NFL expert rips Patriots’ offensive line following preseason finale

Patriots

“The Patriots better get some stuff together, offensively. I know it’s the preseason, but they look rough to watch.”

Mac Jones was sacked twice in four drives against the Raiders on Friday. AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

It’s no secret that the Patriots played poorly in their preseason finale against the Raiders on Friday.

New England played its offensive starters for the first four drives of the game, mustering up only three points while facing Las Vegas’ backups in what ended up in a 23-6 loss.

Friday’s game continued a worrying trend for the Patriots’ top offense, which allowed two sacks and a few pressures when Mac Jones was in the game. For much of camp and the preseason, the Patriots’ offensive line has failed to consistently win battles against opposing defensive lines, allowing Jones to be pressured a lot and unable to get the ground game established.

ESPN NFL analyst Dan Orlovsky noted that the Patriots ran a similar and simple pass design five times early in Friday’s game and failed to generate good plays out of it.

“The Patriots better get some stuff together, offensively. I know it’s the preseason, but they look rough to watch,” Orlovsky said. “They called the same pass concept five times in like the first 20 plays of the game. A go route up top with a drive at the bottom – it was relatively the same concept. This is basic stuff that they keep missing on. I talked last week that their offensive line played poorly. Their offensive line played worse this past game.”

One play, in particular, Orlovsky took issue with was when Jones was pressured by Raiders defensive back Amik Robertson, who hit Jones right as he launched a deep pass.

“No one even looks at the nickel blitzing,” Orlovsky said after breaking down the coverage assignments. “These are their starting offensive linemen. This is a good group that has played a lot of football. The quarterback takes a shot on a go route. He goes 1-2-3-4-5, hitch, ball out and he’s getting hit.

“Look at the back angle, no one even looks. Watch the back, nobody even peaks at him. If these guys peaked out there and I saw their eyes go out and their feet got tangled, it’d be different. But nobody even peaks. It’s a free runner.”

Jones finished Friday’s game completing 9-of-13 passes for 71 yards with an interception. Many of Jones’s completions on Friday came when he was working out of the shotgun, similar to what happened in the other game he and the Patriots’ offensive starting unit played.

Against the Panthers, Jones went 0-for-3 and was sacked as the Patriots went three-and-out on their first two drives. In the third drive, Jones threw all but one pass out of the shotgun, completing all four passes for 61 yards, leading the Patriots to a touchdown.

Orlovsky has not been shy in his criticism of the Patriots this offseason, especially with the changes on the offensive coaching staff. With the regular season just two weeks away, Orlovsky is calling on the Patriots’ offensive line to pick up their performance.

“That group is way too experienced and has played way too much football for that to be the case,” Orlovsky said. “Their offensive line has got to play better than it has this preseason.”

The Patriots begin the regular season on Sept. 11 against the Dolphins.

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