Although the general conversation surrounding the Patriots hasn’t always been the kindest throughout the years, even when they were impressively dominating the league, you would be pretty hard-pressed to find any optimism from those in the media regarding New England’s season ahead.
There are a lot of narratives floating around about the current state of the Patriots, even several fans and media members questioning the future of Bill Belichick, but most have all come to the same conclusion; the former leader of the AFC East is on the complete opposite side of the spectrum now.
That may be the consensus right now unless you talk to former NFL quarterback and current host on SiriusXM NFL Radio Jim Miller.
During a recent episode of Tom Curran’s Patriots Talk Podcast, Miller shared his unpopular opinion about the Patriots’ future, explaining why he feels they have a shot at regaining possession of their division as soon as next season.
"“I think they’ve got the ability to have a rebound season. I just think they need a lot more offensive accountability, and that’s why they went in the direction they did with Bill O’Brien. Bill O’Brien will have a big impact on that offense for the Patriots, and I don’t just say that lightly.”"
He further discussed Bill O’Brien’s coaching history, recalling the success he had as the head coach of the Houston Texans from 2014 to 2020.
He also noted his recent position as the offensive coordinator at the University of Alabama, working with Belichick’s friend and Mac Jones’ college coach Nick Saban.
"“But then he goes on to Alabama and has a lot of success there as a play caller as well. He’s very tapped into the college game. He’ll put new wrinkles into the offense. And he’s got familiarity with Mac Jones.”"
Miller also dove into what the Patriots have done thus far in free agency, a highly criticized part of their offseason so far as well. Despite the players they lost to other teams, Miller feels the talent they’ve brought in will be integrated into the offense well, mainly due to O’Brien’s influence.
"“And I don’t think — when you look at the the losses of the Patriots this year on offense they lose Damien Harris but they get James Robinson. I think they could always draft another running back. And I like the signing of (Mike) Gesicki, and I think the offensive line will be just fine. They’ll just have a lot more offensive accountability to really play complementary football.…I like the signing of JuJu Smith-Schuster. I think he’s going to help them as I think Gesicki will because I think Bill O’Brien’s going to know how to utilize those players, and we’ll see if they end up adding another receiver here in free agency.”"
He did make sure to address the current landscape of the AFC East, especially since most of those invested in what the Patriots have been doing disagree with virtually everything he said.
However, he added that although the other teams in the division have gotten better, the Patriots have as well, so don’t count them out just yet.
"“I do think overall the division got better, but I think the Patriots have gotten better. And now with the offense, with somebody like Bill O’Brien and the accountability, the efficiency he’ll bring on offense. I think the Patriots will be in every game, and they’ll have the opportunity to to stretch it out to 11 or 12 wins.”"
Is he overly optimistic? Possibly. But it doesn’t hurt to decide the Patriots are not DOA in March.