BOSTON -- Patriots fans have had plenty to say about Matt Patricia's role as the team's de facto offensive play-caller. The majority of their statements aren't suitable for print.
That is to be expected with the New England offense stuck in the mud just about every time they take the field. But now, even opposing coaches are poking fun at the Patriots and their inability to do much of anything on offense.
That used to be a huge no-no. Giving the Patriots any bulletin board material usually spelled doom for the offending party. But Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph poked fun at Patricia and the New England offense on Thursday, and he was really just saying what's on the minds of anyone who has watched the Patriots try to score points this season.
"I see an offense that's running the ball well. It's a very conservative pass game. Lots of screens. All kinds of screens. It's like a defensive guy is calling offense," Joseph said with a chuckle and a shrug. "It's how a defensive guy would call offensive plays, right? Let's not turn the ball over. Let's get four yards a play and try to burn clock. That's what they're doing."
Joseph is expecting more of the same Monday night in the desert when the 6-6 Patriots visit the 4-8 Cardinals.
"That's what he's going to do on Monday night. He's going to be patient. Maybe take a shot here from time to time, but for the most part it's run game, it's quick game, and it's screens," he said. "So, I mean, it's a defensive guy. That's what he's doing. He's calling the way a defensive guy would call plays."
After a promising season last year with Josh McDaniels in charge, the Patriots' offense has fallen off a cliff in 2022, sitting 20th in the NFL in points per game and 24th in yards per contest. The blame is falling on Bill Belichick's and Patricia's shoulders, though a lot of folks saw this coming. The struggles have been expected since training camp when Patricia shifted to the offensive side, considering he had spent the majority of his career on the defensive side of the ball. He wasn't exactly the most ideal candidate to replace McDaniels and assume all of the responsibilities as an offensive play-caller.
The offense has gone nowhere with Patricia at the helm, and Mac Jones has regressed in his second NFL season. There is no creativity in the playbook, as Joseph alluded to in his comments.
Joseph did complement New England's offensive players, and made sure to call Jones a "very, very smart" quarterback. Like all of New England, Joseph has been waiting for the Patriots' offense to really break out. But aside from a really good first half in a Thanksgiving night loss to the Minnesota Vikings, the offense hasn't been able to put up any points on a consistent basis.
"You're kind of waiting for it explode, because they have so much talent on offense," Joseph added. "But it's been run, quick game and it's been more screens. Hopefully they don't change that much Monday for us."
It's not often you have an opposing coach poke fun at the Patriots just a few days away from a matchup. But those were the Patriots of old, and these Patriots are much, much different.
Asked about Joseph's comments during his Friday press conference at Gillette Stadium, Belichick offer up much of a response.
"Whatever he said, he said. You can ask him about it," responded Belichick.
That led to a follow-up asking if head coaches with defensive backgrounds favor more conservative approaches on offense. Belichick offered up a much longer answer to that inquiry.
"I can't think of any offensive coach that I have ever talked to that has been in favor of turning the ball over. So let's start with that," Belichick fired back. "Every coach who's involved with offense is always in favor of scoring points. So score points and don't turn the ball over, I mean, that's a good place to start. Then there's a lot of things that come after that. In the end, I doubt if you could tell me what the record of time of possession is this year in the league, right? Like, you wouldn't be able to tell me like, 'These teams had X time of possession, they won, they lost.' That's not really a ... Turnovers, points, those are the two at the top of the list."
We'll see if the Patriots offense has anything to say about Joseph's comments when it takes the field for Monday night's must-win tilt in Phoenix.
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