Patriots receivers ask for patience on deep passes, believe they’ll ‘eventually’ be there

Mac Jones ranks in the bottom five for average air yards per attempt through the first two weeks of the season.

Nelson Agholor's caught eight passes from Mac Jones so far, but the receiver's deep threat potential hasn't been showcased. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Anyone who’s watched the Patriots’ offense over the first two weeks of the season would notice that they haven’t been searching much for big plays.

The stat sheet reflects that, too. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones is averaging just 5.6 air yards per attempt, which is the fifth-lowest in the league, according to Next Gen Stats.

New Patriots receiver Nelson Agholor has the potential to be that deep ball threat the Patriots are missing. With the Raiders last season, Agholor averaged 18.7 yards per reception, which was the second-highest in the NFL in 2020.

Through his first two games with the Patriots, Agholor’s been productive with eight receptions and a touchdown. But with 93 receiving yards, he’s averaging just 11.6 yards per catch so far.


Even though the Patriots’ current passing game might not have the appeal top passing games around the league have, Agholor acknowledged that isn’t who the Patriots are trying to be right now.

“That’s not really what this offense is,” Agholor told reporters Thursday. “That’s just so far what you’ve seen. We’re working, we’re preparing to do whatever we need to do. And I think that there are a lot of guys that are capable of doing multiple things and each week different opportunities present themselves.

“And I don’t really think you have to force things. I think you take what’s there. And we have a very calculated offensive coordinator. We have a very calculated offense. So, what’s there is what we need to take. And eventually, the big plays will be there.”

Agholor believes the Patriots can work though into working deep passing plays into the offense.

“It’s about just working the defense, that dictates when that explosive play is there,” Agholor said. “You don’t force it, because bad things happen when you try to force things in this game.”


Jakobi Meyers, who’s the Patriots’ other top receiver, has a similar assessment as Agholor.

“It’s a lot that goes into pushing the ball down the field,” Meyers told reporters Friday. “I feel like that’s one of those things that can’t be forced. When the time is right, it’ll happen. When it’s not right, we’ve got to find out how to win other ways.”

Meyers said that if “if [Jones] does trust me to put the ball in the air my way, I got to go out there and make that play.” But Meyers won’t force the issue with Jones.

“Personally, I don’t feel like it’s my job to tell him what I see or what he should’ve done,” Meyers said of talking with Jones on potential missed plays. “I feel like I’m the type of player that wants to know what he’s thinking at all times. If he could just tell me what he saw on the play, then I’ll adjust. I’m adaptable. So, just figuring out what it is going through his head – where he wants me to be, when he wants me to be there. Just helping him out as best as I can.

“I’ve been in those shoes. Not with that type of pressure, but I’ve been young, trying to play, trying to figure it out. We’re just trying to execute.”

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