The Patriots need to give Mac Jones the support he needs to succeed as he enters his third year

A frustrating season for Patriots quarterback Mac Jones has left the team asking where it all went wrong.

The New England Patriots 2022-2023 season can be described in one word: Disaster. Just two seasons ago, Patriots quarterback Mac Jones came off a promising rookie season with 3801 yards and 22 touchdowns, leading the Patriots to the playoffs. 

He was the best rookie quarterback that season, earning him a Pro Bowl nod. A year later Jones looks like a shell of his former self and has left many fans to question if he is the right man for the job.

What Changed?

The departure of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was a big factor in the regression of Jones. In place of McDaniels, head coach Bill Belichick hired back two former coaches in Matt Patricia and Joe Judge to coach the offense. Two who had zero experience coaching offenses, leaving fans scratching their heads.

The fans were right to do so, Jones put up an abysmal display at quarterback, looking like a turnover machine. Playcalling and the system Patricia was running led to frustration within the offense. This led to Jones waving off Patricia and cursing him out in games. Patricia was not the only coach to receive hate from Jones.

In a story by the Boston Herald, it was said that Jones and Judge did not get along. During practice, Jones and Judge would trade swears at one another. As the season progressed, Jones’ hate towards Judge grew. Judge would speak loudly in meetings to project that he was the guy, according to one source in the story. 

The Patricia and Judge experiment went down in flames. Players and staff wondered if they were intentionally screwing it up. Training camp was the realization that the offense was not going to succeed. Players were told to be patient with Patricia and Judge and not each other.

Jones is at fault for his play this season as well, his poor decision-making led to many mistakes, stalling the Patriots’ offensive drives. However, when you have two coaches who know nothing about running an offense, the majority of the blame should go to them.

What’s Next?

The Patriots have already brought in a new offensive coordinator in Bill O’Brien. O’Brien was previously the offensive coordinator for the University of Alabama and was the offensive coordinator for the Patriots from 2007 to 2011.

O’Brien brings sustainability to the offense and the knowledge of coaching an offense, something the Patriots had none of last year. Most likely the old system the Patriots ran will return, but will likely include a lot more usage of the tight ends and play action. Jones exceeded in play action his first year, but the Patriots went away from it to cater to their new offensive coaches to make it simpler for them to coach the offense.


That is not the only part of the offensive coaching staff the Patriots have retooled. They have added the University of Oregon’s offensive line coach, Adrian Klemm to become their new offensive line coach.

The Patriots offensive line struggled this year giving up 41 sacks and being penalized a combined 38 times for offensive holding and false starts. Tackles Trent Brown and Isaiah Wynn played terribly and rookie guard Cole Strange looked lost at times. Klemm can hopefully whip the offensive line back in shape to give their quarterback time to throw the ball, something that has been inconsistent since the departure of Dante Scarnecchia.

For a quarterback, the third year can determine whether a team extends the contract or finds a replacement. It’s a make-or-break season for Jones. The Patriots have given Jones a true offensive coordinator, but will they now surround him with the talent he needs to succeed? 

Jones is not the flashiest quarterback in the league. He lacks mobility, arm strength, and the ability to make game-winning plays. The league has changed and quarterbacks are more mobile than they used to be and can make plays out of seemingly nothing. 

If the Patriots truly want Jones to succeed they need to surround him with talented players to make up for his weaknesses. The Eagles are a good example of this as they added star receiver A.J. Brown to their offense for their quarterback to succeed after questions came up if Jalen Hurts was the right man at quarterback. They reaped the rewards with a trip to the Super Bowl.

The question is if Belichick will want to pay top dollar and give up the assets to get that.  The Patriots could go the route they usually go and get a player they always admired. Belichick loves Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who looks to be on his way out. Other receiving options include the Los Angeles Chargers’ Keenan Allen or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Mike Evans. The two are entering their thirties and could become cap casualties for their teams to save some money.

The Patriots could go the younger route and look at players whose rookie contracts are almost up. Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins is entering the final year of his contract, and could be traded as the Bengals will have to pay other players that are key to their team such as quarterback Joe Burrow and star receiver Ja’Marr Chase. 

Denver Broncos receiver Jerry Jeudy could be of interest as well. Jeudy was roommates with Jones at Alabama, and with the Broncos in need of draft picks after trading them away for quarterback Russell Wilson and head coach Sean Payton. Jeudy may be traded to recoup the draft capita. 

The Patriots could look at the draft to find their number-one receiver. On the other hand, the Patriots have bigger needs that could be addressed with their 14th pick in the first round of the NFL Draft. Needless to say, the Patriots’ cannot draft the right receiver in the first round.

The most likely scenario is Patriots don’t do this and look to free agency to find a fringe number-one wide receiver. The Patriots could re-sign wide receiver Jakobi Meyers to keep Jones happy and deem Meyers as their number-one receiver. Be that as it may, Meyers is not the standard of a true number one.

The Patriots could look at free agent Juju Smith-Schuster who just won the Super Bowl with the Chiefs. Smith-Schuster shined with the Pittsburgh Steelers early in his career, but has regressed and looks more like a complimentary piece to a receiving group. 

The best receiver on the market is Odell Beckham Jr. who the Patriots have flirted with for a while. The problem is Beckham Jr. will be looking to join a contending team, and the Patriots look nothing like that at the moment.

The Patriots should also look at fixing their offensive line. Bringing in Klemm will help with blocking schemes and positioning for the offensive line. But, the Patriots need to add a new right tackle to the team with Wynn most likely leaving in free agency. Free agent tackles Mike McGlinchey and Orlando Brown Jr. headline this year’s tackle class. Yet, there is a chance both get franchise tagged, but if they don’t the two will be looking to get a big payday.

Luckily, the draft is loaded with tackles this year, and there should be one at 14 for the Patriots to take. The tackle class is headlined by the trio of Georgia’s Broderick Jones, Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr. and Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski. 

The offseason will tell a lot about the direction the Patriots will go. It would be disrespectful to Jones if they didn’t give him a chance to rebound after a disastrous season. The ball is now in Belichick’s court to see if he really cares about his team’s success or his own.

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