Things might finally be trending in the right direction for the New England Patriots. At least from a personnel perspective.
As the Patriots (2-8) emerged from their bye week, offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien had a positive update regarding the health of offensive line coach Adrian Klemm. The first-year New England assistant and three-time Super Bowl champion missed last week's clash with the Indianapolis Colts in Frankfurt with an unspecified health issue.
“I know Adrian’s doing better,” O’Brien said on Monday. “We’ve all been in text communication with him, and he’s doing a lot better.”
In the midst of this cursed season, the Patriots have endured injuries at nearly every major position but the offensive line has been particularly bereft. Only longtime center David Andrews has started all 10 games, with prized acquisitions like Trent Brown, Reilly Reiff, and Cole Strange all missing various amounts of time.
The constant turnover is apparent in New England's cumulative offensive stats: rushers are averaging only 3.9 yards a carry (25th in the NFL) and less than 24 percent of drives have ended in scores (31st). The prior weekend's listless offensive showing against the Colts saw New England quarterbacks sacked five times, including four in the first half.
With Thanksgiving looming, O'Brien expressed gratitude for both Klemm's turn in the right direction as well as the help of assistant coaches: Klemm's fellow former Patriot Billy Yates has taken over offensive-line duties for the time being while tight end boss Will Lawing ... as well as head coach Bill Belichick ... have also lent a hand.
Their assistance, however, has done little to ease New England's growing load and mounting pressure as it works through its most trying season in decades.
"We have enough hands on deck," said O'Brien. "But it’s not ideal, that’s for sure.”
New England returns to action on Sunday afternoon when it faces the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium (1 p.m. ET, CBS).