In the first two weeks of the NFL season, the New England Patriots walked away with two losses. Despite having making comeback attempts, in each case it was too little too late. There were several ways in which the Patriots could have been 2-0 instead of 0-2. If only a few plays had gone differently, it is possible New England would have been undefeated instead of winless two games into the 2023 season. But as many on the airwaves and on social media pointed out, there are no bonus points for moral victories or hypothetical wins.
Yesterday the Patriots got an actual win against the New York Jets though. So why weren’t more people pleased with the outcome? This question was posed on Twitter/X and the responses varied greatly.
Hey Patriots fans, I have an honest question…
What would make you happy? A lot of people that were unhappy after close losses said winning was all that matters. Today they won, yet a lot of people still seem unhappy.
So what will it take? #ForeverNE
— Dan Kelley (@DanKelley66) September 24, 2023
Some responses took a surprisingly logical look at New England’s win, like this one:
Well, the defense is what sealed our win. The offense needs to get better.
It is hard to dispute what Ray is saying, as there is clearly room for improvement on offense for New England. It is worth noting however, yesterday the Patriots offense passed for over 200 yards, rushed for over 150 yards, and had no turnovers. They did so in bad weather against a good defensive team. Throughout the entire NFL this season that has only been accomplished nine times.
Many answers involved some variation of being dissatisfied with the Patriots offense. Several found specific areas in which they’d have been happier with the win. For some it was QB Mac Jones.
When will we see Mac truly win a game?
For others it was the conservative play calling of offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien yesterday.
The play calling is still awful, that’s my issue.
But these comments seem to miss what Bill Belichick said this past week while discussing his benching of Demario Douglas: “nothing is more important than ball security.” After losing the turnover battle in each of their losses, the New England Patriots had no turnovers yesterday and won. Is that mere coincidence?
It can certainly be argued New England would have won by even more if they had not gotten so conservative with their play calling, especially in the second half. Hypothetical outcomes, however, are nearly always positive. In real life, a less conservative approach could have cost the Patriots a win.
A common counterpoint to celebrating this win was that it did nothing to indicate the Patriots would see more success in the future. The most noted reason why was a lack of offensive weapons.
I want a trade for (Jerry) Jeudy or Marquese (sic) Brown or someone fast. Just to get the negative Nancies to shut up about the lack of weapons.
Another responder wished the New England Patriots had already addressed their shortcoming at wide receiver in the NFL Draft.
Bill (Belichick) doesn’t draft WRs because he’s missed on so many. There were so many in this draft. Flowers, Addison, JSN are all top receiving options on the Pats. Even Tank Dell has exploded on the scene.
With the Broncos’ Jeudy and Cardinals’ Brown likely not playing for a playoff berth in 2023, they are certainly names to keep an eye on as trade targets. If other teams around the league fall out of contention, there is a possibility a slew of wideouts become available. However, in the short-term, it is more likely the Patriots attempt to get more production from their own receiver room.
Tyquan Thornton is due to return soon, and rookies Demario Douglas and Kayshon Boutte remain intriguing prospects. Will any of these three be able to make a notable contribution in 2023 though? It seems the patience of many in Patriots Nation (fans and media alike) doesn’t extend beyond the present.
As for the going the NFL Draft route, New England did select both Douglas and Boutte in this past draft, albeit late. If New England was going to grab any of the top rookies mentioned, they would have had to pass on Christian Gonzalez in the first round. Given Gonzalez’s excellent play and the Patriots current cornerback depth issues, that scenario seems even worse.
Not everyone watching the New England Patriots was unhappy at least. Chris Mercurio states he was satisfied, at least for the moment.
I’m happy cause they won. To me, winning is all that matters. Now put it in the rear view and we’re on to Dallas.
But perhaps nobody answered this question more accurately or succinctly than Kevin McCarthy, who replied:
The vocal critics are never satisfied.
While nobody can argue that the New England Patriots season would be quickly lost relying on moral victories alone, it was puzzling that an actual victory didn’t bring more gratification. Maybe a few more wins, perhaps in dominant fashion, will help turn that around. Or maybe Kevin McCarthy is correct, and a segment of the population will never be satisfied.