The New England Patriots are far behind the team that won six Super Bowl titles during the Tom Brady era.
The 2023 season will be the fourth year without the legendary quarterback, and while head coach Bill Belichick is still a formidable leader, he will need to see his offense improve significantly if the Patriots are to return to the playoffs. and will likely challenge the Buffalo Bills for the AFC East title.
Indeed, many NFL observers rank the Patriots behind the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets – now with Aaron Rodgers – in the AFC East.
However, the standard has been set in New England and the Patriots still have one of the best defenses in the league. Expect Belichick to ensure that the defense continues to set the standard and perhaps show improvement compared to the unit that ranked eighth in the NFL last season, giving up 322.0 yards per game.
It could be a relatively demanding training camp for Belichick and the Patriots. No, there won’t be a return to the twice-a-day practice of previous generations – it’s no longer allowed in the NFL – but the Patriots will have to refine their roster and make sure it’s an improvement over last year.
New England finished the season with an 8–9 record and the third place team in the AFC East. The offense was largely atrocious as it averaged 314.6 yards per game, ranking 26th in the league.
Teaming up with some of the backups on the roster will be difficult, and in this piece we take a look at 3 players who are likely to be ruled out before the start of the season.
quarterback trace mcsorley
The Patriots saw enough to sign McSorley during the offseason last year. He was able to line up for the Arizona Cardinals in six games the year before, and he even started one game.
The former Penn State quarterback completed 45 of 83 passes for 412 yards, but his touchdown to interception ratio doesn’t indicate he’s the right guy to line up at quarterback — even on the third team. Even in role. McSorley did not throw a touchdown pass last year and was intercepted five times.
Mac Jones is the number. 1 quarterback in New England, and his season last year was inconsistent. However, the Patriots made a major change to their coaching staff, as they got rid of Matt Patricia and named Bill O’Brien as their offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. This should allow the Patriots to run offensive operations more smoothly.
Belly Zappe appears to be a solid no. 2 quarterback, but the belief is that the Patriots will likely get the no. 3 quarterbacks due to roster cuts from opposing teams.
It seems unlikely that McSorley will inspire confidence and allow Belichick and O’Brien to conclude that he can get the job done if forced into action.
wide receiver malik cunningham
The Patriots will not be able to complete their roster additions at this point, as wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is still available and New England is considered a potential landing spot. If Hopkins were to sign with the Patriots, he would provide a tremendous upgrade to their WR crew.
This will also make it very difficult for Malik Cunningham to make the team. He signed with the Patriots as a rookie free agent, and that means he’s somewhat of a visionary for a spot on the team. However, if they sign Hopkins, that impossibility will become downright impossible.
Cunningham was the quarterback during his college career at Louisville, but is listed as a wideout. patriots depth chart, He attended New England’s minicamp as a receiver, but he is clearly raw at the position.
Although he is a talented athlete, the best he can hope for is to make the practice squad.
Security Joshua Bledsoe
Bledsoe made it to the Patriots last year as a sixth-round draft choice out of Missouri, and it was a feat. However, Bledsoe only played in 3 games last year, and was credited with one tackle – and that was an assist.
This is not a track record to be forgotten and the Patriots will demand much more from him this summer. If he doesn’t make a strong impact in the early part of training camp, it will be difficult for him to beat Jalen Mills or Cody Davis in the secondary.
Bledsoe, 6-0, 200 pounds, doesn’t appear to be a playmaker. He had one interception and one sack during his college career, and there’s no reason to think he’ll help the Patriots improve.