The Patriots have seen a lot of changes to their offensive personnel since they beat the Rams in the Super Bowl.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski, wide receiver Chris Hogan and wide receiver/running back Cordarrelle Patterson are gone while the team has added receivers like N'Keal Harry, Demaryius Thomas and Jakobi Meyers to a group that also got Josh Gordon back. They also drafted running back Damien Harris and brought in a crop of new tight ends to fill the spot vacated by Gronkowski.
On top of that, injuries kept Julian Edelman and Thomas from practicing for much of the summer and the team also experimented with other wideouts who have already been cast aside. All of the moving parts leave offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels unable to go beyond generics when discussing the team’s offensive identity.
“We want to take care of the ball, play penalty-free, and make as few mistakes as we can make,” McDaniels said, via the Boston Herald. “That’s a generic answer, but that’s the reality of the situation at this point in time. You’re a few weeks away from the opener, and there’s still a lot of unknowns, still a lot of bridges you’ve got to cross, and a lot of reps you’ve got to take to get better and improve on. But to say exactly what we’re going to be, what [personnel] groupings we’re going to lean on, who’s going to play this many snaps, the roles everybody’s ironed out, I think it would probably be unfair for me to say that.”
That might be a cause for trepidation for some teams, but Tom Brady‘s still at quarterback and history has seen his supporting cast change a lot without much negative effect on the team’s results.