The New England Patriots’ biggest problem didn’t take long to show itself. And it wasn’t even in the first two weeks of the regular season. It was back in March.
Starting in free agency, continuing through the draft and camps, and culminating through Weeks 1-2, the Patriots have only kind of addressed the offensive tackle position in 2023, and that lack of urgency has quickly caught up to them. Injuries have certainly been a major factor across the O-line, but it’s a reasonable excuse on the interior, where they entered 2023 with three clear, legitimate starters.
It’s not an excuse at tackle. Because these guys were the whole plan, and the risk was obvious.
The news that the Patriots restructured Trent Brown’s contract only underlines the truth of this year. They decided to lean on Brown to be the anchor of the position, arguably of the entire line. He’s already missed one game in 2023 and was limited for a chunk of training camp, and yet the Pats still realized they needed to more heavily incentivize their most important offensive lineman in order to get the most out of him and solidify the group.
Brown did play all 17 games in 2022, but he’s never been the most consistent player in any facet. But in the case of the 2023 Patriots’ tackle room, the team needs to do all it can to keep him healthy, fully engaged, and playing his best football.
And Bill Belichick has no one to blame for this situation than himself. That’s especially true at right tackle, where the Patriots never found a consistent, strong option. And you can’t blame that on injuries. That guy was never even brought in the building.