Any regrets on offensive construction? Bill Belichick says Patriots built ‘very competitively'


FOXBORO -- Thirteen points. It was enough to win the Patriots a Super Bowl 11 months ago. It got them bounced in the Wild Card round on Saturday night.

Was there enough done to address his offense between Lombardi No. 6 and the start of the 2019 season, Bill Belichick was asked on Sunday morning?

"Um, yeah, well, again, the team was constructed very competitively," Belichick said. "Think that was reflected in our overall play during the course of the year. Again, we lost four games (that) basically came down to the last possession. And the Baltimore game, which, that was a pretty competitive game, too.

"I think there's areas in every phase of the game -- offense, defense, special teams, running game, passing game, pass-rush, pass-protection, wherever you want to go, the coaching, strategy, game-planning, decision-making, all of us -- that had a couple things been a little different, maybe the outcome would've been a little different."

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Here's where the Patriots offense finished this season, according to a variety of different rankings...

* They were 7th in points scored per game (26.3), though that included points scored on defense and special teams.

* They were 15th in yards per game (354.0).

* They were 23rd in yards per pass attempt (6.7).

* They were 17th in quarterback rating (88.2).

* They were 24th in completion percentage (61.0).

* They were 25th in yards per rush attempt (3.8).

* They were 17th in third-down conversion percentage (38.3). 

* They were 26th in red-zone conversion percentage (49.2). 

* They ranked as the 11th-best offense, according to Football Outsiders' DVOA.

* They ranked as the 15th-best offense, according to Football Outsiders' weighted DVOA, which is adjusted so that early-season games are less a factor.

* They ranked as the 17th-best offense in football, according to Pro Football Focus grades.

It did not play like a championship-caliber offense, clearly. And while Belichick indicated he was relatively satisfied with how the team was built, he certainly tried to bolster his offense's overall talent level -- particularly at the receiver position.

He drafted N'Keal Harry in the first round. He welcomed Josh Gordon back. He signed Antonio Brown. He traded a second-round pick for Mohamed Sanu. 

The Patriots never had a consistent option at tight end -- perhaps the biggest second-guess when it came to how the offense was built -- and they missed out on receivers Adam Humphries and Cole Beasley and tight end Jared Cook in free agency. But Belichick, via different avenues, tried to add talented pieces to the passing game. They never panned out.

Now it's back to the drawing board for the head coach and those left on his staff. 

Not only do questions remain at receiver and tight end, but at quarterback as well. Before diving headlong into those decisions, though, Belichick indicated that he was satisfied with how the offense was constructed -- "very competitively," he described it -- while acknowledging there's always room for improvement.

"I think we all had a part in the wins," he said. "We all had a part shared in the losses. We gotta try to do better in all those areas -- each of us that are part of the team going forward. Each of us did that over the course of the year. I wouldn't expect that to be any different."

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