The New England Patriots have wrapped up Week 3 after a much-needed win over the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Here are seven final thoughts on the game, as we turn the page to the next one…
Old vs. Young
Despite gutting out a win against a tough defense in horrible weather, and connecting for one big play, the Patriots offense needs to score a lot more than 15 points if they want to compete with better teams than the Jets. Which, based on New York’s quarterback situation, might be every team remaining on their schedule.
If Bill Belichick is serious about his offense moving the ball and scoring points more than it has, then he needs to reconsider his wide receiver depth chart.
Belichick is, unsurprisingly, leaning on his veterans to carry the load at receiver. DeVante Parker (55 snaps), JuJu Smith-Schuster (53), and Kendrick Bourne (40) continued to play substantially more than dynamic rookie Demario Douglas (17), who has looked like their most explosive skill player in his frustratingly limited playing time.
Parker and Smith-Schuster are the peculiar ones. They combined to make just three catches on 24 yards in a combined 108 snaps, while Douglas had two touches for 20 yards in 17 snaps. Smith-Schuster also committed an illegal blindside block that torpedoed a third-quarter drive before it even started.
Belichick lamented the team’s continued lack of offensive production after the game, but one could argue that it’s partially his doing. There seems to be a possible solution to the problem … play Douglas more.
Ball security remains of paramount importance to Belichick and the Patriots, to be sure. So he probably doesn’t trust Douglas to protect the ball as much as he does his veterans. But wide receiver is a position where talent should trump experience much of the time. It’s at the point that the Patriots need to take the good with the bad, put up with the occasional rookie moment, and let Douglas make some plays. They desperately need playmaking.