FOXBORO — It’s truthful for the Patriots guilty their dearth of play-action passes and surplus of deep photographs on the conditions they’ve discovered themselves in by means of three video games, however sport script doesn’t inform the entire story of why the staff has shied away from a possible energy and leaned right into a weak point early within the 2023 season.
Patriots quarterback Mac Jones at the moment leads the NFL in passing makes an attempt of 20 yards or extra, per PFF’s charting. He’s simply 3-of-18 on these deep targets for 53 yards with two touchdowns and ranks fifth in deep passing price, twentieth in deep passing completions and thirty first in deep passing yards.
It is true that falling behind in Weeks 1 and a pair of pressured Jones into making an attempt to create extra “chunk” performs. He was second amongst all NFL QBs by means of the primary two weeks of the season with 13 deep makes an attempt. But the Patriots led the Jets practically all sport in Week 3, and Jones nonetheless tossed 5 deep targets. He didn’t hit on a single one.
“I love chunk plays,” Jones mentioned Wednesday. “My whole career I’ve kind of thrived off those play action and normal chunk plays. So, just trying to keep doing them. You’ve got to keep the hook in the water I guess they say. So, you have to have the bait out there and continue to fish. I think we’ll hit them or we’re working on it. I’ve looked at other teams in the league and how they do it and kind of gotten a really good idea of, ‘how can I improve on it?’ How can we improve on it as a team?’ The offensive line is doing good protecting. So, we definitely need to hit them and definitely just looking forward to growing in that area.”
Tight finish Hunter Henry mentioned Wednesday that the staff completed their purpose of not turning the ball over in Sunday’s win over the Jets, their first of the season. But now they’re attempting to generate extra explosive performs.
The Patriots are final within the NFL in passing performs of 20-plus yards. They’re tied for eleventh with one passing play of 40-plus yards. That was a completion to tight finish Pharaoh Brown on Sunday, however the majority of the 58-yard play got here after the catch.
“We’re close,” Henry mentioned. “We’re close on a lot of different things. I think it’s just continuing to work at it. Picking the right moments to choose those explosive plays. All of us working together. We need all 11 on the offense to do the right thing and everybody to hold up or run the right route or be in the right spot Just continuing to work. It’s going to come. We’re close.”
It would assist if the Patriots had been using play-action extra. They really feel like they couldn’t within the first two weeks of the season as a result of they’d fallen behind early towards the Eagles and Dolphins within the two early-season losses.
Jones at the moment ranks thirtieth amongst certified QBs in play-action price (14.8%). He used play motion on simply 13.3 p.c of dropbacks by means of the primary two weeks of the season, which additionally ranked thirtieth. That price solely improved to twenty% (twenty first) in Week 3.
The Patriots QB believes that quantity will proceed to extend.
“I think the data’s skewed,” Jones mentioned. “I try not to look too much at it. But I do enjoy looking at data around the league. For us, it’s just skewed because of the first couple games. I think that’ll change with time you have to look at it with truthful eyes. You’ve got to look at the All-22 with truthful eyes. I think we definitely do that around here. It’s sometimes hard when you keep hearing that you want more play action, explosive plays, but when you look at the tape, there’s a lot of good things that we’re doing. We’re definitely going to improve.”
The Patriots used play motion on 26.8% of Jones’ dropbacks in 2021 and simply 16.7% in 2022. Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien deployed play motion on roughly 25% of Deshaun Watson’s dropbacks in 2018 and 2019 when he was head coach of the Texans.
History suggests Jones will carry out higher utilizing play motion. It additionally suggests O’Brien isn’t averse to utilizing it.
The hope is that extra chunk performs include the play faux.