Morning Sports Update

Rob Ninkovich explained why he’s ‘concerned’ about the Patriots offense

"I think that's going to be their biggest obstacle, trying to figure out what are we offensively right now? What are we trying to do?"

Patriots offense
Mac Jones and the Patriots offense during a preseason game against the Raiders. AP Photo/John Locher

The Red Sox lost to the Twins 4-2 on Monday. Boston will face Minnesota again tonight at 7:40 p.m.

Today (by 4 p.m.), the Patriots — like every other NFL team — must trim the team’s roster to 53 players ahead of the regular season. New England opens Week 1 in Miami against the Dolphins at 1 p.m. on Sept. 11.

Rob Ninkovich on the Patriots: With the start of the regular season looming, questions remain over the Patriots’ offense. Acclimating to new coaches and a new playbook has so far produced mixed results, albeit in preseason.

Asked if he was concerned about his former team, retired linebacker Rob Ninkovich (now an NFL analyst) began with a joke during a “Get Up!” ESPN segment on Tuesday.

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“I still live locally,” he said, “so I don’t want eggs all over my house.”

“But yeah, I’m concerned,” Ninkovich acknowledged. “When you look at the Patriots previously, they always had some type of identity going into training camp or in training camp, and they were building on that.”

As Ninkovich explained, the team appears to still be finding its identity.

“Now you have a new coordinator, you have question marks on who’s calling the plays — it’s not out there, but we know — you have an offensive line that’s trying to adapt to a new system,” said Ninkovich. “With those things in place when you watch this last preseason game, you kind of want things to be rolling in a good way, as opposed to playing poorly in your last preseason game.”

While previous versions of Belichick’s Patriots could get away with slower starts to the regular season, Ninkovich thinks the added difficulty of exploring a new system on offense could make that tough in 2022.

“In the past, September, yes there’s always going to be some changes that are going to happen in the first couple weeks of the season,” he said. “You’re trying to adapt your team, your roster, manipulate your roster to help yourself. But with not having an identity, I think that’s going to be their biggest obstacle, trying to figure out what are we offensively right now? What are we trying to do?

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“So they need to figure that out fast,” Ninkovich concluded, “because in September, if they only win one game, you’re in trouble. You’re in a tough spot.”

Trivia: In the 2018 season (in which the Patriots won the Super Bowl), the team started the year 1-2. Which teams did New England lose to during that stretch?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: The head coaches of those teams were Matt Patricia and Doug Marrone.

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Highlights from Serena Williams’s opening round match at the US Open: Williams advanced in straight sets against Danka Kovinić. She will face Anett Kontaveit in the second round on Wednesday.

On this day: In 1918, Red Sox starter Carl Mays threw two complete games in the same day as Boston swept the doubleheader, 12-0 in Game 1 and 4-1 in Game 2.

In total, Mays pitched 18 innings on the day, allowing just one run. He also went 5-6 at the plate.

1918 Carl Mays Red Sox

Daily highlight: Rafael Devers ran a long way to (somehow) make the catch again the Twins on Monday night.

Trivia answer: Lions, Jaguars

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