The Patriots’ offense has particularly struggled early in games, scoring zero first-quarter points through two contests while falling behind 16-0 and 10-0. When the Patriots have been in catchup mode, with Mac Jones playing faster, New England has found more traction.
“The start of the games, we’ve moved the ball and something’s happened, whether it was a pick-six or a sack like what happened the past weekend,” O’Brien said. “I do think we have the right idea when it comes to opening these games, but again, we have to be able to string the plays along so that we can come down and get points and not stall around midfield. So we’re working hard to figure that out and hopefully that’ll improve. It has to improve.”
Beyond the slow starts, the Patriots’ blocking has crippled the offense. The run game is essentially wasting plays at this point, and Jones rarely has time for downfield routes to work. In Week 2 against Miami, the Patriots didn’t have a pass play of more than 14 yards. Those sorts of restrictions make life difficult for any offense.
There have been glimpses of positives from the offense, but if you hold a blink, you might miss it. To dig out of a 0-2 hole, O’Brien’s crew needs better execution early and more consistency overall.
Bouncing back in Week 3 against a menacing Jets defense boasting a defensive line that could wreck New England’s plans is a massive test as Bill Belichick tries to avoid his first 0-3 start since 2000, his first season with the Patriots.