Besides all the criticism surrounding Bill Belichick and Mac Jones this season, the other problematic part of the team that has led to their losing record is the offense overall. From insufficient quarterback play and the absence of game-changing weapons to uninspiring play calling and an overwhelming number of turnovers, there's not a whole lot going right for the Patriots in 2023.
There was a lot of optimism that this season would far exceed the countless issues offensively from last year under the watchful eye of Matt Patricia, whose inexperience seemed to be the common denominator for most of the problems. However, despite hiring Bill O'Brien to take over as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, they remain two of the most inefficient parts of the offense.
Some of it can be attributed to Bill Belichick's lack of prioritizing to improve the offense and loading the team up with more talent. But it's O'Brien's play calling that is now under a microscope, especially after the latest rankings were published.
A new list ranking the offensive play callers after Week 15 was shared on Twitter/X earlier this week, and there was one significant takeaway for the Patriots: O'Brien's play calling is only one spot above the struggling Falcons.
There is quite a gap between 31st and last place, which could be considered a consolation prize if you're New England. However, it shows that perhaps Patricia wasn't the entire reason for the offense's struggles in 2022.
It's another reminder that roster building is critical, and trying to put a band-aid on a gaping hole on the team will never work for long, if at all.
Belichick and Co. showed they weren't keen on addressing that side of the team in the offseason by letting productive receiver Jakobi Meyers sign with the Raiders and attempting to replace him with JuJu Smith-Schuster, signing a questionable tight end in Mike Gesicki and not addressing the offense in the draft until double-dipping at receiver in the sixth round.
No matter who the general manager and head coach are next season, the offense will need to be the focus, especially when the Patriots are projected to be in the top 5 of available cap space. On top of that, examining if O'Brien is the right guy for the job in 2024 should also be at the top of the list, even more so if they decide to use their first-round draft pick on a new quarterback.
They have no time to waste by continuing to experiment with coaching staff and players, by either hoping they work out or choosing not to spend the money required to make them a competitive team again. They need to do what needs to be done now or remain in the lower tier of the NFL for more years to come.