Patriots Mailbag: Is New England doomed after falling into an 0-2 hole?


6 rings: Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson joins the show to talk Patriots, Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, Mac Jones, and more

The Patriots, at least record-wise, are the worst team in the NFL.

Is this fair? No. But is it factual, yes. New England is one of just a handful teams that currently sit at 0-2 - something this team hasn’t had to deal with since 2001.

As we tread virtually uncharted waters here in Foxborough, it's time for another mailbag answering your questions surrounding this Patriots team.

A friendly reminder that to stay involved with the Patriots mailbag, make sure to keep an eye out for the thread on my Twitter @mikekadlick and @WEEI. Don't have Twitter? Email me at with any of your Patriots-related questions.

And away we go:

Q: When do you have to consider blowing this thing up?

A: Let's slow down for a second. Sure, 0-2 is not a great place to start the season. In fact, the odds are stacked against them. Since the 1990 season, just 31 of the 270 teams that 0-2 qualified for the position. That's just 11.5%.

That being said, New England is not out of this. There are still 15 games in front of them or, as tight end Mike Gesicki said following Sunday’s loss, “a lot of football left. A lot of football. Back to work.”

The new 17 game schedule also throws a bit of a wrench into this stat anyway. Don’t give up on them just yet.

Q: What would help the Patriots more? A starting right tackle or a No. 1 wide receiver?

A: Right tackle. Without question.

I actually don't think the Patriots are in bad shape, receiver wise. Kendrick Bourne and DeVante Parker have performed above my expectation through two games, Hunter Henry has been sensational, and Mike Gesicki has been fine for a No. 2 tight end. Additionally, Demario Douglas (when not benched for a rookie mistake) has been the shifty jitterbug that this offense needs.

If Mac Jones could have just a little bit more time back there in the pocket, this offense would hum. So the answer is a right tackle.

Q: Could the Patriots acquire a true No. 1 wide receiver via trade?

A: If the team were to acquire a No. 1 option at receiver either by the trade deadline or in the near future, my eyes immediately go to Tee Higgins.

Higgins, a second-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2020, is reportedly "not in the team's future plans". The former Clemson Tiger is a dominant, 6-foot-4 X-receiver who would be a perfect compliment for Mac Jones in this Patriots offense.

Outside of Higgins, the remainder of my dream list includes Jerry Jeudy and Brandon Aiyuk.

Q: Is benching a rookie for a mistake the only approach?

A: Speaking of Demario Douglas' rookie mistake - the pass catcher was, in my opinion unfairly, benched during Sunday's loss after fumbling away a would-be third down conversion in the first quarter. The sixth-round pick didn't see another offensive snap.

No, benching is not the only approach and yes, Douglas should have been put back on the field right away. He's New England's most explosive wide receiver and was the one player who gave them plus-plays in Sunday’s first quarter.

Q: How long is Bill Belichick's leash?

A: Despite all of the underachievement, malpractice, and losing that has gone on in Foxborough since Tom Brady left, I'd still suspect Bill Belichick's leash to be pretty long. Right now, I don't think his seat is hot.

It's no secret that the 71-year-old wants to break Don Shula's all-time wins record before he retires. Just 18 wins away, I find it very hard to believe that he does so outside of Foxborough.

While team owner Robert Kraft wants to win now, he also wants to keep his image pristine. After letting Brady walk in 2020, firing Belichick just three seasons later could add another stain to Kraft's NFL legacy.

Q: How long will Demario Douglas be in the dog house?

A: If Bill Belichick knows what’s good for him, Demario Douglas will be full go on Sunday.

While I understand that ball security is job security, so is winning football games. And while, as I said above, Belichick likely has a long-ish leash right now, I also don’t think he has the leeway to set up a five-year plan for Demario Douglas. Get him back in the game.

Q: Will there be more 'run throw' play for Mac?

A: If by this you mean designed throws on the run, I'd say no.

Mac Jones excels as a pocket passer who uses his brain to get the ball out quick to his playmakers.

While Jones did make a few nice throws on the move on Sunday night, this was done out of necessity, not by design. If the Patriots had their choice, they'd prefer he remain in the pocket, and a clean one at that.

Q: What is it going to take for this team to finally win a close game?

A: It's the mistakes. That’s what it all comes down to.

Not only is it penalties, but missed blocks, receivers not getting to the sticks, and the QB being late in his progression that have left the Patriots, as Mac Jones put it on Monday’s episode of Jones and Mego, “about 20 yards away from being 2-0.”

Next Sunday in the Meadowlands is the perfect opportunity for this team to put the mistakes behind them, okay complimentary football, and get themselves in the win column for the first time in 2023.

Make sure to follow Mike on Twitter @mikekadlick, and follow @WEEI for the latest up-to-date Patriots and Boston sports news!

Featured Image Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer, Getty Images