Starting quarterback Mac Jones and the new-look New England Patriots offense have not looked good at all to begin an important next month at the team’s training camp.
After being selected 15th overall by the Patriots in the 2021 NFL Draft, Jones was surprisingly thrust into the difficult position of being a rookie starting quarterback for one of the most prestigious franchises in the NFL. It was an unexpected decision for head coach Bill Belichick but a necessary one for an organization looking to quickly develop their next franchise QB and get back to their winning ways.
Fortunately for Belichick and his staff, Jones delivered. Leading the team to a 10-7 record and a return to the playoffs. However, Jones was able to succeed early on under the tutelage of long-time Patriots offensive guru Josh McDaniels. A pass game genius who departed this offseason to become the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.
However, in filling the position New England has chosen to go with a confusing coach by committee approach to lead the offense in 2022. Instead of making returning assistants, and former head coaches, Joe Judge and Matt Patricia the offensive coordinator, Patricia has officially been dubbed the senior football advisor/offensive line coach, while Judge will serve as an offensive assistant/quarterbacks coach.
The oddball assignments to start the team’s 2022 training camp have not been a stroke of genius thus far and have actually led to an early regression of the offense and their young QB.
New England Patriots and Mac Jones’ start to training camp ‘concerning’
On Monday, Providence Journal Patriots beat writer Mark Daniels explained the early struggles of the offense and how it has happened in spite of drills that give them a lot of advantages.
In the report, Daniels explains that following an impressive showing in voluntary camps in the spring, where Jones hit on 87% of his throws, he has slipped all the way down to 52% in the final two days of practice last week. On the final day, he threw two interceptions during 11-on-11 drills that led to “large chunks of offensive inefficiency and a peeved Jones, who quickly left Saturday’s session instead of sticking around on the practice field like he usually does.”
Through Monday’s practice, Jones had three interceptions and has hovered in the 50% range on his passes each day. Daniels also adds that there have also been issues where Jones and his receivers lack chemistry. Even going 0-10 on passes to rookie Bailey Zappe in one rough practice.
- Mac Jones stats (2021): 3,801 passing yards, 22 TD, 13 INT, 92.5 rating
The fact that the team did not promote from within for the offensive coordinator role, or hire an experienced coach, always seemed like a questionable decision for the team. With no clear coordinator now, and Patricia and Judge not having proven histories of play calling, there seems to be serious trouble brewing in New England.