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Do Your Job, Week 5: How Much Worse Can It Get?

It's now two straight blowout losses for the Patriots. Many are wondering if this is rock bottom. PIC: David Silverman, New England Patriots

This article is part of the "Do Your Job" series, entitled 'Mac's Big Moment' for the 2023-24 edition. Previous entries can be found here.

The title of this year's series of 'Do Your Job' is Mac's Big Moment, a nod to the fact that this year is simply make-or-break for the Patriots' third-year quarterback. All eyes this year were on the crossroads the Pats would face: is Mac Jones the future of the franchise, or would they move on?

If the season ended today, nearly every Patriots fan and pundit would universally agree on one thing: it's the latter. Mac Jones has shown signs of goodness this year, but it's been a proverbial hell in Foxboro this year.

Let the finger-pointing commence. Mac is one offender. Bill Belichick - on-brand, of course - refuses to adapt to the times or outwardly profess any accountability. Bill O'Brien's hire to the offensive coordinator role provided a glimmer of hope, but it fizzled quickly. After all, this Patriots team has now been outscored 72-3 over their last two contests.

The matter of fact, though, is that it's not on any individual one of them. Bill Belichick hasn't become a worse coach in a matter of weeks, or even over a few months. Mac Jones didn't necessarily take a major regression. And Bill O'Brien didn't suddenly forget how to call plays. It's not all their fault.

We dive into some of the abysmal findings from Week 5's loss at the hands of the New Orleans Saints in Foxboro.

Offensive line has been suspect, at best

Over the offseason, the thought was that New England would have a fairly decent - if not above-average - offensive line unit. Adrian Klemm, who had the same role at Oregon, was brought in to be the Patriots' offensive line coach this offseason. They signed veteran tackles in Calvin Anderson and Riley Reiff. They drafted three offensive linemen. They were expecting to get a dominant second-year guard in Cole Strange, a fully "back-to-normal" David Andrews at center, and elite play from up-and-coming utility lineman Mike Onwenu. So far, none of that has happened. Too many horrid plays like this have plagued the Pats so far this year.

It should be noted that the Pats went from a legitimate, respectable O-line to essentially bottom of the barrel. This statistic simply proves how ineffective they've been this year; they're certainly not doing any favors for Mac Jones on the pass-blocking front.

We are now sure that the offense did not get any better - in fact, it may have gotten worse

A big point of discussion this offseason was around how the offensive unit stacked up compared to 2022-23's group. After losing Damien Harris and Jakobi Meyers, the Pats needed to make some changes. Many yearned for elite offensive weapons, but none were really found by way of free agency, so the Pats settled by adding Juju Smith-Schuster, Mike Gesicki, and Zeke Elliott. While many thought that was an upgrade over last year's receiving core and RB room, it's been a dismal failure so far.

JuJu Smith-Schuster - 14 receptions, 86 yards, 0 TD's - average 2.8 receptions, 17.2 yards per game

Mike Gesicki - 12 receptions, 116 yards, 0 TD's - average 2.4 receptions, 23.2 receiving yards per game

Ezekiel Elliott - 159 rush yards, 0 TD's - average 31.4 yards per game

DeVante Parker (WR1?) - 12 receptions, 129 yards, 0 TD's - average 2.4 receptions, 25.8 receiving yards per game

Rhamondre Stevenson - 188 rush yards, 12 receptions, 87 receiving yards, 1 total TD (average 55 total YPG)

You call this an improvement? Not me.

Will the bell toll for Bill?

Boston sports fans will have a perfectly rational reaction to the past few weeks, right?

Of course they will. Felger & Mazz callers: never change.

The fact is, at the head of this entire failure of a season is one Bill Belichick. He's now 26-29 without the prodigal son over the last four years. "We can do this without Tom Brady," he said. But in Foxboro, the sentiment truly isn't shared. I'm not here to suggest who should right the ship in New England next, but can't we all agree that it's time for BB to step aside and give way to the next great leader at Gillette Stadium? It's clear he will choose to not adapt to the new ways of winning football - for what reason, I'm not exactly sure - but the bell may be tolling for BB sooner than he thinks.


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