The New England Patriots‘ offensive players were able to generate 453 yards yesterday against the Miami Dolphins. All of those yards were for naught as the Patriots scored just 20 points. There is one critical reason why the point production was not there, and that was because Josh McDaniels did not call enough running plays.
McDaniels needs to bring balance back to his play-calling. His pass-to-run ratio stood at a very unbalanced 55-22. He constantly had Tom Brady dropping back to pass, even on first downs. McDaniels’ love for Brady certainly makes sense, but even he must know that he has to take some of the weight off of his star quarterback’s shoulders.
Establishing the run is essential. It sets up the passing game, especially in play-action situations, and Brady is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL when it comes to executing the play-action. That is why McDaniels should call for a run on almost every first down. The Patriots’ running backs are very talented and can start gashing defenders if the defenders are too worried about what Brady can do.
Another reason for McDaniels to call more runs is because of the absence of some of the top pass catchers on offense. Rob Gronkowski is already out for the season. Aaron Dobson has missed the last three games, and Kenbrell Thompkins has missed the last two games. All of these injuries have left Brady with just four healthy wide receivers, with one of them being Austin Collie, who was re-signed last week.
Three of the four healthy wide receivers that suited up against the Dolphins are slot receivers by trade. Though Brady loves throwing to slot receivers, it cannot be questioned that they struggle with getting into the end zone. So running the ball can help Brady and his teammates get those hard yards inside the opponent’s 10-yard line.
McDaniels does not need to be 50-50 with his pass-to-run ratio, but he should not be too far off either. Given all the injuries to the Patriots’ pass catchers, the team’s offensive coordinator needs to make it a point to bring his ratio closer to 55-45 in favor of the pass. Abandoning the running game is not going to help put points on the scoreboard.
Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.