The Morning After…If you still have hope for 2023 Patriots, it’s time to face the music

The New England Patriots fell to the Washington Commanders at home 20-17 on Sunday.

It was no different than the team we have seen since the start of 2022, a bland offense lacking firepower and a defense that has to work their tails off to keep the team in the game.

Commanders quarterback Sam Howell took charge and threw for 325 yards, one touchdown and one interception, defeating a depleted Patriots defense. On the other side of the ball, the Patriots offense looked out of sync, and it feels like they are starting to officially check out.

Things feel like they have turned from frustration to just outright lack of passion. At least a frustrated locker room has some belief for the season. However, the team we saw against the Commanders feels like they’re packing it in and collecting their game checks.

Let’s get into some leftover notes from the game.

The Patriots are what they are

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

This team is one of the worst in the NFL, and that is not an overstatement. They are 2-7 on the year and averaging 14.8 points per game, which is the second-worst in the entire NFL.

It’s one thing to have hope for your team and to cheer for them in games, but if that hope isn’t manifesting itself in any way on the football field, it’s time to let it go. Patriots fans will always love the team and will actively cheer them on each week. But in terms of building for the future, this team needs serious changes. It’s okay to admit it’s not a good roster.

This team is headed for the offseason quicker than most, but that’s not a bad thing. They need talent at almost every position on their roster, and unfortunately, they have also been hit with the injury bug.

Both things are true.

Since the deadline is passed, there is truly “no one coming” like their shirts said earlier in the year.

Tyquan Thornton continues spiral towards bust, but it's not all his fault

Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Personally, I have never been high on Tyquan Thornton.

I saw a lot of traits on film that would not translate and some red flags that screamed project player. Yet, the Patriots took him at No. 50 overall in the 2022 NFL draft.

Thornton is blazing fast, but that’s about it. He has the raw athletic ability to turn into “Tall-reek (Hill),” like a lot of people were calling him earlier in the year.

Thornton never turning into anything more than a straight speed guy is why Troy Brown has a huge hand in the blame. There are a lot of coachable mistakes he is making that you would hope your wide receivers coach would have coached out by now. But that’s not the case.

Brown will forever be a Patriot legend in my mind, but his coaching has not been stellar. Thornton is the type of player that would have made sense at No. 50, if the Patriots had a guy in-house to coach him to his full potential. But as of right now, it hasn’t panned out.

Ja'Whaun Bentley has grown tremendously

Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Ja’Whaun Bentley was once seen to Patriot fans as a thorn in their Dont’a Hightower-loving sides, but he has improved every single year and has taken strides as a leader.

This week, he started to show some upside as a pass rusher, with two sacks to go with his 10 total tackles on the day. Bentley has improved as a rusher, open field tackler and in coverage.

When many viewed him as just a depth thumper, we have seen Bill Belichick turn him into one of the game’s more underrated linebackers. Bentley is a core piece to the rebuild as a trusted leader and productive Patriot.

[lawrence-auto-related count=3]

Story originally appeared on Patriots Wire