The New England Patriots 2022 season opens up in a few days against the Dolphins. In what was perhaps one of the craziest offseasons in NFL history, the Patriots somehow made a ton of noise, but none at all.
Their roster moves didn’t make many headlines, but their situation with the playcalling has been front page for some time now. The new-ish look offense with second year quarterback Mac Jones is set to take the field on Sunday against the Dolphins, and their first game in this new era likely won’t be easy.
The Dolphins have had a respectable defense for a couple years now, and they added to it a bit this offseason. Conversely, they poured a ton of resources into their offense in what is a massive year for Tua Tagovailoa. If Tua can’t put it together in this offense, the Dolphins are likely going in a different direction.
In a battle of young quarterbacks, a fresh head coach, and the best head coach in NFL history, here are a few keys to the game for the New England Patriots.
Patriots keys to the game for week one
Try to work through the early season inconsistencies on offense
What is likely expected is the early season mishaps from the Patriots’ offense. Their defense is likely to pick up from where they left off in 2021, which was one of the best units in football. The offense, while having nearly identical starters from 2021, does have a new playcalling system in place.
The offense hasn’t been great for the Patriots this offseason, and it’ll likely spill into the regular season. However, good teams are able to overcome inconsistencies on both sides of the ball. If the Patriots do get off on the wrong foot, I’d hope to see the team make some adjustments by halftime, at least, and the Patriots have excelled at just that for years.
I do think that the offense can avoid not being at their best, considering the Dolphins have an entirely new coaching staff and a plethora of new players on offense, so they likely won’t have to put up 30 points to win. I do think they need to dust off the inconsistencies as early in the game as possible.
Make sure the pass rush gets to Tua Tagovailoa
The New England Patriots’ pass rush needs to get to Tua Tagovailoa. While Tua hasn’t proven himself to be much of a threat yet, the Dolphins have some of the most dangerous weapons in all of football.
Both Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are very talented wide receivers with exceptional speed. Natrually, Dolphins’ head coach Mike McDaniel will be calling quite a few plays that call for both Hill and Waddle to outrun the Patriots’ defense.
Being that the Patriots no longer have a legitimate CB1, it’s imperative for the pass rush to get home, and often. Matt Judon on the outside, and the duo of Davon Godchaux and Christian Barmore on the inside is one that needs to generate enough rush to force Tagovailoa to make quick decisions and to limit the amount of times he could take deep shots.
Get as many weapons as possible involved on offense
One of the few bright spots of the Patriots’ offense in 2022 is the amount of solid players they have at the skill positions. I think it’s a near objective truth that all of Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith, DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers, and Nelson Agholor are all, at least, “solid” players in the NFL.
None of them are high-end playmakers like Tyreek Hill, but all have respectable talent and the ability to breakout. It would be in the benefit of the team to get as many of these solid playmakers involved as possible. Having eight potential playmakers on offense is an insane number, and it’s up to Mac Jones and the offensive playcallers to get them involved.
The Dolphins’ defense is talented on all three levels, so the Patriots offense will have to be at close to their best if they want to win. They can be at their best by getting their receivers, tight ends, and running backs involved as much as possible.