Things looked extremely uneasy and tense throughout the year for Mac Jones and the New England Patriots. The 2021 first-round pick was brought in to be the Patriots' next franchise quarterback but that never reached that full potential.
In his rookie campaign, Jones completed 67% of his throws for 3,801 passing yards and 22 touchdowns, which all ranked first among all rookie quarterbacks in 2021.
It seemed to take a turn when Bill Belichick gave the offensive reigns to Matt Patricia in 2022, who's been a defensive coach for the majority of his career. The offensive philosophy changed under Patricia's watch and Jones' play dramatically plummeted.
That slide carried into 2023 with Bill O'Brien calling the shots on offense. Jones' mental makeup took a significant toll over the past two years and that trickled down onto his play. The 25-year-old took more chances which resulted in more turnovers. Something Belichick hated because he preaches playing mistake-free football.
In 2023, Jones only threw for 2,120 yards with 10 passing scores and a putrid 12 interceptions. He was even benched four separate times but the situation is worse than it seems.
According to Mark Daniels of MassLive, Jones was demoted to third string in the season-finale bout against the New York Jets but he was never notified by the coaching staff. Instead, Jones found out he would be the team's emergency quarterback when the Patriots released the inactive list 90 minutes before kickoff.
Fans knew something was going on behind the scenes but no one could have imagined it being so bad. It's very alarming that Jones and the coaching staff weren't on speaking terms. Even though there is new leadership over in Foxborough, it's anyone's best guess if Jones will be returning in 2024.
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