After making a lot of big moves in the offseason, the Patriots seem to be in the winning mindset now. Bringing in players such as Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, Nelson Agholor, Jalen Mills and fan favorite Kyle Van Noy should help them become a very competitive team. Right before the season, the Patriots made the surprising decision to cut veteran quarterback Cam Newton––last year’s starter––in favor of rookie Mac Jones.
Jones did not play much during his time at Alabama, where he was a backup to two current NFL quarterbacks, Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts. When he finally got his chance to shine in the starting role, Jones made up for it by being the best quarterback in the nation, ending up as the fourth place finisher for the Heisman trophy.
In his first two games of the season for the Patriots, Jones has looked very solid for a rookie. While he has not been very flashy, he has been the most consistent rookie quarterback and he has not thrown a single interception. He has been exactly what the Patriots needed, a game manager. While he may never be Tom Brady, he can get the job done and he can help lead the New England Patriots back to the playoffs.
The Patriots’ running backs so far this season have been average. Damien Harris has been a solid number one, but we have not seen much out of James White or Rhamondre Stevenson yet. So we will see how good the depth actually is if they are called on.
Currently, the wide receivers and tight ends on the team have not been producing much, as James White is the leading receiver. Former first round draft pick N’Keal Harry has been injured, but he did not look very good in preseason. The free agents the Patriots brought in also have not produced, but this could also be due to the adjustment period of working with a rookie quarterback.
The offensive line is definitely going to be a work in progress for the Patriots. With Trent Brown out for a period of time, we could see them struggle against good defences like the Buccaneers in a few weeks.
The defense has continued their recent dominance by holding both the Dolphins and Jets to under 20 points in the first two weeks. Josh Uche leads the team in sacks with three while Ja’Whuan Bentley leads the team in tackles with 13. J.C. Jackson leads the team in interceptions with two. They will be tested in their next two games against the Saints and the Buccaneers, where Tom Brady will make his return to Gillette Stadium to face his former team.
Nick Folk so far has been one of the best kickers in the NFL this season. He has not missed a kick so far this year, and over the last few years he has had a career revival with the New England Patriots by becoming a very consistent kicker. Punter Jake Bailey has also played well.
So far this season, the Patriots have done admirably, but with talented opponents in the next few weeks, we will see just how good they really are.