Zolak & Bertrand

Perry: Why Pats' expected QB coach hire is a good sign for offense

"This is a quarterback-friendly, some would say quarterback-proof kind of scheme."

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The New England Patriots' new-look offensive coaching staff is starting to take shape.

The Patriots are targeting Cleveland Browns tight ends coach T.C. McCartney as their new quarterbacks coach, CBS Sports' Jonathan Jones reported Wednesday. McCartney would report to recently-hired offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt, who was his coworker for four seasons in Cleveland.

Quarterbacks coach is an important position on any offensive staff, but especially in New England, where the Patriots could run a brand-new offense with a brand-new quarterback if they use the No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft on a signal-caller.

As our Patriots Insider Phil Perry noted Wednesday on 98.5 The Sports Hub's Zolak & Bertrand, McCartney could bring elements of the "Shanahan offense" to New England, having worked with now-49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan in 2014 in Cleveland and again in 2017 and 2018 in San Francisco.

"I just have been texting back and forth with one of McCartney's former coworkers. It sounds like that Shanahan background is really his thing," Perry said from Super Bowl Radio Row in Las Vegas. "He knows Van Pelt's system too. He spent four years with Van Pelt, so there's obviously a good relationship there."

Perry believes the blend of new voices working on the Patriots' offense -- Van Pelt has his own connections to Shanahan over 30 years of NFL experience -- will serve the team well in 2024.

"I think this is a good sign," Perry said. "Between the West Coast stuff that we already knew Van Pelt and (Ben) McAdoo had, now to have McCartney in here as well, to have that Shanahan background -- I think what you're going to see is a lot of under center, play-action shots down the field, get it out of the quarterback's hands quickly.

"This is a quarterback-friendly, some would say quarterback-proof kind of scheme that has propped up guys like Jimmy Garoppolo in the past and made Matt Schaub look like a Pro Bowler back in the day when he was playing under Kyle Shanahan.

"This offense has taken average quarterbacks and made them good. It's taken good quarterbacks and at times made them great. Matt Ryan was an MVP in this offense. Aaron Rodgers went from very good to MVP in back-to-back years with Matt LaFleur.

"So, this is going to be able to be very helpful, I would think, with whatever quarterback you bring in here, whether it's a rookie or a vet."

Van Pelt, McCartney and the rest of the staff have a low bar to clear. The Patriots averaged just 13.9 points per game in 2023, tied for last in the NFL. Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe are the only quarterbacks under contract, and neither are starting-caliber, so New England likely will bank on a talented-yet-unproven rookie like LSU's Jayden Daniels or UNC's Drake Maye, or a veteran free-agent signing.

As Perry pointed out, though, it sounds like this Patriots offense could be more "QB-friendly" than in years past.

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