The New England Patriots are in a less-than-ideal spot with the 2023 NFL trade deadline in the rearview mirror.
Bill Belichick opted to stand pat at the deadline with his group taking a 2-6 record into its Week 9 matchup vs. the Washington Commanders. The Patriots didn't have many appealing assets to offer teams, and perhaps their most attractive trade chip -- wide receiver Kendrick Bourne -- is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL.
This isn't where our Patriots insider Tom E. Curran expected New England to be heading into the campaign. Back in April, Curran stated on Boston Sports Tonight that he believed the Pats would win "10, 11, maybe even 12 games."
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Boston sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
He revisited that take, and explained what has kept the Patriots from making that leap, during Tuesday's Quick Slants episode.
🔊 Patriots Talk: Trade deadline passes quietly for Patriots; maybe too quiet... | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube
"Sorry to those of you who took the over on the win total," Curran said. "Offensively, honestly, I don't know. I didn't know what they were going for at all, but I do know that almost every wide receiver that they have targeted and brought in is the wrong one, and I overestimated what they had. But from Mohamed Sanu to N'Keal Harry to Nelson Agholor to Tyquan Thornton to DeVante Parker to JuJu Smith-Schuster, their worst players seem to be the ones they prioritize. And the best ones -- Jakobi Meyers, even Demario Douglas now -- they're the ones they take flyers on.
"When you look at offensively, how poorly constructed they are -- they've got two interchangeable thumping running backs, but they have no sub back. And this is the team that made the sub back great. From Kevin Faulk to James White. Twenty years: a steady stream of backs who were walking mismatches on third down. Sometimes they'd have two of them. You'd have James White and Rex Burkhead, and now they've got none. No wonder they're 26th in the league on third down, 34 percent conversions, 31st on fourth down."
Curran believes all of the glaring question marks on offense show why the Patriots should consider moving on from Belichick as their primary decision maker.
"They're developing Douglas as a slot three years after the last of the Patriots great slots, Julian Edelman, hung it up. And they've got a stationary, soft-throwing quarterback behind a starting offensive line comprised of late-round picks except for the left guard Cole Strange, who everybody in the league thought was a player that you could get later in the draft," Curran added.
"So this team has needs all over the offense despite all the trades, signings, and draft picks. It's still missed three of four seasons, the playoffs. Why do you want Bill Belichick to decide how to spend a top-five pick and $100 million in cap space?"
If the season ended today, the Patriots would have the fifth overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Between the likely high draft pick and a number of players on expiring deals, the upcoming offseason will be a pivotal one for the future of the franchise. Patriots owner Robert Kraft has plenty to consider while his team plays out what almost certainly will be another season without a postseason berth.
You can watch the full episode of "Quick Slants" below: