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Patriots’ first-string offense gets off to sluggish start vs. Panthers

Mike Florio and Chris Simms discuss Bill Belichick's approach to calling plays for the New England Patriots offense and whether he can coach Matt Patricia and Joe Judge up to Josh McDaniels' level.

Throughout training camp, questions have been raised about how the Patriots’ offense will run without longtime offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who is now head coach of the Raiders. The Patriots’ first two offensive possessions tonight against the Panthers showed why those questions have yet to be answered satisfactorily.

The Patriots’ offense started the game with two three-and-outs, and more plays that made observers wonder just what kind of unit this offense is going to be.

Damien Harris ran for six yards on the Patriots’ first offensive play, but after that good run on first down, Mac Jones threw behind receiver DeVante Parker on second down, and Parker dropped the ball as he reached back to catch it. Jones was sacked on third down.

On the next drive the Patriots again ran on first down, with Rhamondre Stevenson gaining three yards, then had an incompletion on second down when Jones threw too high for Jakobi Meyers, and another incompletion on third down when Jones couldn’t connect with Stevenson.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has refused to name an offensive coordinator or say who is calling the plays, but former Lions head coach Matt Patricia and former Giants head coach Joe Judge appear to be the primary coaches running the offense. Neither has ever been an offensive play caller before, and until the Patriots’ first-string offense has some sustained success, those questions about this new Patriots offense will continue.