Fifteen days. That’s all the time that’s left to fix what’s broken on the New England Patriots’ offense.

Throughout training camp, the preseason, joint practices and games, there’s been no improvement.

Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) is sacked by Raiders defensive end Malcolm Koonce (51) during Friday’s preseason game in Las Vegas. AP Photo/John Locher


Just continued frustration, with Friday night’s 23-6 preseason loss to the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium only providing more angst.

Patriots quarterback Mac Jones tossed his blue tablet after the third series produced another three-and-out.

He chucked his wristband containing the playcalls after the final series, when the Patriots had to settle for a field goal after Jones had to throw the ball away under pressure.


No, these aren’t the kind of scenes you want to see two weeks before the regular season starts.

What specifically needs to be fixed?

Basically, all of the features associated with the “new” parts of the offense. It’s been a horror show getting the offensive line to adapt to the stretch, outside zone runs.

After five weeks, there are still communication problems, and issues getting people blocked. The unit still hasn’t been able to make the necessary corrections with the Dolphins on tap for the opener Sept. 11.

Whether that’s because offensive line coach Matt Patricia has been dividing his duties between the line, and calling plays, or the fact he’s teaching something that’s not in his wheelhouse, it’s been a disaster.

The mistakes just keep repeating.


The three outside zone runs the Patriots utilized with the starting offense went for negative yardage (minus-2). And this couldn’t be blamed on having a rag-tag line.

While Jones didn’t have all of his starters against the Panthers, Trent Brown, Cole Strange, David Andrews, Michael Onwenu and Isaiah Wynn started and played the first four series. And struggled against second- and third-string players from the Raiders.

Panthers Patriots Football

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, left, speaks with line judge Daniel Gallagher (85) during a preseason against the Carolina Panthers earlier this month in Foxborough, Mass. AP file photo

“You just have to flush it, and move on,” Andrews said of the performance after the game, chalking up the offensive line issues to “fundamental execution.”

The play-action passing game?

Jones threw a pick on the lone drop back using a play-fake.

Pass protection?


Jones, who went 9-for-13 for 71 yards, was sacked twice, and hurried on almost every pass attempt during the four series the starters played against Raiders subs.

Jones just doesn’t seem to trust the offensive line. He’s not comfortable with what’s going on, and that’s disconcerting.

“We all wish we played better. At this point, we just have to evaluate the film so we can do better. We’re trying to get it all together,” Jones said after the game. “It’s going to happen … we’re going to go out there and execute better. That’s what it comes down to. Individually, I think we can all play better. Once that happens, collectively, it’ll look a lot better.”

The only time the offense got into any rhythm was when Jones operated from the shotgun, a staple of the old offense. They moved the ball well in the hurry-up with Jones in empty formations.

So maybe they should just put Jones in the shotgun and let it fly. Now there’s a thought.

As for the running game, the only times there was daylight were on man-blocked runs, including a crack toss that Rhamondre Stevenson took for 16 yards, along with runs that featured a pulling guard. Again, another feature of the old offense.


Surely, Bill Belichick has to be at the point where he either has to scrap the “new” offense, and stick with what works, or find better people to teach it to the offensive line.

At the very least, he needs to dump the stretch run. Why keep beating your head against the wall? After that, it’s imperative to get the protection fixed.

Having Jones out of sorts, pacing the sidelines after every series, and a bit skittish with the lack of protection, is not what you’re looking for with Miami on deck Week 1.

The Dolphins, a heavy blitz team, will come after him every play.

Said Jones: “Just not a good enough effort from us, from me. Obviously, I have to do a better job. It’s one game, one day. You can look at it and dwell on it, or learn from it and move on.”

Granted, it is the preseason. There’s plenty of experimenting going on. But it’s still worrisome at this stage. Making matters worse, they lost Ty Montgomery, who figured to take on the third-down back role, with an ankle injury.


It’s doubtful Belichick wanted to leave the offense in for four series, but he was trying to squeeze out something positive, after finishing with a good practice on Wednesday. It never happened.

“We gotta coach better, we gotta play better,” Belichick said, using a familiar refrain after a bad game. “I don’t think it’s any big mystery.”

Without the usual fourth preseason game, there’s an added week before the first game. So that’s a morsel of good news.

It’s just hard to escape the fact that the elements of the “new” offense haven’t looked good from jump. For whatever reason, it hasn’t clicked. The players haven’t adapted.

Will that narrative change in two weeks?

That’s what Belichick ultimately has to decide.

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