The dysfunction of the 2022 Patriots team has been well documented and discussed ad nauseam, mainly pertaining to the impact of Matt Patricia's coaching.
As the offensive coordinator and the offensive line coach, the struggles with the offense were noticeable as early as OTAs and minicamp and worsened as the year progressed. Most of the blame has been put on his shoulders, deservedly so in most aspects, so when he wasn't re-signed earlier this year, there was a general sigh of relief throughout New England, especially from Mac Jones and the offense.
But apparently, the offensive roster aren't the only ones happy to see the departure of Patricia and the arrival of Bill O'Brien. Interestingly enough, defensive players are also speaking highly of the coaching changes for the 2023 season.
After finishing up the first practice of training camp on Wednesday, Kyle Dugger was asked about the changes and apparent shift in attitude from the offense because of it.
"I was really happy to see it. You love to see things that are going to make the team better and make you as a defender better. You love to see stuff like that, so it just made me excited for the season.
They definitely have a lot of things they can get to. They can make it look a lot of different ways. It only makes us better, and makes them better as well, and challenges us. I’m definitely happy to see it."
It's interesting to hear insight from a player who didn't have to work directly with Patricia but was present throughout the struggling season. Dugger is likely not the only defensive player to have taken notice of the deteriorating offense last season, and his happiness for the coaching changes speaks volumes.
It's a significant indicator of how truly broken the offense was, from communication and trust to play calling and execution, and how vastly different this year has already looked because of the strides that have taken place.
Now with training camp well underway, watching how things unfold under new leadership in O'Brien and how well he and Jones work together will be fascinating.
Plus, the addition of former Patriot now offensive line coach Adrian Klemm will also be near the top of the list of things to watch, as the protection of the quarterback continued to be an issue throughout last season as well.