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MORSE: Patriots Team Player Analysis – Offense

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
6 seconds ago at 11:20 am ET
Posted Under: 2021 Patriots Season

MORSE: Patriots Team Player Analysis – OffenseTroy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

We have a mini-break in week 11 and I am filling the time with an analysis of the Offense.  During the bye week, I will do the same for the Defense.

QB

Mac Jones – Did anyone think that he would be as good as he has been so far this year?  I can’t believe how quickly he has absorbed the playbook and the nuances of playing the Quarterback position in the Pros.  Jones is in line to break Dak Prescott’s completion percentage rookie record of 69%.  Currently, Jones stands at 70.2% completion percentage, 245 of 349 passes for 2,540 yards, 14 TDs to 8 INT, and a 94.7 QB rating.  The Interception number is the only real negative.  At the beginning of the season, Jones was blitzed over 50% of the time.  Lately, the number of blitzes has been down around 35%.  The easy part of the season is over and they have 4 quality opponents (TEN at home, @BUF, BYE, @IND, and BUF at home) coming up in the next 5 weeks.  I would expect to see these teams blitz a lot more and put the pressure on Jones.

Brian Hoyer –  He has not been required to play and only came in for mop-up duty.  Against CLE he was 3 for 3 and a TD.  For the season he is 6 of 7 (85.7%) for 164 yards and a TD.

Jarrett Stidham – The Patriots have not given up on and have activated him from the Physically Unable to Play (PUP) list and he is occupying a roster spot.  He has been inactive since being added to the roster.

RB

James White – This is a strong position on the team.  Any team that can withstand the early season-ending injury of James White has to have a strong RB room.

Damien Harris – I expected Harris to have a big year and his 603 yards is proof of that.  He is averaging 4.2 yards per carry, and has scored 7 TDs.  He has also fumbled twice in 10 games.  He was hurt in one game with a concussion and missed the following game too.

Rhamondre Stevenson –  Has been a big surprise so far.  We thought he was going to be good after an impressive pre-season.  However, he ended up in Bill Belichick’s doghouse with fumbling issues early in the season.  Slowly he worked his way back into the lineup.  He has played in 7 games, some missed games were inactive healthy scratches by the coach and another was a concussion injury.  He has 305 yards and a 4.6 average.  Add 3 TDs rushing to those numbers.  The more impressive number is his 12 receptions on 14 targets for 117 yards and 9.8 average.  He doesn’t have any TDs but does have a big fumble that put him in the doghouse.  That fumble happened early in the opening game versus Miami.  I like the way that both Harris and Stevenson run.  The 1st tackler never brings them down.  Stevenson has shown good vision and an ability to make defenders miss him.

Brandon Bolden –  Every year fans discount the contribution Bolden has made to the team and call for him to be cut.  They look at him as strictly a Special Teams Player.  He is special alright.  He has taken over the role that James White had as a third-down specialist.  His pass blocking and blitz pickup have been outstanding.  His 26 rushing attempts for 141 yards, the 5.4-yard average is impressive.  He filled in the lead running back role when both Harris and Stevenson were out with concussions.  Receiving he is 27 of 29 for 242 yards and a 9.0 average.  He has no TDs and one fumble.

JJ Taylor – has been a huge disappointment so far in limited action.  He has 19 rushing attempts for 37 yards for a paltry 1.9 average in 5 games played.  Receiving he is 4 for 4,  for only 8 yards.  He is not big enough to run between the tackles and has not shown a burst of speed to get around the ends.  Looking back at his pre-draft evaluation, he is the same speed as Bolden.

Jakob Johnson – has received tremendous accolades for his run blocking.  He has become a real force out there in the run game.  He has added the ability to make an occasional catch as well.  He has 4 catches on 4 targets for 34 yards and an 11.3 average.  Troy Aikman was singing his praises in the Thursday Night game stating that Belichick had said he was the most improved player he has ever coached outside of Stephen Neal.

 

WR

Kendrick Bourne – has emerged as the top receiver on the Patriots.  His 562 yards, 15.2 average, 37 receptions on 47 targets, 78.7% catch percentage are all the highest on the team.  He has found the endzone 3 times.

Jakobi Meyers  –  You would think that Meyers has been the most reliable receiver on the team, he has not.  He has 54 catches on 83 targets.  That’s 28 missed passes.  For a slot receiver without speed that’s a dangerous combination.  His 522 yards is 2nd on the team for a low 9.0 average.  Meyers was shut down by Stephon Gilmore in week 9.  Gilmore has done that to a lot better receivers than Meyers.      

Nelson Agholor – He has been the big-play receiver the Patriots were hoping for.  It has just taken some time to develop between Jones and the O Line giving Jones the time to pass downfield.   Agholor came into the team as having problems holding onto the ball.  He comes as advertised making 29 catches on 51 targets for 396 yards, 13.7 average, and 3 TDs.  Now that the chains have been taken off Jones, he is looking downfield more often.

N’Keal Harry – is slowly beginning to contribute with 8 catches on 10 targets and 117 yards and 14.6 yards per catch.  His biggest contribution has been his blocking. He is crushing people with his down blocking from the Split End position.

Gunner Olszewski – has contributed mainly on Special Teams as the Punt Returner.  His numbers as a punt returner have been the best in the league over the past two years.  He was knocked out of the game and he missed a game.  He has returned 10 punts for 242 yards and a 24.2 average according to ESPN.  Another source has him 2nd in the league to BAL Devin Duvernay.  Either way the 2020 AP All-Pro 1st team Punt Returner is having another good year.  One voter stated that Olszewskis punt returns had twice the value of any other players.

Kristian Wilkerson – has dressed for a few games but reverted right back to the Practice Squad without entering the scorebook.

TE

Hunter Henry – has lived up to his reputation as a top free-agent TE.  He had a stretch of 7 TDs in 7 games and has become the top red-zone target of Mac Jones.  He has 33 catches on 45 targets for 378 yards and an 11.5 average and 7 TDs.  His blocking has been better than advertised.

Jonnu Smith – Has been the biggest disappointment of the free agents signed by Belichick in the off-season spending spree.  I don’t know if it’s the pressure that goes along with making the big money, but Smith has just gotten off to a horrible start.  McDaniels seems to be forcing the ball to Smith to get him involved and boost his confidence.  He looks like a player that has lost his confidence.  He has 22 catches on 36 targets for 210 yards, 9.1 average, and a TD.  He has also run 4 times for 20 yards and a 5-yard average.  They are looking for new and creative ways to get Smith involved.

Devin Asiasi has only been active for one game and didn’t get into the scoresheet.

Matt LaCosse was activated from the Practice Squad for one game and returned after the game.

 

OL –  The O Line has come a long way since the start of the season.  In the second series of the year, Trent Brown went down.  They were dysfunctional to start the season.  Michael Onwenu was starting at Left Guard.  He has been replaced by Ted Karras. At one point 4/5ths of the starting line was missing.  A patchwork Oline saved the Houston game and they have been on a roll ever since.

Isaiah Wynn – He has been active for all but one game and that was the Houston game.  He has improved dramatically as the season has moved along.  He may have missed Joe Thuney, whom he leaned on for support.

Ted Karras  – He more than anyone on the line has become a steady, solidifying force.  He has played in 11 games and started 7.  He replaced Michael Onwenu at LG.

David Andrews – The captain of the O Line has been steady all year.  Rarely does he get beat?  He has started all but 1 game.

Shaq Mason – The undersized Right Guard is still a devastating run blocker that occasionally gets beat in pass blocking.  With the return of Trent Brown to Right Tackle, they make a road grading pair on that right side.

Trent Brown – We didn’t think he was ever coming back from the calf injury that sidelined him for 8 games.  Once he returned, the Patriots’ O line dismantled the number 3 defensive line of Cleveland.  He is so big he has his own Zip Code.

Michael Onwenu – He was playing out of position to start the season and it hurt the Patriots.  He is a right-side O Lineman that can’t switch to the left side.  When playing on the right side he is great.  When Trent Brown came back it was Onwenu that lost his job.  He is now playing as the third TE.  When he is in the game now on that right side with Mason and Brown, you can definitely say “Where is the beef”!

Justin Herron – He filled in for Wynn at Left Tackle and did a good job.  When he was asked to play Right Tackle he struggled.

Yodny Cajuste – can actually play and he did so very well at Left Tackle, but just not often enough.  He is a capable backup.

James Ferentz – he may have saved the season filing in at Guard.  He played in 3 games and started 2.  He was activated to the 53 man roster but was later released and re-signed to the Practice Squad.

Yasir Durant – The late pre-season acquisition from the KC Chiefs has been a major disappointment.  He is another player they have been playing out of position.  He has the size to play Tackle but just isn’t a Tackle.  He played Tackle badly for KC and he has for NE too, eventually being benched.  He has played in 6 games, starting one.


Posted Under: 2021 Patriots Season


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