The 2023-2024 New England Patriots are in danger of having back-to-back losing seasons for the first time in 30 years.
The Patriots stayed competitive last season thanks to a solid defense that ranked eighth in the NFL. However, they were held back by below-average QB play and a lack of elite offensive weapons. Mac Jones regressed mightily in his second season, failing to throw for over 3,000 yards in 14 starts. He was even benched for backup QB Bailey Zappe.
Jakobi Meyers led a weak receiver room with only 804 yards while new addition Devante Parker was underwhelming in his first season with the team. On the bright side, Rhamondre Stevenson emerged as a three-down back and looked like one offensive piece they can build around. The end result was an inconsistent 8-9 season, one game out of playoff contention.
For the first time in many years, questions have arisen about Bill Belichick’s decision-making as a GM. Signing Matt Patricia to be the offensive coordinator was an odd choice given his limited play-calling experience, and it resulted in him leaving New England for a defensive job. The recent signings of Devante Parker, Nelson Agholor, and Jonnu Smith have all been failures that stifled Mac Jones’ development.
Despite all this, the team came so close to another playoff appearance thanks to his coaching ability. So, did Belichick add enough this offseason for the 2023-2024 Patriots to get over the hump?
WR Juju Smith Schuster
Schuster figures to be the top wideout on the team after the departure of Jakobi Meyers. But he isn’t exactly the elite option Patriots fans were hoping for, like DeAndre Hopkins. Regardless, this could be Juju’s greatest opportunity yet to return to his 2018 form where he put up over 1,400 receiving yards.
TE Mike Gesicki
Mike Gesicki continues the cycle of players that rotate from Miami to New England. He will work in tandem with Hunter Henry just like Jonnu Smith did, but Gesicki may be used heavily as a receiver.
RT Riley Reiff
The 34-year-old right tackle will be Mac Jones’ new blindside protector. Reiff put together a solid season in Detroit appearing in 16 games and starting in 10.
Offensive Coordinator Bill O’Brien
Bill O’Brien is back as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach like he was in 2011. For the last few years, O’Brien held the same positions for Nick Saban at Alabama where he coached Mac Jones. The reunion should be positive for Mac’s development and a sure-fire upgrade over Matt Patricia.
- CB Christian Gonzalez (1st Round, No. 17, Oregon)
- EDGE Keion White (Round 2, No. 46, Georgia Tech)
- S Marte Mapu (Round 3, No. 76, Sacramento State)
- G Jake Andrews (Round 4, No. 107, Troy)
- K Chad Ryland (Round 4, No. 112, Maryland)
- OL Sidy Sow (Round 4, No. 117, Eastern Michigan)
- OL Atonio Mafi (Round 5, No. 144, UCLA)
- WR Kayshon Boutte (Round 5, No. 187, LSU)
- P Bryce Baringer (Round 6, No. 192, Michigan State)
- WR Demario Douglas (Round 6, No. 210, Liberty)
- CB Ameer Speed (Round 6, No. 214, Michigan State)
- CB Isaiah Bolden (Round 7, No. 245, Jackson State)
WR Jakobi Meyers
Meyers signed with the Las Vegas Raiders in free agency after a productive career with New England. He was the top receiver on the Patriots for the last three seasons, although that’s not saying much. Meyers never amassed a 1,000-yard season with the Patriots and it made sense to let him go after his rookie deal. Nevertheless, it leaves a big void in the receiver room and it will be interesting to see who takes over next.
TE Jonnu Smith
Jonnu Smith was shipped to Atlanta for a seventh-round pick after a very disappointing stint in New England. Smith signed a four-year, $50 million deal in 2021 but could never establish himself as a consistent receiver and was overshadowed by Hunter Henry.
WR Nelson Agholor
After two below-average seasons with the Patriots, Agholor signed with the Ravens in free agency. He never managed to put it all together after showing some promise with the Eagles and Raiders.
RB Damien Harris
Harris left New England to sign a one-year deal with the division-rival Bills. Rhamondre Stevenson took over as the top back last season, limiting Harris to only 106 carries.
Projected Depth Chart
QB: Mac Jones, Bailey Zappe, Trace McSorley
RB: Rhamondre Stevenson, Pierre Strong Jr., Kevin Harris, Ty Montgomery
WR: DeVante Parker, Tyquan Thornton, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kayshon Boutte, Kendrick Bourne
TE: Hunter Henry, Mike Gesicki, Matt Sokol, Johnny Lumpkin
LT: Trent Brown, Calvin Anderson
LG: Cole Strange, Sidy Sow
C: David Andrews, Jake Andrews
RG: Mike Onwenu, Atonio Mafi, Chasen Hines
RT: Riley Reiff, Conor McDermott, Yodney Cajuste
DE: Deatrich Wise Jr., Keion White
DT: Christian Barmore, Davon Godchaux, Lawrence Guy Sr., Carl Davis, Daniel Ekuale
EDGE: Matthew Judon, Josh Uche, Ronnie Perkins, Anfernee Jennings
LB: Ja’Whaun Bentley, Jahlani Tavai, Mack Wilson Sr., Raekwon McMillan, Marte Mapu
CB: Christian Gonzalez, Marcus Jones, Jonathan Jones, Jack Jones, Myles Bryant
S: Jalen Mills, Adrian Phillips, Kyle Dugger, Jabrill Peppers
K: Chad Ryland
P: Bryce Baringer
2023-2024 Patriots Outlook
Overall, the 2023-2024 Patriots look too much like last year’s team for me to put any belief in them this season. The rest of the AFC East got much better while the additions New England made in free agency leave little to be excited about. I believe the Patriots are entering a rough patch in the Bill Belichick era post-Tom Brady and have them projected to finish last in the division with a 7-10 record.
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