FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - There seems to be a theme to some of the media coverage of the Patriots this Thursday, and it has to do with the offense. Specifically, why isn't it producing at its normally high output?
A Boston Herald scribe asks, "How did the Patriots' offense become one of the NFL's worst?"
"Since the season's midpoint," he begins to answer, "the Patriots offense, under Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback of all time, is averaging a paltry 17.6 points per game. Of course, the problem goes deeper than Brady."
A laundry list of potential factors, followed by brief explanations, follows.
NBC Sports Boston's website gets a bit more in-depth, looking directly at the red zone for answers to why the Patriots are struggling to score points.
"On this topic, everyone seems to agree. Running the football down close to the goal line is the most efficient way to do things," he explains in part. "Over their last five games, going back to their loss in Baltimore, the Patriots have passed 39 times in the red zone (most in the NFL) compared to 19 rush attempts. When they've been inside the 10-yard line, they've passed 15 times compared to eight rush attempts. Inside the five, they've passed 13 times compared to three rush attempts."
There's more to the analysis than that, of course, in this deep-dive article.
Could lack of rookie contributions be part of the overall issue for New England this season? A Boston Globe writer makes this point in a lengthy feature on the 2019 Patriots rookie class.
"The Patriots' draft class is warming the bench, playing in just 2.3 percent of the team's offensive and defensive snaps," the author asserts. "The only team that has played its rookies less is the Cowboys, and they didn't have a first-round pick… Of the 10 [Patriots 2019] picks, only third-round pick Chase Winovich (252 snaps, 19.4 percent) and fifth-round punter Jake Bailey are seeing the field regularly."