The New England Patriots are not a good football team through the first five weeks of the 2023 NFL season, but are they the worst team in the league?
Their last two losses suggest it's possible. Their 38-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys -- the worst in Bill Belichick's 29 years as an NFL head coach -- was followed by a 34-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Those defeats exposed the glaring weaknesses in New England's offense, which lacks playmakers or a strong offensive line to assist struggling quarterback Mac Jones.
Those issues were enough for Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio to put the Patriots dead last in his NFL power rankings heading into Week 6. Florio joined Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast to explain why he considers New England the worst team in the NFL through five weeks.
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"Well, I would say there are 72 reasons for and three reasons against. How about that?" Florio said. "(The 38-3 loss) against the Cowboys I can excuse because the Cowboys will beat plenty of teams handily. That's how it works for the Cowboys. Get up a couple of scores, it becomes an avalanche. Their defense will stifle you. Their offense will continue to be efficient and they will blow you off the field.
"To come home the week after that and to have that wake-up call become a 34-0 shutout loss to the Saints, who are not in the same category as the Cowboys, that to me is the thing that says they just don't have it right now. You know the old (Bill) Parcells saying, 'They want me to cook the meal, they should let me shop for the groceries.' The cupboard is bare right now.
"They don't have the players right now. They don't have the talent right now. And it all flows to the guy who's both the coach and the de facto general manager who spends the money, signs the players or doesn't sign the players, such as receiver Jakobi Meyers who they'll see this weekend in a different uniform. One of the guys, rare guys, they develop at receiver and they let him walk away. It's just a bunch of bad decisions in recent years that have culminated in a team that isn't physically capable of competing with other NFL teams."
Florio also criticized Belichick for not improving the offense, instead relying on offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien to fix what ailed the unit last season.
"I almost wonder whether he didn't pay as much attention to the personnel on the offensive side this offseason because he just assumed bringing Billy O'Brien back would solve everything after last year's debacle," Florio said. "I remember last year when the Matt Patricia-Joe Judge Frankenstein monster was taking shape. I said, if this was any other coach, we would say, 'Has he lost his mind?' We gave Bill Belichick the benefit of the doubt because of those six rings that he's won as Patriots head coach, but it ended up being a complete and total disaster.
"I think the people who ultimately make the hiring and firing decisions, the people who sign the checks, the people whose name rhymes with Kraft, look at that and say it's inexcusable. And that doesn't go away. Nothing happening this year is going to make people forget what a crapshow it was last year. And maybe Belichick thought, 'If I just bring back O'Brien, the offense will be fine.' Never mind the fact that we don't have the guys up front to keep defensive linemen from getting to Mac Jones."
Also in the episode:
- Perry and Curran break down Jones' issues and how solvable, if at all, they are this season.
- How do the Pats slow down Maxx Crosby on Sunday?
- Are the Raiders' issues on offense caused by the same thing impacting the Patriots – an outdated scheme?
- Is the writing on the wall for the end of the Belichick era in New England? How many teams would be interested in him if he became available?