Jakobi Meyers Shares Candid Take On Patriots’ Offensive Struggles


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FOXBORO, Mass. — Two things are clear after watching the first 1 1/2 weeks of Patriots training camp: New England is implementing a substantially different offense this season, and that process has not been seamless.

The Patriots have looked disjointed offensively in camp, struggling to both protect quarterback Mac Jones and run the ball effectively with their new zone-blocking scheme. Receivers also have had issues creating separation downfield.

While most players and coaches have downplayed the offensive changes — which Bill Belichick initially described as a streamlining of Josh McDaniels’ system — wideout Jakobi Meyers on Friday admitted they’ve made for a tough adjustment.

“It’s definitely been something to get used to,” Meyers told Mike Giardi and Scott Pioli during an NFL Network interview. “But it’s like they say with change at all — any change is kind of hard. There’s going to be growing pains, and I think we’re going through that stage.

“This is the kind of place where they want everything perfect, so it’s just — change and perfection are kind of a hard mix. So we’ve kind of been going through it. But at the same time, I think it’s a great learning experience, and the fact that we’re all doing it together is actually pretty good for us.”

Meyers, who spoke last week about the difficulties of learning New England’s new offensive terminology, stressed the importance of unselfishness during this transition period. Things are different now with Matt Patricia, Joe Judge and Belichick leading the offense than they were under McDaniels, he said, and players need to accept that.

“It’s more so an ego check,” the wideout said on NFL Network. “You’ve got to be really able to throw your egos out the door. We had a conversation about that the other day. Just guys putting their egos aside, forget everything you know and just worry about where you’re trying to be now. We understand we did things a certain way before, but it’s not about that anymore.”

Meyers was the Patriots’ No. 1 receiver in each of the last two seasons, leading the team in targets (126), catches (83) and receiving yards (866) in 2021. The 25-year-old again projects as a starter this season, but New England’s receiving corps will have more mouths to feed after trading for veteran DeVante Parker and using a second-round draft pick on Tyquan Thornton.

The Patriots returned nearly every offensive contributor from last year’s 10-win team, losing only starting guards Shaq Mason and Ted Karras, sub back Brandon Bolden and fullback Jakob Johnson. The scheme and coaching staff have changed significantly, however, and the offense has looked overmatched thus far in camp.

That new-look unit will face its first true test Thursday night when the Patriots welcome the New York Giants to Gillette Stadium for their preseason opener.

NESN.com’s coverage of New England Patriots preseason is presented by Cross Insurance, protecting your team since 1954.

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