The challenge during training camp for regular practice observers is managing expectations.
Everyone wants to see the Patriots offense firing at all cylinders right out of the gate, and when it doesn't, there's an urge to rush to judgment.
After two days in full pads, Mac Jones and company are still a work in progress as the streamlined system takes shape.
Although they're still searching for consistency, we are seeing baby steps of progress and flashes for New England's playmakers.
For example, wide receiver Nelson Agholor had a solid second practice in pads with two notable catches during 11-on-11s or full team periods on Tuesday.
The second-year Patriot blew past cornerback Justin Bethel and caught a 40-plus yard deep pass down the right sideline from Jones. Then, Agholor capped off a successful session by catching a slant in the back of the end zone, where Jones threaded the needle over two defenders with undrafted rookie LaBryan Ray applying pressure in the pocket.
But the key from the quarterback's point of view as the Patriots work through an evolving system is improving communication and problem solving the issues they're having up front.
"We have a lot of room to grow here. I think our offensive line is doing a good job. We just have to get on the same page," Jones said after Tuesday's practice. "A lot of it is talking through it and finding ways to attack better. But we have great coaches that will get us there."
The Patriots defense has controlled the line of scrimmage through two padded practices. You have to tip your cap to the defense for some of that. Lawrence Guy, Davon Godchaux, and Henry Anderson have contributed to building a consistent wall. Second-year pass-rusher Christian Barmore is a constant disruptor, and linebackers Ja'Whaun Bentley, Raekwon McMillan, and Mack Wilson are plugging holes and running through gaps.
However, there are also instances where it doesn't seem like the offensive line is picking up rushers on the line of scrimmage. For instance, Henry Anderson and Ja'Whaun Bentley came in unblocked off the left side with the line sliding right at the snap, leading to a batted pass at the line by Anderson and a scramble for Jones when it looked like Bentley would've had a sack.
To that point, Jones spoke about the communication that goes on during offensive meetings to ensure everyone sees the pass rush through the same set of eyes.
"That's the biggest thing, getting the plays on the screen and watching them," Jones said. "Alright, here's the problem. This guy is unblocked. How do we block them? It takes reps, and it takes watching film."
When you transition to more of a zone-based running game, it takes practice, repetition, and time to find a rhythm with a scheme that is truly a dance. You need offensive lineman coming off combination blocks to the second level to be in sync with running backs making their cuts.
In the passing game, running play-action with more bootleg-actions is a different look for the quarterbacks. But receivers such as Agholor today, or DeVante Parker throughout camp make plays when the operation is clean in front of Jones and rookie Bailey Zappe.
Before we hit the panic button, let's put everything in proper context, and this isn't to sugarcoat what has been an inconsistent start to camp for the offense. When you install a new scheme, there will be growing pains, and the idea is to stay the course and see how things look down the road. If the offense is still this disjointed in October, then you revisit things.
For now, the name of the game for the Patriots offense is patience and progress as they work through things early in training camp.