It's probably unsurprising to anyone familiar with how the Patriots 2023 season unfolded that a handful of players added to the lack of fun due to their disappointing performances. Unfortunately, many of them were expected to be a crucial part of the team's success or were near the top of the list to have a breakout year.
Because the team seemed in flux for most of the year, there was little room for many of them to be productive. However, a few led the team with their lackluster performances, hence why a list like this can be put together.
In one of the least shocking developments of the season, as his initial signing garnered an adverse reaction, JuJu Smith-Schuster could not become the player he was once believed to be. He was brought in as a replacement for Jakobi Meyers, who had consistently contributed to the offense and earned his way to being the WR1 for Mac Jones.
But Smith-Schuster proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he is not near the talent of the former Patriots receiver.
The season began on an odd foot, with Smith-Schuster having a bit of an up-and-down preseason due to a lingering knee injury suffered earlier in the year when he was still with the Chiefs. Unfortunately, it set up a pessimistic feeling among the fans and did not improve much throughout the 2023 season.
Through 11 games, he recorded 29 receptions for 260 yards and a touchdown, which is less than exciting. But to his credit, the offense was an absolute disaster regardless of who was under center, so the lack of production isn't entirely his fault.
However, because of Kendrick Bourne's season-ending injury, Smith-Schuster had an opportunity to step up and fill the void he left in Week 8. He attempted to do so, totaling 14 of his 29 receptions and 181 of his 260 yards on the season in that time.
Unfortunately, his concerning knee issues forced the team to end his year by placing him on injured reserve, thus completing a disappointing first year in New England.