Patriots Coach Bill Belichick, left, said there will be no major changes to the offense, despite its struggles with Matt Patricia, right, calling plays. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — With 12 games in the books and an entire summer of work under their belts, New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick isn’t planning on making any major changes to an offense that’s stuck in the mud.

‘“I mean, look we’re not going to go to the wishbone offense here. We’re not going to run the veer,” Belichick said Tuesday morning. “Defensively we’re not going to change into a – run some other team’s defense or whatever. Major changes, yeah absolutely (aren’t happening) – we wouldn’t be able to practice it.”

Matt Patricia has been a lightning rod as the offense’s play-caller, but Belichick made it clear that he doesn’t believe the long-time defensive coordinator has been an issue.

“The system that we have in place, I feel good about,” Belichick said. “Which includes the offensive staff, it includes me, it includes whatever the whole process is. On defense, on offense, on special teams.”

Belichick was expounding on comments that he made on WEEI Monday morning and echoing the same sentiment: Though the Patriots rank 24th in total offense (318.9 yards per game) and have struggled in the red zone (37.5% touchdowns, 31st) Belichick doesn’t believe his coaching setup is the issue.

“I think we need to do what we’re doing better. I don’t think at this point making a lot of dramatic changes – it’s too hard to do that,” Belichick said on the Greg Hill Show. “If we can just do consistently what we’re doing, I think we’ll be all right. But we just haven’t been able to have enough consistency. And that’s hurt us. It’s not one thing. One time, it’s one thing. Next time, it’s something else. We just have to play and coach more consistently.”


THE PATRIOTS were missing nine players at Tuesday’s nonpadded practice, including three who were ill last week.

Wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, running back Damien Harris, offensive tackle Trent Brown and cornerback Jalen Mills were the headliner absentees. Meyers was shaken up late in the team’s 24-10 loss to Buffalo, a game Harris and Mills missed due to injury. Brown played through illness that night, as did right guard Mike Onwenu, who was also absent Tuesday.

The other missing players were offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn (foot), safety Jabrill Peppers (illness) and practice-squad players Jamie Collins and Garrett Gilbert.

The Patriots are not mandated to release an injury report Tuesday, which would explain why most, if not all, of the nine players were absent.

The Pats’ first injury report of the week should follow their next practice, which is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

BELICHICK OFTEN COMPLIMENTS opponents before games, but the Patriots’ coach took his praise to another level on Tuesday morning.


Asked about DeAndre Hopkins, Belichick raved about the Cardinals’ wide receiver, comparing him to Hall of Famer Cris Carter and saying the 30-year-old veteran is “never covered.”

“He’s got tremendous ball skills,” Belichick said. “He catches everything. Has great hands. He’s long so he’s never covered, even if he’s covered there’s a place where the ball can be that he can get it and still make the catch. Great coordination on the sidelines. And he doesn’t really look it, but he’s a strong kid. You see him break tackles. He’s a strong kid in terms of creating separation on routes, yards after contact, tough yards like around the goal line or that extra yard for a first down type of thing.

“He’s a smart football player. Very savvy. I’d say his ball skills are at the very elite level of guys that I’ve seen in this league. He’s up there with whoever the top guys are. The Cris Carters of the world. Guys like that. I think he’s every bit as good as anybody I’ve ever coached against.”

Still, Belichick’s defenses have done a decent job of keeping Hopkins in check. In seven games against the Patriots, Hopkins has 34 catches for 458 yards and his teams have gone 1-6.

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