The past two games, the pass-run divided has been heavily weighted toward the pass.
Part of that is the consequence of trailing in games, and needing to pass in order to play catchup. The other part is having an ineffective run game.
Against the Bucs Sunday night, the Patriots rushed the ball just eight times, for a minus-one net yards. rule back Damien Harris has struggled recently, with just 24 yards on 10 carries the past two games.
The without of a run game has forced Mac Jones to put the ball up 40 times. The past week against the Saints, he attempted 51 passes, versus just 17 run plays.
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels acknowledged the inequity, and doesn’t want his rookie quarterback putting the ball up 40 or 50 times on a regular basis.
The running game has to deliver, plain and simple.
“I never want to be one-dimensional. I don’t think we ever do, here. There’s certainly been games in the past we can all point to and say we probably didn’t give it a chance, and had to lean on the passing game. But I would say as a rule of thumb, that is not a sustainable method of playing offense.
“You can’t bail on it every week because somebody makes it difficult . . . we gotta do better than we did Sunday.”
For the most part, McDaniels agreed that Jones has done well under the circumstances, both absorbing hits, and delivering the football as often as needed. But McDaniels doesn’t want that to be the norm.
“He’s certainly responded to anything we’ve asked him to do. He’s clearly got a great mindset, and great attitude about it. There’s nothing we’ve asked him to do that he’s avoid or wanted less responsibility. That’s not his character or personality,” said McDaniels. “I appreciate that in the young man. He’s trying to answer every challenge that has been put in front of him. I think that he’s shown he’s capable of doing some of those things to help us. But I think as we move forward here, the goal would be to hopefully use that method of play less, not more as we move forward.”
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