Patriots Insider: Don’t you dare give up on Mac Jones

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 24: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots looks on during pregame against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 24: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots looks on during pregame against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots will be watching the divisional round from home as their playoff hopes crumbled in the second half of the season.

In wake of this late collapse, there is a lot of finger-pointing as Pats Nation looks for a scapegoat to pin yet another failed season on.

Unfortunately quarterback Mac Jones has taken the brunt of the blame. The easy route is to blame the player who has the biggest direct impact on the teams’ success; and after a dreadful season offensively, fans and the Boston media are beginning to unfairly question whether or not Jones can be the future of the franchise.

Those who are calling for the Patriots to make a change at quarterback are either impatient or blind to the fact that Mac Jones hasn’t been given the proper tools to succeed.

Mac Jones can be the Patriots guy with the right pieces around him

It goes without saying that Mac Jones did not make the leap that New England had hoped for in his sophomore season. Through 14 games played Jones posted just a 14-11 TD/INT ratio along with under 3,000 yards passing.

It is no debate that Jones’ numbers took a dip following his rookie year, but the bigger question to ask is whether or not the Patriots gave him a fair chance to be efficient.

Admittedly, Mac’s struggles this season were alarming, but he was far from being the problem in New England.

The biggest hinderance to New England’s offense (or lack there of) this season was undoubtedly the game-plan. Questions arose before the season regarding Matt Patricia’s qualifications as an offensive coordinator, and those concerns proved to be warranted.

After a plethora of screen passes and predictable early-down runs, it quickly became apparent that Patricia’s style of offense wasn’t going to be effective for the Patriots.

The regression displayed from Jones is on the back of this play-calling. He was the runner-up for Rookie of the Year last season under longtime Patriots’ OC Josh McDaniels.

Then came a change in offensive philosophy and Matt Patricia

New England Patriots
Mac Jones and Matt Patricia (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Patricia’s system was trivial, predictable, and almost impossible for a quarterback to shine in.

Going hand-in-hand with that is the fact that Patricia nor Belichick trusted Jones to take any chances.

There were countless third-and-longs or scenarios that called for pushing the ball down field where the Patriots opted for a draw up the middle or a safe screen with little big-play potential.

This unsureness led to Mac Jones growing increasingly frustrated with the coaching staff, Matt Patricia in particular. From shots of Jones arguing with him on the sideline, to comments in post game interviews, it was clear Jones felt he was being underutilized.

Rightfully so. Coming off of a rookie season that looked worth the first-round pick New England used, Jones likely expected to be more of a focal point of the offense.

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Instead, they kept the training wheels on without making many attempts to improve Mac’s surroundings, ultimately causing a rift between Jones and the coaching staff.

Another mediocre receiving corps, a much worse plan of attack, and an unreliable offensive line was all that Jones was given.

While there’s much to address for the Patriots these problems are highly fixable, and if they can revamp the offense Mac Jones will succeed.

Matt Patricia was relieved of his duties as OC and the search is on, good start. New England should look for a more modern risk-taker. Someone in who will challenge Jones to improve. Taking him out of the comfort zone that has been established for him.

As far as weapons go, there are multiple top-tier receivers that have recently become available via trade or free agency. Players such as Deandre Hopkins, Keenan Allen, and Tee Higgins have all been rumored to be up for grabs. A player of this caliber would go a long way in opening up New England’s offense while also giving Mac Jones a security blanket.

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Bring in a competent OC, acquire a legitimate threat at wide receiver, and give Jones a longer leash to make plays.

If the Patriots fix all of these blemishes around Jones and he still isn’t producing at an acceptable level, then it will be time to consider other options.

Until then, we have only seen two seasons of Jones. It would be unwise to move off of him still on his rookie deal without seeing how he performs with an adequate supporting cast.

Give Mac Jones the tools and see what he can really do before you write him off.