Some New England Patriots news and notes on this Tuesday:
Defensive Players Calling Jones Out?
Obviously, it’s been a rough couple of weeks for Mac Jones, who it appears has seen some of his recent troubles extend onto the practice field.
According to The MMQB’s Albert Breer, Jones has apparently been having moments in practice against his own defense that were red flags, which is starting to cause guys around him to lose confidence.
“It feels to me like a team that knows it doesn’t have a chance. A team that somewhere in the back of its head knows that no matter how well it plays, it doesn’t have the horses to win,” said Breer. “And no matter how well its quarterback plays, he doesn’t have the juice to be able to pull up everybody around him.”
“This is something that showed up in practice. What we saw against Dallas, what we saw against New Orleans, has shown up from Mac Jones in practice to the point where defensive players have called it out in practice and said, ‘You can’t do that, that’s going to get picked off, that’s going to create a turnover.’ And the fact it’s happening in games is a problem and it’s going to cause the team to lose confidence in its quarterback.”
“I don’t sense a lot of internal confidence in Mac Jones right now. The way I look at it, they have 12 games left to figure out whether or not he’s the quarterback of the future. So they better do what they can to try to get his confidence back to the point where they can get a clear read on who he is.”
If true, that’s certainly not great news. Obviously, Jones has regressed dramatically compared to the first three weeks of the season, and the fact that this appears to be happening against his own defense is concerning, especially given how bad things have been the last two weeks.
Numbers are Ugly
What’s sort of crazy is the fact that over the first few weeks, Jones was off to his best statistical three-game start of his career, even despite the losses against both Philadelphia and Miami.
During that stretch, he was 81-of-125 (64.8%) for 748 yards with 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
Since then, it’s been a disaster. Over the last two games Jones is 24-of-43 (55.8%) for 260 yards with 0 TDs and 4 interceptions.
The third-down totals are brutal, and they weren’t great even over the first three games of the season.
Over the first three weeks, Jones was 19-of-36 (52.8%) for 185 yards and an interception on third down, with just 12 passing first downs. The last two games he’s just 6-of-16 (37.5%) for 121 yards, 0 TDs, and an interception, with 4 passing first downs.
Bailey Zappe isn’t much better at 1-of-7. So that essentially tells you that some of what’s going on extends beyond the quarterback, which we’ve clearly seen given their issues up front along the offensive line and the lack of separation in the passing game.
Greg Bedard of Boston Sports Journal was also on NBC Sports Boston last night, and he said there are issues where even the most simple things don’t seem to be working right now, which is a concern.
“The big thing for me, looking at this team, if the Patriots ran the ball well, if Bailey Zappe came in and was effective, I’d be like, ‘O.K., I understand where the problem is,'” said Greg Bedard of Boston Sports Journal. “The problem is, nothing is working on this offense. Nothing is easy at all. They can’t even run block.”
“In years past when Josh McDaniels was here, Bill talks about starting over, they would go back to basics. ‘So many runs until we gain a first down and then we’re going to throw the ball.’ Or little boot action, easy throws. They started off the game today, Rhamondre Stevenson ran for 7 or 8 yards. Then they threw two like 15-yard passes down the field. That’s not simple. That’s not inching your quarterback along, giving him breadcrumbs back to success.”
Lack of Talent Still The Big Issue
One thing that also was talked about by Breer was the fact that the club, specifically Bill Belichick, hasn’t shown any urgency when it comes to the offensive side of the football, and he cites last week’s acquisition of J.C. Jackson as a prime example.
“I still think it goes back to the talent on the roster,” said Breer. “They whistled by the graveyard through April and May and June, and to me, the J.C. Jackson thing is kind of telling, right? Like, you lose a corner, and all of a sudden, pull the fire alarm and go find a replacement, right? Where was the urgency they showed at corner last week at offensive tackle in March, at receiver in April, right?”
“You see the way other teams address these sorts of positions. The Chiefs went and signed a $20 million tackle and then signed another veteran left tackle in the offseason. You see what the Eagles did to upgrade their receiver position over the last couple of years.”
“The good teams in the league have treated offensive positions with urgency, Bill doesn’t seem to do that and that’s the reason why you’re in this position.”
He’s not wrong. That’s an issue many people echoed throughout the offseason and the feeling was while they weren’t great, they may have potentially at least had enough to make it through the season.
Instead, injuries have crept up and it’s cost them. The biggest one may have been Marcus Jones, who the club likely considered an additional weapon in the offense and his loss has taken that away. Jones was lost to a torn labrum back in Week two against Miami and played just one snap on offense back in Week 1 against Philadelphia.
The club still potentially has Tyquan Thornton and Kayshon Boutte as additional weapons who might be called upon soon, especially with both Demario Douglas and JuJu Smith-Schuster ending up in concussion protocol on Sunday. Whether or not they’ll be able to make a difference is obviously the big question.
It’s obvious, based on what we’ve seen, that this is a club devoid of talent on offense and it remains a giant question mark as Belichick tries to figure a way out after two horrific losses.
Jones Denies Fox Sports Report
Following Sunday’s report on FoxSports where Henry McKenna cited a quote from someone close to Jones where he’s frustrated by the lack of weapons, Jones denied that during his Weekly appearance on Jones and Mego with Arcand on Monday.
In the report, McKenna reported he was told, “No matter how good of a cook you are, you cannot make garbage taste good,” citing a source close to Jones after the game. “Even if it was not Mac at QB, what QB would want to play here under these conditions?”
Jones completely denied any knowledge of that on Monday.
“I didn’t see that,” said Jones. “I don’t do social media. But I try to stay off and eliminate the noise. But yeah, I disagree with that. I think we have a really talented group of guys that I’ve been fortunate to work with for this whole offseason and through the season, some guys for three or four years. I’ve been a part of a great organization. So I definitely disagree with that. I didn’t hear that or see that. Like I said, I never try to focus on the outside noise.”
“I’ve never come on here in the media and talked about my personal life. I think the biggest thing is everyone’s in this together, like I said, and we have the right people to do it. It’s football, right? That’s what you want to do. You want to bring your team together and that’s what I’m going to focus on in terms of my football life.”
Either way, it definitely feels like he needs to turn things around sooner than later if he hopes to remain under center in the coming weeks.
Posted Under: Patriots News