Heading into the 2022 season, I have 3 issues regarding the 2022 New England Patriots. The first is filling the departure of cornerback JC Jackson. Second, is the lack of experience in the linebacking group. Third, is the coaching staff. Will Matt Patricia eventually take over the reins of Offensive, Coordinator? One more concern I have is the development of Mac Jones. In this post, we will review three areas of concern for this year’s Patriots.
Inexperienced Linebacking Group
Outside of Matthew Judon and JaJuan Bentley, the Patriot’s linebacking group is relatively inexperienced. Third-Year man Josh Uche’s snaps have diminished since his rookie season. Second-year man Cameron Magrone has yet to play a down in the NFL. Dolphin castoff Raekwon McMillon is coming off ACL surgery. And Oklahoma product Ronnie Perkins is untested. Despite the question marks, the team needs to stop the run. Anything less is unacceptable.
This year, the Patriots are focusing on speed. Gone are the days of the so-called thumpers such as Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy. The key, this year is Matt Judon playing at full strength. In the first half, he was all over the field. But in the second half, his performance slipped a little as did the team.
Can The Coaching Staff Succeed ?
Losing offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was a significant story in 2021. The long- time assistant accepted a head coaching position with Las Vegas. The organization rehired Matt Patricia and Joe Judge.
As it stands now, Bill Belichick will assume the playcalling duties both offensively and defensively. An idea that I happen to like with a young talented quarterback in Mack Jones.
If the team can stay fairly healthy, I feel it will be a successful season. The Patriots need to play a full four quarters of football in order to have any chance of winning games.
Replacing JC Jackson
The biggest test will be finding a capable replacement for JC Jackson. On draft day Belichick selected two corners in Marcus Jones/Houston and jack Jones/Arizona State. Both had successful college careers. Marcus Jones can return kicks and is known for his strong coverage play. Jack Jones had some off-field issues but has great instincts.
Free agent signings Jabril Peppers and Malcolm Butler will compete for the starting role. Butler hasn’t played in over a year. Replacing Jackson will be the coaching staff’s biggest challenge.
2022 will be one of Bill Belichicks most important. How far will Mack Jones carry them? Can the new-look defense stop the run? Last year the Patriots were third in points allowed with 17.5. Tied for third in takeaways with 30 and tied for eighth in stopping third down conversions. Overall their defense ranked in the NFL’s top ten.
My biggest concern is keeping Mac Jones healthy. Number one pick Cole Strange is expected to start at left guard in 2022. Another issue is finding a capable replacement for Shaq Mason. Mason was dealt to Tampa Bay for a draft pick. I predict the team to go 11=6 in 2022 one game better than 2021.