Report reveals massive level of dysfunction in Patriots' 2022 offense originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
How dysfunctional was the New England Patriots' offense in 2022?
... How much time do you have?
Fans saw the on-field results of Bill Belichick's decision to install Matt Patricia as the team's offensive play-caller and Joe Judge as the quarterbacks coach despite neither having previous experience in those roles. The Patriots ranked 26th in total yards and had the NFL's least efficient red zone offense, while Mac Jones regressed from a Pro Bowler under Josh McDaniels to one of the league's worst starting quarterbacks by several metrics.
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But what fans saw was just the tip of the iceberg, it appears. The Boston Herald's Andrew Callahan and Karen Guregian published a thorough, scathing report Thursday detailing some severe behind-the-scenes turbulence that began last summer and continued throughout the season.
The report is worth a full read, but here are a few eye-opening quotes and details:
Per Callahan and Kuregian, members of the organization "sensed Belichick's offensive staff suffered from the same lack of cohesion players would display on Sundays."
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"I’ve never seen anything like it," one source told the Herald.
"It was disheveled,” another Herald source added. "They were always scrambling to get things done."
"I love coach (Belichick), but he f---ed us," another source told the Herald.
Those are some shocking quotes considering the level of stability the Patriots enjoyed for the better part of two decades. But according to Callahan and Guregian, Patricia and Judge simply weren't equipped to teach an offense that the team tried to strip down and simplify following McDaniels' exit.
"A lot of guys would ask, ‘Well, what’s going to happen if (the defense) does this?’ And you would see they hadn’t really accounted for that yet," a source told the Herald. "And they’d say, ‘We’ll get to that when we get to that.’ That type of attitude got us in trouble."
The team reportedly had issues with Judge in particular: A source told Callahan and Guregian that Mac Jones "didn't like" Judge "at all," while another added that Judge would "speak extra loudly in meetings" to "project like he was the guy," which irked many in the locker room.
The players' frustration with Patricia, Judge and the offensive scheme occasionally surfaced publicly. Veteran wide receiver Kendrick Bourne -- whose role was limited early in the season -- called out the team's offensive scheme after a 24-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills, prompting a talking-to from his bosses. Another player described the team's offensive approach in that game as "timid" to our Phil Perry.
Based on Callahan and Guregian's reporting, there was plenty more frustration with the offense among players than what we heard publicly. That level of frustration may explain why the Patriots made an unprecedented announcement that they'd conduct an offensive coordinator search this offseason, and why they landed on an experienced offensive mind in Bill O'Brien.
Judging by what's in this report, O'Brien has his work cut out for him.