New England Patriots

Bill Belichick watches as Mac Jones and the Patriots warm up before a game. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Hopes should be much higher than they are for the 2023 New England Patriots offense.

The general feeling around the team entering the season is down, as it relates to their chances of contention in the AFC. As of Monday, they’re at only +105 to win more than seven games (hammer that bet). Though the Patriots seem to have a tough schedule and it’s unclear just what they have at quarterback in Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe, there’s reason to be optimistic the Pats will smash expectations now that they’ve been set so low.

There’s insight on how the offense is being run that should create more confidence.

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  • As detailed by Albert Breer in his latest column for SI, the Patriots’ offensive setup is back to something closer to what they had in Jones’ rookie year, when Josh McDaniels was still offensive coordinator. That is, new/returning OC Bill O’Brien is at the helm, while Belichick is stepping back and being more hands-off with that unit while working more with the defense and special teams.

    Frankly, those are Belichick’s real areas of expertise. Always were. So it made sense for the Patriots to hire an experienced offensive coordinator that would fit well with Jones and be able to handle the majority of responsibilities on offense.

    It sure looked like that was the way the Patriots are running things, based on our observations at OTAs last week. O’Brien and Mac Jones were practically joined at the hip as they worked together in both team drills and smaller side sessions. Belichick, meanwhile, oversaw the other two units and only watched the offense closely in team drills.

  • PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 19: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots talks to Mac Jones #10 against the Philadelphia Eagles in the first half of the preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on August 19, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Patriots defeated the Eagles 35-0. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

  • In addition to reporting on the Patriots’ coaching hierarchy on offense, Breer had an update on Belichick and Mac Jones’ relationship. The two reportedly never met specifically to hash out whatever problems they had stemming from a rocky (to put it kindly) 2022 season.

    From Breer:

    As for any lingering issues between Jones and Belichick, it was far harder to ascertain whether the needle’s moved much on that relationship at all. There was no come-to-Jesus meeting at the end of the last season on how everything came undone, and my understanding is Jones has spent his time with O’Brien, with Belichick mostly delegating all things offense to his new/old coordinator, in a siloed-off model that feels, to those there, much more like how things were when Josh McDaniels was around a couple of years ago.

    Maybe they didn’t need that and there’s no big issue anyway, to be fair. But it’s certainly notable that Belichick has been more hands-off with the offense, and also that Jones appears way in the lead to start at quarterback and Belichick has been more complimentary of him of late.

  • “I think Mac works hard every day,” Belichick said last week. “He puts in a lot of time both in the weight room, in the classroom, works hard on the field. His work ethic is really good, and hasn’t changed.”

    We’ll get another up-close look at the Patriots offense, and the rest of the team, at the second open practice of 2023 in Foxboro on Tuesday. We’ll have plenty of new updates for you later on Tuesday here at

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    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.

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