers in the NFL, and I think if one or even two had to miss some time, the other healthy ones could carry the load.

The return of Tyquan Thornton at some point during the season is also a very encouraging thing for this unit as well.

Offensive line: A-

The Patriots have had a very good offensive line for years now, and I really don’t see that changing in 2022, even if the unit seems to have struggled a bit.  They’ve got four solid linemen projected to start, while some teams might barely have three.

Trent Brown has adjusted nicely to left tackle, and David Andrews and Mike Onwenu are two very good interior players.  If Isaiah Wynn isn’t traded and sticks at right tackle, I think he’ll end up being just fine, but it’s also nice that several of these players can play multiple positions along the line, something that is becoming more and more common in the NFL.

Overall, the Patriots have a nice offense on paper.  If they can get the playcalling right, they’ll be just fine.  I think this unit is a low ceiling/low floor unit right now.  If Mac Jones can take that year two leap that many of us are hoping for, the offense will again be one of the better units in the NFL.