It’s no secret that the New England Patriots need upgrades this offseason. The 2022 season revealed multiple areas of need all across the roster. But there was one problem area in particular that stood out that greatly affected every part of the offense. One could make the argument that an upgrade at wide receiver is what is most needed to unlock an offense in need of more explosive playmakers. However without a quality and consistent offensive line, it makes no difference what supposed weapons the team chooses to bring in. In 2022, the Patriots offense line was inconsistent and was one of the main culprits of their poor offensive performance which is why it needs to be the main focus of the offseason.
At the end of the day, the offensive line’s priority is to protect the quarterback and to avoid giving up sacks. Unfortunately for the Patriots, Mac Jones has been sacked 62 times over his first two seasons including 34 in 2022 which was six more from his 2021 total despite appearing in three fewer games. Jones can’t possibly reach his full potential if he’s being thrown to the ground that often, and what we saw last season was that the offense often couldn’t recover from big sacks especially on early downs. Having improved line play should help keep Jones more upright and help the offense reach its maximum potential.
Making the offensive line a priority not only helps the skill position players on offense but it helps make an entire team that much more formidable. If you look at the highly successful teams from 2022, they all had tremendous offensive lines including the two teams that appeared in Super Bowl 57. This isn’t to say the Patriots are a great offensive line away from going back to the Super Bowl but it does illustrate that a great offensive line can seriously elevate a team. It is not necessarily the sexiest position to prioritize but an outstanding offensive line does make a huge difference in a team’s success.
There’s a difference between thinking a team needs to prioritize a certain position and the team actually prioritizing said position. The Patriots have wasted no time in addressing the offensive line by hiring former University of Oregon associate head coach, run game coordinator and offensive line coach Adrian Klemm. The team will also have plenty of options in free agency and the draft to hopefully upgrade both offensive tackle spots. They also recently re-signed Conor McDermott who started the final six games of 2022 at right tackle to presumably add depth. With a significant upgrade to the offensive line this offseason, the Patriots should see improvements everywhere on offense in 2023.