How the Patriots expertly hid their new offense in Thursday’s preseason opener – Boston Herald


FOXBORO — For most NFL teams, success in the preseason equates to survival.

Rolling through three exhibitions as close to injury-free as possible. Get in, get out and on to the regular season.

This summer, the Patriots’ preseason goal appears to be twofold: stay healthy and stealthy.

In the first public look at their new offense, the Pats expertly concealed the tenets of their playbook, which contains parts old and new under lead offensive assistants Matt Patricia and Joe Judge.

They trotted out the same personnel grouping on 51 of their 59 offensive snaps in Thursday’s preseason opener against the Giants. Three receivers and one running back routinely surrounded backup tight end Matt Sokol, who took every snap at his position with the starters resting and third-stringer Devin Asiasi unavailable. On the eight snaps without Sokol, a fourth receiver usually dropped into an in-line position, a la a tight end.

The passing concepts Hoyer and Zappe executed were all familiar, designs run across the league and/or drilled by former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels for years in Foxboro. Except they didn’t call a single play-action pass. Not a one, as Belichick later suggested that may have been a game plan decision specific to the Giants, who, relatedly, are running a high-pressure system under new defensive coordinator Don Martindale.