Eight takeaways from the Patriots’ Week 2 loss to the Dolphins | Brasarr

“(Joe) Judge, (Joe) Houston and Cam (Achord) came up with a really good plan for that block and saw a weak point in their field goal operation. We worked on it during the week and felt pretty confident that it was going to go into the game. Just had the right opportunity, counted my steps properly and just timed it well. As soon as the ball was snapped I felt myself and the momentum. I knew I was going to get there. I just wanted to to make sure I got a hand on the ball.”

“I had never seen that before. It was new to me and I think it was new to a lot of guys on the team. Like I said, we trusted our coaches and we’re going to go out there and compete,” Schooler said and broke down the piece for reporters.

After a disappointing year in 2022, the Patriots overhauled the kicking game by drafting two rookie specialists and moving Judge back into a special teams role. While it wasn’t enough to win this week, the early returns have been positive for the revamped operation.

2. The Patriots Offense continues to be at a talent disadvantage at the Playmaker positions

At some point, the Patriots must determine the main reasons for their offensive struggles since the second half of quarterback Mac Jones’ rookie campaign.

They are now on their third coordinator with Jones under center. While we can all agree that last year’s offensive setup wasn’t the answer, offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien is looking for consistent execution from this group, just like the last two OCs before him.

The Patriots enter almost every game at a disadvantage when it comes to roster talent on the offensive side of the ball, and that couldn’t be more evident Sunday night. Tagovailoa is a really good quarterback, let’s not get this twisted. Still, the reality is Tua took the field this week with at least two receivers better than any Mac is throwing to these days, and the same could be said for Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts last week.

Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are quarterback-proof playmakers who can generate explosive plays to make the quarterback’s job easier. For example, Waddle’s first explosive was a 28-yard screen pass on a throw behind the line of scrimmage, and when the deep safety attention went to Hill, Waddle got the ball on a 32-yard completion in single coverage.

New England’s offense, on the other hand, still has to grind out every yard and point it puts on the scoreboard, even with O’Brien designing the offense. Chunk wins don’t come easy for this group like they do for Miami, and it shows. I’m not here to tell you that the Pats quarterback would be an MVP candidate with a better supporting cast, but very few young signal callers in that conversation are working with less.

3. Patriots expose three deep safeties in check-off vs. the dolphins

As we mentioned from the top, the Patriots game plan defensively was to play a three-deep safety structure designed to hide coverage to give the offense pause and keep the top on the defense to force the Dolphins to play strings together instead of hitting on a few big winners. Obviously, with a quick-strike offense like Miami’s, it makes sense to force them to run the ball down the field instead of giving up points in one or two chunks.

From the Dolphins’ perspective, many of Miami’s offensive players actually spoke after the game about how unique the Patriots’ defensive strategy was, saying they had never seen it before.

“It seemed like they wanted to put an umbrella over our two fast guys. And as the game went on, they started to get back to what they would normally run. But I think they do a great job of adjusting in the game. And , you know, that’s really a big, big thing I would say for any Bill Belichick defense,” Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa said.

The Patriots continued a three-game streak against these Dolphins in which they played zone coverage on 71 percent of Miami’s snaps, reducing their typical man coverage rate to limit explosive plays against challenging receivers to cover in man-to-man schemes. The Pats mixed single-high safety coverages (16) and split-safety schemes (13) at a fairly even clip, rotating the three-safety dial to double-robber and Tampa-2 schemes.

While not perfect, the defense held the explosive Dolphins offense to 24 points, with just seven points in the second half, giving the Patriots a chance to make the game interesting. Unfortunately, things didn’t go their way once again.

4. Without starting LT Trent Brown, Patriots Offensive Line Woes Continue

After a rocky summer filled with injuries and uncertainty, it’s no surprise to anyone at training camp daily that the offensive line play has been uneven. While it was an admirable performance against a great defensive front, the film told a less favorable story about the offensive line play against Philly. Under the circumstances, it wasn’t a total disaster, but it was far from good when you review the tape from Week 1.

This week, the Dolphins began to pick up the quarterback pressure in the second half, with the Patriots in obvious passing situations as they tried to mount a comeback. Jones was pressured on 14 of his 46 drop backs, or 30.4%, according to NextGen Stats, and was sacked four times. Obviously, you have to throw when you’re down, so dropping back 104 times over the first two weeks will invite pressure, with defenses pinning their ears back.

The pressure, not as concerning, was an assignment-based mistake by second-year LG Cole Strange, who appeared to block the Dolphins’ first sack instead of picking up the second-level blitzer, and sacks allowed by backup LT Vederian Lowe , and backup guard Atonio Mafi. Those mental mistakes will happen when the guys haven’t practiced much together in O’Brien and O-Line coach Adrian Klemm’s system. They’ll get it fixed, with Brown hopefully back next week at left tackle, and Onwenu should be able to go wire-to-wire again soon.

However, right tackle continues to be a problem spot with current starter Calvin Anderson struggling with his footwork and punch timing to block speed off the edge. Dolphins edge rusher Andrew Van Ginkel logged a sack and six quarterback pressures against Anderson, who doesn’t get enough depth on his slides to protect his edge, leading to a short corner that Van Ginkel ran around several times Sunday night.

With the team overly reluctant to kick right guard Michael Onwenu outside, Anderson, who deserves some cap space as he works his way back from a serious illness that limited him all summer, is their best option at right tackle. This is what they have on the roster right now, opening them up to criticism for not spending more resources on OT in the offseason.

If the current right tackle situation doesn’t improve, the Patriots should aggressively pursue free-agent tackle La’el Collins, who the Bengals recently released.

5. Besides getting the O-Line rolling, how can the Patriots get the Run-Game Going going?

While getting the O-Line in order would help, that’s not the only reason the Patriots have produced just 164 rushing yards on 47 attempts through two weeks (3.5 average).

The only criticism of O’Brien in the first two contests is that the running game can have design flaws. New England has dropped the fullback for the second year in a row to be a one-back running scheme out of either standard 11 personnel or two tight end sets (12), which aren’t really true “12” if Gesicki is in the game. . Between lead-back Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott, only seven of their 20 halfback runs came from under center. Long story short: The Patriots are trying to run from spread formations using RPOs with power backs better suited to running from under center (which is why I held out hope for Pierre Strong before the trade).

Along with mostly calling spread runs, Mac had just three pass attempts from under center this week, with a 10.9 percent play rate Sunday night. From this perspective, the Pats haven’t given themselves a chance to effectively run the ball because they don’t lean enough on under-center run/play-action sequences to get it going.

Because of their offensive personnel, the Pats also don’t have the ability to go “big” with the running back out of regular formations anymore, which was their way of getting the offense back on track after a rocky stretch under McDaniels. Yes, playing out of the back presents another problem, but Stevenson is arguably the Patriots’ best offensive player, while play-action is probably their most effective way of passing the ball — it’s up to O’Brien to find a way to scheme that better on land.

6. Patriots QB Mac Jones flashes high-level play in loss to Miami

After last week’s better performance in the box score, my film review was still pretty critical of Jones, who made too many unforced errors in the game against the Eagles for my liking.

We’ll reserve judgment until we see the tape, but Jones made some impressive plays on the fly and while under pressure. According to NextGen, Jones was 7-of-10 for 58 yards and a touchdown while under pressure, with a 117.9 passer rating and an outstanding completion percentage of +22.4. Mac also completed 4-of-6 throws for 36 yards and a score when “on the run” moving outside the pocket, which he usually doesn’t do well.

For example, Jones made a terrific throw while staring down the barrel to DeVante Parker, throwing with excellent anticipation from a muddy pocket to hit Parker on a break route on third down. We’ve talked so much about Mac having to throw from a solid base to have zip on the ball, but he used timing and enough speed to get it in there.

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