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NFL Draft

Patriots Will Have Successful 2021 Season If…

  • The Draft Network
  • July 4, 2021
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“Success” has become a relative term.

For some, it arrives in waves. For others, it’s expected each calendar year. 

That couldn’t be more true in New England, where the source of their success was unchanged for nearly two decades. Now, a year removed from the departure of No. 12, the Patriots enter one of the most crucial seasons in Bill Belichick’s tenure if he eyes an elongated tenure in Foxboro as the AFC quickly strengthens around him.

A successful campaign in 2021 for the Patriots will require Belichick to hit the nail on the head when projecting his offensive efficiency, and in turn, ability to stay in games. With Cam Newton and Mac Jones expected to battle in camp for the Week 1 nod, new faces under center have accompanied a new era of football primed to set sail in New England.

Belichick’s spring cycle was one of unordinary proceedings, as the Patriots served as the league’s biggest spenders when free agency kicked off back in March. Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, Matt Judon, Jalen Mills… the names go on and on as new additions to offer immediate production for Belichick’s unit. 2020, as much as it was about Brady’s departure, allowed the Patriots to softly fall back to reality after a two-decade-long reign. And while things could have been much, much worse, we simply weren’t used to checking standings in the AFC East during holiday dinner to find New England below the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins.

It’s why the Patriots’ foundation for success single-handedly relies on the rapid development of the first-year signal-caller in Jones. The No. 15 overall selection in April, Jones entered the Patriots facility wide-eyed and off-kilter. He was inaccurate, lacked poise in the pocket, and well, didn’t look ready for the show in his first impression to local media. It raised headlines, as the scouting report on Jones following his illustrious career at Alabama praised his pin-point touch, anchored lower-half, and leadership ability while leading the Crimson Tide to a National Title in January. Granted, he is indeed a soon-to-be 23-year-old tasked with leading one of the more accomplished, veteran rosters in all of football, but it’s what comes with the territory of not just becoming a starter under center, but the starter in New England, where lack of production often leads to holding a clipboard. 

The history at receiver in Foxboro has never included the headliners of football. Rather, the Patriots have always gone to war with “their guys,” instead of heavy-walleted athletes in town for a paycheck. By no means will DeVonta Smith or Jerry Jeudy become visible in the foreground for Jones when he aligns under center for his first start (like they were at Alabama), but Belichick’s more than adequate job in addressing his pure lack of talent on the boundary this offseason presents a group of wideouts more than capable of producing above-average production for a Patriots offense that finished 27th in points per game (20.4) last fall. 

All in all, a successful campaign in New England is one of many potential paths. For Belichick, his desire to hoist the Lombardi Trophy each and every year has remained his expectation heading into each and every fall. It’s the way he’s wired, whether his roster is capable of achieving the goal or not. However, for Belichick’s sake, let’s come back to Earth as we prepare for the debut of Jones, and his potential lack of adaptation to the pro game.

An optimal campaign in Foxboro this fall should not stem around the Patriots’ season concluding in Los Angeles in February, rather, a playoff berth and an arm to build a roster around should be the focus for a team attempting to regain traction on the journey back to NFL glory.

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