The Other McCain

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‘New System’? Off-Season Excitement Has New England Patriots Fans Wondering

Posted on | June 2, 2022 | Comments Off on ‘New System’? Off-Season Excitement Has New England Patriots Fans Wondering

Let’s face it, this has been a stressful off-season for fans of the New England Patriots (of which I became one after they drafted Mac Jones). First, there was the demoralizing blowout loss to Buffalo in the wild card playoff game, then the departure of several veterans via free agency and trades, followed by some perplexing choices in the NFL draft. Oh, and I almost forgot — longtime offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels left to take the head coaching job at Las Vegas, taking with him several assistants and front-office people. No matter how deep your trust in Coach Bill Belichick, these events might have shaken your faith.

So today I’m lying down for a nap and scrolling YouTube when I see a “Patriots Beat” video with my favorite guys Evan Lazar and Alex Barth, with the provocative title, “Are the Pats Switching to Shanahan-Style Offense?” The gist of it is, based on what they’ve seen in OTAs (Organized Team Activities, which are voluntary spring drills) and a remark by wide receive Kendrick Bourne that the offense is switching to a “new system,” Lazar deduces that the Patriots are adopting the offensive style pioneered by Kyle Shanahan, who has been head coach at San Francisco since 2017.


What’s funny about this video is that, while Lazar is usually the overthinking worrywart of this duo, and Barth is more laidback, in this case the roles are reversed, with Lazar obviously optimistic about the “new system” on offense, while Barth is the one deeply worried.

Doing some research (i.e., a quick Google search and watching a YouTube video) has me on the optimistic side. Look, if your offensive coordinator leaves, isn’t that as good a time as any to change your offensive scheme? Also, isn’t it possible that (a) the Patriots had become too predictable on offense and (b) this new Shanahan-style offense might be better suited to the type of personnel the Patriots have now? From what I’ve seen, based on a quick scan of this system, it might be ideal for a running back like Damien Harris, who’s very good at making cutback runs. The Shanahan scheme uses “zone blocking” in the running game with the specific goal of creating the kind of seams that a back like Harris can exploit.

In the passing game, the Shanahan scheme uses a lot of pre-snap motion and play action to mislead defenders, and I could see how this would appeal to Belichick’s idea of what the Patriots can accomplish with quarterback Mac Jones and their current corps of receivers.

On the other hand, as my brother Kirby says, we must consider the possibility that “Evan Lazar is full of s***” and maybe the Patriots aren’t switching to the Shanahan-style offense. Then again . . .

If Bourne says it’s a whole new system, what is it? We are now 101 days from New England’s season opener against the Dolphins. So in less than 15 weeks, we’ll find out what it means. Can’t wait . . .



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