The New England Patriots will open the 2022 NFL season with a first-round bye. As they enter their eighth Super Bowl appearance in as many years, it’s time to begin thinking about what exactly needs to happen for them if they are going to win another Championship this year.
The “patriots secondary 2021” is a problem that has been present in the NFL for years. The New England Patriots have decided to address this issue by releasing their plan of attack for the 2022 NFL offseason.
The New England Patriots had never missed the NFL Playoffs in successive seasons in more over two decades, and 2022 was no different following a rare absence the year before.
The Patriots were a club that improved during the regular season, and they had a chance to claim the AFC East in Week 16, but they squandered an opportunity for one of the rare occasions in 2022. It cost the Patriots in the Super Wild Card round, when they were forced to face John Allen’s formidable Buffalo Bills team in sub-zero weather.
And it was too much for a defense that had been drooping for weeks before eventually collapsing in a 47-17 defeat on Saturday night, one of the franchise’s worst playoff losses ever.
Despite this, after a 2021 season of transition that never completely gelled, the Patriots were able to go back on track. This was a squad that battled and triumphed through adversity, restoring faith in their club’s ability to contend for a championship in the talent-rich AFC.
Another crucial offseason has begun, with potentially catastrophic free-agent departures and another chance to make a major splash in the NFL Draft.
The New England Patriots’ game plan for the 2022 NFL offseason is as follows.
The most pressing offseason concerns
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images | Bill Belichick and Mac Jones
After missing the playoffs in the first season without Tom Brady in 2021, the Patriots made a major stride forward. With quarterback Mac Jones, defensive lineman Christian Barmore, and running back Rhamonde Stevenson, they won the jackpot in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Their many free agency signings helped to fortify the defense and receiving corps. Damien Harris has matured into a capable lead back. However, the defense crumbled in the closing weeks of the regular season, and the Bills humiliated them in the Wild Card round. They’re about to lose a lot of quality in the secondary due to free agency, and Jones seemed to have struck the rookie wall hard at the conclusion of the season.
Can the Patriots hit on their 2022 NFL Draft picks again, this time from the bottom of the draft order? Can Jones continue to grow and evolve into anything more than a run-heavy attack coordinator? And, given the salary limit restrictions, how active can the Patriots be in free agency?
The most important free-agency choices
Dont’a Hightower (LB), J.C. Jackson (CB), Trent Brown (OT), and Devin McCourty are all free agents (S)
By signing safety Adrian Phillips to a three-year agreement, the Patriots addressed a major question mark among their possible free agents in 2022. Phillips has been a vital member of the Patriots’ secondary for the last two seasons, and with unrestricted free agent J.C. Jackson rumored to be on his way somewhere this summer, Phillips’ extension immediately fills a need.
The Patriots were one of the busiest teams in the offseason last year, making changes practically every day leading up to the draft. This summer should be more calmer, given the team’s cap space is estimated to be about $12 million, assuming further layoffs or deals. Expect the secondary to be the primary area of spent capital, whether via free agency or the draft.
Because Jackson is expected to be the best defensive back on the market, and even more likely to demand a contract beyond the Patriots’ price range, don’t be shocked if the franchise tag is applied to him. To remain, both McCourty and Hightower would have to accept less money.
Needs and probable targets for the NFL Draft in 2022
Top @Patriots draft targets 2022 1. Chris Olave, WR (OSU) 2. John Metchie III, WR (Bama) 3. Britain Covey, WR (Utah) 4. Slade Bolden, WR (Bama) 5. Sauce Gardner, CB (Cincy) 6. Andrew Booth Jr, CB (Clem)
Deep threat is emphasized, as is bolstering the defensive back corps.
— Shield Insider (@SznMock) January 11, 2022
CB, WR, LB, S, and DT are all needed in the draft.
The Patriots will try to enhance at spots away from the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The Patriots will target defensive backs and wide receivers first and foremost this year, with a pick in the 20s.
Given the lackluster performances of free-agent acquisitions Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, as well as N’Keal Harry’s failure to make an impact in a receiving corps that lacks an alpha, don’t be shocked if the Patriots target Garrett Wilson or Chris Olave of Ohio State. Traylon Burks of Arkansas is another name that has been linked to the Patriots in mock selections.
In 2022, one player on either side of the ball must step up.
Jones will have to keep improving on offense in Year 2, which is a safe assumption considering how effectively the rookie responded to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ game-planning as the season progressed. Jones was well-prepared for a rookie taking over a club still in turmoil after Brady’s departure, and although he faltered late in the regular season, there is still space for improvement, and he has a potential to become an upper-tier quarterback in a league full of superstars.
Given the boost he provided the defense this season, edge rusher Matt Judon will need to be more consistent and timely if the defense is to compete in a conference featuring Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, and, of course, Josh Allen.
Judon had 12.5 sacks through Week 14 but didn’t register a single sack in the last four games as the Patriots lost control of the AFC East championship and slid to No. 6 in the playoff bracket after losing to the Bills and Dolphins. The ability to pressure and sack the quarterback will be crucial, especially if the secondary suffers a setback next season, and Judon will be the guy in charge of doing it every week.
Pro Football Reference provided the statistics.
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The “2020 new england patriots” is a football team that has been around since 1960. The Patriots have won 6 Super Bowls and 8 AFC Championships. Their plan of attack for the 2022 NFL offseason must be to win the Super Bowl again.
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