It has been a challenging last few seasons for the New England Patriots. After years of being perennial Super Bowl contenders, the team has been in a state of transition since Tom Brady’s departure in March of 2020. Last season, the Patriots went through one of their most frustrating seasons in a long time and left many wondering where the team was headed. This offseason will likely be the most critical in recent memory and could dictate where the team is indeed headed. However, even with the question marks all over this group, there are reasons to be optimistic for the 2023 season.
Offensive coaching changes
For the Patriots to be successful in 2023, it starts and ends with Mac Jones being a consistent performer. As we saw at times last season, Jones struggled with getting into a rhythm and had some ugly games. With the hiring of Bill O’Brien, a highly experienced offensive coordinator, it should allow Jones to be more comfortable in the offense. O’Brien should be able to implement a system that gets the most out of the quarterback and key skill position players. Also the hiring of Adrian Klemm should be a boost to the offensive line that struggled at times to protect the quarterback. Key personnel changes will certainly help the offense as well but the changes to the coaching staff will certainly be a reason to be excited to watch this team next season.
Continued young player development
The Patriots saw plenty of young players come up big last season even ones that weren’t expected to see any playing time. The 2022 rookie class was especially impactful as nearly all of them saw the field and contributed in some way. The previous two rookie classes have also been impressive as a few have established a consistent role with the team. The 2023 season will be worth watching to see how these players continue to develop into important pieces and leaders. With key team leaders getting older, the Patriots are likely to be looking at some of these players to step into larger leadership positions and some already have.
Return of Matthew Slater
Speaking of leadership, the Patriots will certainly get a huge boost with the return of Matthew Slater. The three-time Super Bowl champion recently announced his return for a 16th season and should continue to be an outstanding special teamer. Having his leadership around for another season will be important for a team that could potentially see some significant changes in the offseason. Slater has also been incredibly durable over the last few seasons, not missing a game since the 2017 season which shows his dedication to the team. Watching him play throughout his career has been an absolute privilege and Patriots fans should consider themselves extremely lucky to see him suit up for another year.