The Patriots have the personnel to make Van Pelt’s west coast offense work

Courtesy of the Akron Beacon Journal

New head coach Jerod Mayo wanted to take the Patriots in a different offensively when he was hired as the new Patriots coach in January. He wanted to get away from the Weis, McDaniels multiple offense that defined the organization’s offensive philosophy under Bill Belichick for the past 24 years.

Mayo hired former Pitt great, NFL quarterback and longtime assistant Alex Van Pelt as offensive coordinator. Mayo also hired former New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo as associate head coach of offense. McAdoo and Van Pelt worked together in Green Bay and have an extensive history together. Van Pelt also brought former Browns tight ends coach T.C McCartney with him to coach the quarterbacks.

The three men are charged with fixing a Patriots offense that has struggled mightily the past two seasons. Between inconsistent quarterback play, an offensive line that struggled and questionable coaching, the Patriots have been among the worst offenses in the league.

Van Pelt inherits much of the same skill group that has been on the roster the past two seasons but he is bringing in a west coast offense that is similar to what Mike McCarthy ran in Green Bay and Kevin Stefanski ran in Cleveland. 

It is a system that will fit the Patriots current personal well and it is a quarterback friendly offense which is important when it comes to the development of rookie quarterback Drake Maye. 

The Patriots will now emphasize the running game more, especially inside and outside zone. They will also run more play action and bootlegs which means more crossing routes and higher completion passes. 

Matt Patricia and Bill O’Brien did not move the pocket enough for Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe the past two seasons and that was a problem, especially when you consider the struggles of the offensive line. 

Besides moving the pocket more, Van Pelt will emphasize three step passes and there will be more of a focus on the intermediate passing game. The Patriots offense under Patricia and O’Brien went away from those concepts in recent years and forced the ball down field too much. Getting the ball out quick in the passing game will be a focal point now.

The diversity of the skill players will prove to be invaluable. Kendrick Bourne, Ja’Lynn Polk, Pop Douglas, Ju Ju Smith-Schuster and K.J Osborn will line up at the Z and in the slot while Polk, fellow rookie Javon Baker and Ty’Quan Thornton will be your primary X receivers. All of the receivers are versatile enough to line up anywhere in a formation. 

The tight end group of Hunter Henry, Austin Hooper, Mitchell Wilcox and Jaheim Bell is a versatile group that also offers scheme and alignment versatility which is important in the west coast offense. Henry in particular can line up in-line as the Y but also detach as well. He will be used a lot in motion in an effort to change the formation strength and to force the defense to adjust. 

The running backs will also play a pivotal part in the passing game. The west coast offense has always been running back friendly in the passing game. Expect both Stevenson and free agent addition Antonio Gibson to get a lot of touches as receivers out of the backfield and out of the slot as well. 

With camp opening in three weeks, we will get a close up look at what the new offense will look like now that a portion of it has been installed. If it is anything like what we have seen in Green Bay and Cleveland in recent years, the Patriots will be much better offensively in 2024. 

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