Mike Gesicki will help solve Patriots’ Red Zone woes

Mike Gesicki spent the first five years of his career with the Miami Dolphins before signing with New England this spring. During his time in Miami, Gesicki emerged as one of the better pass-catching tight ends in the NFL. His best season, 2021, was a 73 catch, 780-yard outburst in which he scored twice. He averaged double digit yards per reception each of the last four seasons and became a reliable target in the red zone.

The Patriots red zone struggles were immense in 2022. Matt Patricia’s offense was dead last in the league in red zone touchdown percentage, a dismal 42.2%. This was one of several steps backward for the Patriots offense that ultimately led to the hiring of Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator this summer. With O’Brien alone, the offense will be more efficient and get better results in the red zone. But the Patriots still needed more pieces to prevent them from settling for field goals inside the 20. Enter Gesicki.

In 2022, Gesicki scored six total touchdowns, including playoffs. All six came inside the red zone, with five of them coming from inside the 10-yard line. At 6’6″ and 247 pounds, Gesicki presents a massive target in the red zone and moves like a slot wide receiver. This is difficult to cover anywhere on the field, but especially in the tight spaces of the red zone.

The two plays below illustrate how useful Gesicki can be in the red zone. Couple that with improved play calling from O’Brien and a reenergized Mac Jones and the Patriots have a recipe for significantly improving their red zone percentage.

On this touchdown against Baltimore, Gesicki does a great job of navigating the hole in coverage, finding a spot for the quarterback to deliver the ball and then goes up and gets it. The Patriots had virtually none of this in the red zone last year.

This clip gives a good example of Gesicki’s ability to make difficult catches near the goal line and shows off how he can use all of his frame to score.

There are many metrics to measure how successful an offense is, with points being the most important. Two crucial factors for offensive success, turnovers and red zone percentage, were failures for the Patriots in 2022. The revamped offense under O’Brien should do a better job taking care of the ball. Gesicki will help them solve many of their red zone issues.

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