The New England Patriots couldn’t have been happier about how things went for Mac Jones as a rookie. He drove the team to the playoffs, showing poise and accuracy. And in addition to that, he showed he could throw it long, although the team did not ask him to do it that much. He got rewarded with a trip to the Pro Bowl.
But, as BetOnline customers surely noticed, there was a regression in Year 2. Granted, part of it involved injuries, as Jones sat out some time with an ankle sprain. But there were other things that weren’t right.
For one thing, there really wasn’t an offensive coordinator. Head coach Bill Belichick had lost Josh McDaniels to the Las Vegas Raiders. And in the wake of that he decided to leave the play-calling to Matt Patricia. And it was strange that the former defensive coordinator would be running things on the other side of the ball. It worked out about as well as Patricia’s head coaching stint in Detroit.
The results weren’t the same in 2022
Jones wasn’t very consistent when he was healthy, and fans in Foxborough got very enthusiastic about Bailey Zappe. The rookie out of Western Kentucky had some nice marks after two games. And Belichick wasn’t doing much to calm down the “quarterback controversy.” That could have been a big blow to Jones’ confidence. And it probably was.
It probably reached its low point in a Monday Night Football game against the Chicago Bears. Jones led the team nowhere on two drives and proceeded to throw an interception on the third, and got benched for Zappe. And if the rookie hadn’t made a bunch of mistakes of his own, he may have been able to unseat Jones on a “permanent” basis.
When all was said and done, Jones had thrown 14 touchdown passes with eleven interceptions. And that is not going to keep a team in contention in this day and age.
So…. what to do with Mac Jones?
That left some questions as to what would bleed over into the off-season. After all, there were going to be a lot of quarterbacks on the move. One of those, in fact, was Jimmy Garoppolo, who since leaving the Pats had led the Niners to a Super Bowl and an NFC title game. And there were possibilities in the draft if New England was lucky enough to come across one in the 14-slot.
There was a change on the coaching staff. Patricia left to take a defensive assistant job with the Philadelphia Eagles. And Belichick reached out for Bill O’Brien to take over the offense. O’Brien had been an assistant previously in New England. He was also the head coach at Penn State and with the Houston Texans. And he had spent the last two seasons as the offensive coordinator under Nick Saban at Alabama. He had arrived after Jones’ playing career in Tuscaloosa had ended.
O’Brien offers vote of confidence…. sort of
One of the first things O’Brien said was that Jones was going to have a “clean slate.” Presumably, that means that whatever happened last season was not going to be held against him.
His quotes from a press conference: “It’s really not anything about what’s gone on in the past. That’s one of our themes on offense — to move forward.”
If that’s real, that’s important to Jones, who let his emotions get a little out of control last year. He also reportedly clashed with Belichick. And the rumor was that the head coach might be looking to unload him.
Currently, Bailey Zappe is listed as the backup quarterback on the Patriots depth chart. Trace McSorley, who has previously played for Baltimore and Arizona, is the #3 guy. There really isn’t any reason to believe that Zappe won’t be given every opportunity to win the job in camp.
The over-under on victories for the Pats is 7.5 (Under -130 / Over +100). They are +700 to win the AFC East and +5000 to win the Super Bowl at BetOnline, where you can wager on NFL Futures and NFL Props to your heart’s content. And they make it VERY easy to open up an account; all you have to do is use your credit card or any of the virtual plethora of cryptocurrency options they’ve got to explore!