Patriots Mailbag ‘The Barth Bag’ Week 6

We've got a lot to cover this week, since the Patriots have played two games since the last time I took your questions

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Welcome to Week 6 of ‘The Barth Bag’! We’ve got a lot to cover this week, since the Patriots have played two games since the last time I took your questions. Even though the opponents have been less than stellar, I think we’ve learned a good amount about the identity of this Patriots team through weeks 5 and 6. What exactly have we learned? Let’s get to it in the mailbag…

The argument about the offense depends on what context you are putting it in. Are they ‘terrible’ compared to the rest of the NFL? Absolutely not. Even with their struggles up front, this is still a top-half offensive unit in the league. However, compared to past Patriots offenses? Yeah, they’re pretty bad. In the case of the 2019 team though, the historical context doesn’t matter. With what the defense is doing, this offense is good enough to get them back to the Super Bowl as long as they can stay healthy.

It’s definitely possible, but I do think it’s more likely they will go out and try to find a fullback on the open market. Having a guy like that on the roster is very crucial to what they do (look at what happened in 2015 when Develin missed the season). That being said, if they are going to go without a fullback, it will create situations where a third tight end would be very useful. And if they’re going to bring in another tight end, I find it hard to imagine it would be anybody other than Ben Watson

I was impressed by both of them last night. I think I actually jumped when I saw they were running a designed play for Gunner. As for Jakobi, for a guy who Brady “doesn’t trust”, he certainly got a lot of chemistry throws in that game. Given that Edelman, Gordon, and Dorsett aren’t 100% even when they’re available right now, the Patriots are going to need those two to be more than extra bodies in the offense going forwards. There is still work to do, but for a pair of UDFAs in the most complicated offense in the NFL, what they’re showing is promising.

I wouldn’t hold your breath. Think about it this way…the Patriots had all spring and summer to work with Dan Skipper, and for him to learn their offense. Even with that factored in, the Patriots chose to make multiple trades before the opener and grab Marshall Newhouse off the street after the season had started. Skipper’s size (6’10, 325) is probably keeping him around on the practice squad given the ceiling it gives him, but the fact that all of these veterans brought in at the last second are getting reps over him tells me they don’t believe he’s NFL ready.

Yes. He had surgery this spring in relation to an injury he suffered in college, and is currently on NFI. I wouldn’t expect to see him back this year.

The Patriots two biggest issues offensively right now are not being able to block on the edge, and not having enough pass catchers. So to me, a tight end could help alleviate both of those problems. Is the right guy available? We’ll have to see. But if they’re looking to add, I think tight end should be their top priority (assuming Harry and Wynn haven’t had any setbacks and are on track to return on time).

I think their move at wide receiver is activating N’Keal Harry at some point in the next few weeks. All things considered, he may be their best option right now. However, if he’s had a setback and won’t be good to go until after the bye, they may have to bring somebody in, especially if Josh Gordon’s injury Thursday night was serious.

Any time you win with the regularity that the Patriots have over the last two decades, it’s going to attract bandwagon fans, which is I believe who you are talking about here. I think there are a lot of very knowledgable, reasonable Patriots fans, but that group just isn’t as vocal. You also have to remember that they’ve been so good for so long, that even people in their mid-20’s don’t know this team as anything but successful. So even ‘life long’ fans may not have the context they need to understand exactly how impressive this run is.

That’ll do it for this week’s ‘Barth Bag’. Thank you all for the questions! We’ve now got a long 11 day wait until the Patriots next game (next Monday night in New York against the Jets), but there’s a lot to follow between now and then, so make sure to follow @PatriotsCLNS on Twitter for complete coverage.