Friday, September 23, 2022

Patriots accused of dooming disappointing WR

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The job of every NFL coach is to put their players in the best position to be successful. Some suspect that Bill Belichick and company have let down at least one player in this area.

Did the New England Patriots put WR DeVante Parker in the best situations to show his worth? Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald says no. Guregian is calling out the Patriots coaching staff — specifically Matt Patricia, de facto offensive coordinator — for not finding the right ways to use the weapon the team traded to get this offseason.

“Over the course of the first two games, he was on the field for most offensive snaps,” explains Guregian. “And produced next to nothing. He had just one catch for nine yards on four goals. Lil’ Jordan Humphrey has just as many catches. To make matters worse, two of Parker’s goals led to Jones’ interceptions. So something has to change. Parker needs to be more involved or ultimately reduce his number of snaps.”

Jones hardly seems to look in Parker’s direction during most passing plays, and when he does, he throws the ball to him only in 50-50 situations. Because the two men don’t have much chemistry and arm strength isn’t among Jones’ top qualities, those passes are a losing gamble for the Patriots.

“Play-caller Matt Patricia and the coaching collective that puts together the offensive game plan each week need to put Parker in a better position to be successful,” Guregian argued. “Forget the jump balls. Patricia needs to do better getting him open in the coming weeks, starting Sunday against the Ravens. That means he has to ride more fast slopes, in-cuts or short crossers. Just bring him the ball and see how it goes.”

The lack of route variety makes Parker a much easier cover, especially considering he’s a larger, more physical receiver who’s never made a name for himself by creating a lot of separation at the line of scrimmage. Parker is at his best, bullying himself into a position to put himself between his defender and the ball. Are these competitive catch situations? Yes, but there are other ways to use this ability.

“While it was easy to see over the summer how well contested he is when observers noted he was the type of receiver the Patriots wanted for N’Keal Harry, it’s Patricia’s duty to pick games that give him the ball with space to run,” continued Guregian. “Because right now the back shoulder throws, deep fades and 50-50 balls aren’t working. Part of that is Jones, part Parker, but it’s also play-calling. Breaking up on Go routes isn’t Parker’s forte. He couldn’t beat anyone on the field. So Patricia needs to see if he can free Parker with shorter paths across the middle. If the Patriots try that and Parker is left unproductive, trim his snaps and hand them to Bourne.

It’s possible that Parker is the latest failure in the Patriots’ line of relatively high-profile wide receiver acquisitions. However, Belichick and his assistants owe it to themselves, Parker and the Patriots fanbase to at least empower veteran WR to do what he does best.

Patriots fans will likely always have at least a slight interest in Harry’s career. When he was drafted in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, hopes were so high in New England. Things didn’t work out, and he was traded to the Chicago Bears for a seventh-round pick this offseason.

Unfortunately for Harry, he suffered an ankle injury during training camp. The injury required surgery and he was put on hold for eight weeks. That schedule started in early August, so Harry could be ready to debut for the Bears sometime in October.

Before Harry suffered the injury, most agreed that Chicago was a great landing spot for Harry since the team doesn’t have a No. 1 wide receiver. Harry could be in a good place to restart his career but he needs to get on the field first.

CBS Sports Radio’s Maggie and Perloff posted an interesting poll on Twitter Thursday night about Belichick.

If you could get Belichick to solve one of the biggest mysteries of his coaching career, what would it be? The nominees for the poll were “Fitting the Locker Room”, “Deflategate”, “Spygate” and “Malcolm Butler Banking?”.

I have a lot in common with many of the people who chose to take this survey. As of this writing, the Butler Bench Press in the Super Bowl won the poll by a landslide. I chose that too.

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