Hall of Fame QB Kurt Warner says he’d be ‘bored to death’ operating Patriots offense


Kurt Warner isn’t a fan of the Patriots offense.

To that, we say take a number. Watching Mac Jones & Co. has been a painful experience for everyone this season.

The Hall of Fame quarterback, however, provides valuable context to his disapproval. As a former player, Warner put himself in Jones’ place with the X’s and O’s the Patriots quarterback has been asked to utilize. To that end, the Super Bowl-winning QB said he would be miserable if he was tasked with running the Matt Patricia-led offense.

“This year, it’s very basic and simple. That doesn’t mean it’s bad. But for a guy like me, I’d be bored to death,” Warner told the Herald in a recent interview. “I’d hate to have the same concepts over and over, even if they’re good quality concepts. I like creativity. I like options as a quarterback. And, they don’t do a lot of that.”

Warner’s view isn’t just from flipping through clips of Patriots games. The NFL Network analyst did a deep dive on the offense recently, in one of his “Study Ball” YouTube videos.

In the hour-long session, Warner dissected the Patriots’ performance during the 33-26 loss to the Vikings on Thanksgiving night. Even with all of the offensive production put up by Jones, he came away with several takes, none of them very positive.

He was stunned by how poorly the Patriots offense as a whole dealt with the important details, especially having such a simplistic offense to operate from.

Warner was critical with regard to Jones’ reads, the route-running of the receivers, their spacing, play designs, etc. None of it was particularly inspiring to the quarterback who led “The Greatest Show on Turf” offense for the Rams.

Fast-forward to Thursday night’s debacle against the Buffalo Bills. Outside of one bubble screen to Marcus Jones that went 48 yards to the house, the offense was stagnant. It went nowhere.

First downs were hard to come by. After going 3-for-10 on third down against the Vikings, they followed with a 3-for-12 against the Bills.

Jones wasn’t nearly as good against the Bills as he was against the Vikings. And even then, Warner found plenty of fault with Jones’ performance against the Vikings.

Checking in with him Friday following the loss to the Bills, none of his views on the offense had changed from a few days earlier. It’s still a train wreck.

“(They have) all kinds of issues, but it’s the same basic, non-creative plays each week,” Warner said via text. “You could probably go back to Week 1 and see all the same stuff! I know most of it off the top of my head! Just fascinating that they decided to try this experience and think it really had a chance to thrive early!”

In other words, they went with the same running plays and same basic short, quick type throws which the Bills were ultimately ready for.

All of which led to Jones at one point to have an expletive-laden tirade on the sideline, a scene that went viral on social media.

During the Prime Video broadcast, Jones appeared to say: “Throw the f—ing ball! The quick game sucks!”

Warner understood Jones’ frustration with the offense, but didn’t completely absolve him from blame.

While Jones’ made a good point in between the expletives, Warner also pointed to Jones being part of the problem.

“I didn’t think Mac was very good again,” Warner said via text. “He was yelling about throw the ball down the field and I thought he had some opportunities down the field and didn’t take them.”

Bottom line, it’s not good from top to bottom.

Patricia is struggling as a first-time play-caller. Jones is struggling in Year 2, and so is everyone not named Rhamondre Stevenson and Jakobi Meyers.

Add in a bad offensive line and its a woefully ineffective offense.

Warner is actually a “big Mac fan.” He thought he was really good last year, especially at processing information and getting the ball out of his hands.

This year? Not so much.

“This year, I don’t feel like he’s doing that very well. This year, I think he’s missing easy reads, he’s getting his eyes in the wrong places, he’s playing too fast,” Warner said. “He just doesn’t look comfortable with what they’re doing this year. I don’t know what the reason for that is. Obviously, it’s a new offense.”

It’s a new offense that’s pedestrian, and doesn’t necessarily take advantage of Mac’s strengths as a quarterback. At least, that’s how Warner sees it.

“I’ve always thought Mac’s greatest strength was his ability to process information,” Warner said. “And, their offense is what I would call very simple, meaning that they don’t run a whole bunch of concepts, and the concepts are pretty straightforward concepts that a lot of people have in their playbook, but just not a lot of variety.”

In other words, it’s easy for a defense to pick up, and frustrating for those who are in it. And as mentioned, that frustration spilled over both on the field, and in the locker room following the Bills game. There’s a lack of belief with the offense, and the Patriots are at a tipping point right now.

Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne said they had to “scheme it up better” when it came to third down. Tight end Hunter Henry said the offense was like a broken record.

“Same story every week,” he said. “It’s not good enough across the board.”

Warner gets it. He didn’t directly criticize Patricia, but it was implied.

“I know how I would feel in that offense,” he said. “Not knowing Mac, not talking to him, I don’t know. But I just see a different player. A player that’s not processing the information nearly as well as he did a year ago. As quarterbacks, we have to trust our eyes, we have to trust the play calls, instead of trying to make stuff up.”

Asked if it was on Jones to make the most of a difficult situation, Warner said yes, to a degree.

“You can be put in a bad spot as a quarterback, where you can sit back and say, we got to make the most of it … but I don’t want to make the most of a crappy concept,” said Warner. “I don’t want to try to make it work when it’s a bad concept. So you have to be able to work together to figure out what that looks like for the quarterback, so the quarterback’s comfortable when they go out there.

“At the end of the day, if the guy with the ball in his hands isn’t comfortable,” he added, “you’re never going to be good on offense.”

And right now, that’s where it’s at for the Patriots.

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