The New England Patriots don’t play in Week 11, which some might say is a good thing because it means they can’t lose on Sunday. There’s no denying the Patriots’ season has been an all-out disaster. They’re 2-8 and are currently set for the third overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Mac Jones hasn’t shown any growth in his third season as the Patriots’ starting QB. Some might even suggest the 25-year-old is on track for the worst year of his NFL career. He’s throwing interceptions at the highest rate of his career, and the Patriots score the second-fewest points per game in the NFL (14.1 PPG).
The odd part is that Jones and the Patriots actually got off to a hot start this season. Across the first three weeks, Jones completed 64.8 percent of his passes, averaged 249.3 YPG, and had five touchdowns and two interceptions. The Patriots were also just 1-2 and averaged just 17.3 points per game, but they also took on difficult opponents in Philadelphia, Miami, and the New York Jets.
Since Week 3, we’ve seen Jones’s play drop off drastically. He’s still completing 65.8 percent of his passes, but for just 183.2 YPG while tossing five touchdowns and eight interceptions across seven starts, while scoring just 12.7 points per game.
So what’s been the issue with Jones this season? NFL insider Albert Breer’s Patriots sources indicate that their young QB may be experiencing a classic case of the yips.
“They’re concerned that now he has the yips. So you know, this is really tangled up right now. He’s not making great decisions, he’s not playing with great mechanics, he’s not playing good football whatsoever. And so the problem the Patriots have right now is there’s not another great answer on the roster between Bailey, Zappe and Will Grier. So what do they do?”NFL insider Albert Breer on ‘The Herd with Colin Cowherd’
The yips? That’s a common occurrence for baseball players of the past, and sometimes golfers too, but NFL quarterbacks who were recently drafted in the first round? That’s a new one.
It doesn’t matter what you want to call it. The Patriots need to figure out how to lead a more productive offense sooner rather than later. While it may not mean much for this season, the Patriots can’t afford to enter the 2024 season without a better plan in place than Mac Jones, Bailey Zappe, Will Grier, and Malik Cunningham, especially if Jones has “the yips.”