After two seasons with New England Patriots has Mac Jones shown enough to be the quarterback of the team going forward? The sample size is enough to question whether Jones has shown enough for the team to hitch their wagon to him.
Jones had a very good rookie season in which he made the Pro Bowl (questionable) and took the team to the playoffs. Yet, did he show enough in 2022 to warrant a long-term commitment from the team or should they look elsewhere?
Quarterback is the single most important player on any football team, and frankly, on any team sport. You rise or fall on his arm and his ability to score points.
For twenty years, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and head coach/majordomo Bill Belichick didn’t have to worry about that issue. They had Tom Brady. But their boneheaded decision to kick Brady to the curb has cost the team and their mutual credibility significantly.
They both look like duds for allowing that to happen while Brady continues to win both Division titles and a Super Bowl. That was then, this is now.
So, what can they do now to ensure to have a quarterback who can lead them to titles? And is that Mac Jones? Let’s take a look at the situation.
Is New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones the guy?
Mac Jones is an accurate thrower. Over his first two seasons, he has completed 66.5 percent of his passes. That’s a very respectable neighborhood. But his overall performance in 2022 was lacking.
He threw for 14 TDs and 11 INTs. That’s not nearly good enough though there are major qualifiers there. The first is abysmal coaching. That starts with Bill Belichick.
Belichick tabbed former Patriots’ fine defensive coordinator, Matt Patricia as the de facto offensive coordinator. That was wrong from the get-go and everyone but BB knew it.
Then to make matters worse, they dumbed down the offense that won 10 games in 2021, changed it, and it totally flopped. That’s on the management, not Jones. In addition, injuries and bad decisions wrecked the offensive line in 2022. That has to be remedied in the draft and free agency.
Jones still bears a lot of the responsibility. Whatever offense is thrown at you, you play within it or leave. You’re a professional, act like one. Jones’ antics during the season were even called out by a former New England Patriots legend. Not a good optic.
New England Patriots 2023 quarterback options
Next season, there will be a new offensive coordinator, a real one. Whether it’s Bill O’Brien or another qualified guy, it will be an improvement. We can expect Jones to benefit from this upgrade. But is he the guy?
First, the best possible option would be to bring back TB12, let him finish what he started in New England and he could groom Jones to replace him. Since this is unlikely, what are the other options?
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Next best would be to lay out the money and sign one of the most exciting players in the NFL, free-agent quarterback, Lamar Jackson. He’s worth whatever they need to pay and he’s still only 26 years old.
They passed on him for two flops, Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel, in the first round of the 2018 draft. Maybe they can rectify that now. Any chances? Again, unlikely, and unless they hire an RPO-proficient coach, they’d be clueless about how to utilize his talents anyway.
Either of the first two options would allow you to trade Jones for good value. NFL personnel decision-making is not for the faint of heart. You do what you have to to make the team better. Either Brady or Jackson makes it decidedly better.
A third option is to draft a quarterback higher up in the draft to compete with Jones and last season’s surprise fourth-round pick Bailey Zappe. The competition is good. If Jones wins it, fine. If not, go with the best player.
Trade is also another option and Skylar Thompson of Miami would be a solid choice. His escapability in the pocket is off the charts. That’s a good beginning.
That’s the lay of the land at quarterback as we approach the 2023 off-season. The New England Patriots’ personnel operation is not a good one, and that’s putting it mildly. They need a new and capable General Manager (the suggestion here is ESPN’s Louis Riddick) to right the ship.
But that’s not going to happen until Belichick retires after he beats Don Shula’s wins record, whenever that eventuates. So those are the possibilities for now.
What do you think the Patriots should do at quarterback? We’d like to hear.