New England Patriots coaches were ‘instructed not to be too hard’ on Mac Jones

After leading the New England Patriots to the playoffs, while earning a Pro Bowl nod (after several others bowed out), Mac Jones‘ arrow was pointed straight up after his rookie season. While he didn’t show flashes of becoming a high-volume passer as someone like Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen, Jones showed he could lead an efficient offense that plays within the scheme.

In 2022, that progress was stifled when the Patriots lost Josh McDaniels as their offensive coordinator and play-caller. Jones and the entire offense regressed, going from a unit that scored the sixth-most points in football to one that ranked 17th in the NFL.

Many wanted to point the blame at coaching, with Bill Belichick opting to empower Joe Judge and Matt Patricia with positions on the offensive side of the ball as opposed to working with the special teams or defensive units as they had in the past.

Others might suggest the Patriots didn’t do enough to provide their young quarterback with enough weapons capable of creating separation in 2022. Whatever the reason for their step back, the Patriots haven’t soured on the 15th overall pick from the 2021 NFL Draft.

But his teammate, Devin McCourty, recently appeared on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” and spoke openly about Jones and his tenure with the Patriots, suggesting New England’s operation knows “the future is Mac Jones.”

While that very well may be true, the Patriots still have some quirks to work out with their QB.

According to Henry McKenna of Fox Sports, team sources with the Pats relayed that coaches “were instructed not to be too hard on Jones in an effort to protect him from being too critical of himself.” This contradicts what Jones spoke of in December when he noted he actually wanted to be coached harder.

Yet, as McKenna states, there was reportedly “an issue in 2021” when Jones “struggled after getting yelled at.” This led some to wonder if going easy on the QB was a mistake.

Now that Bill O’Brien has been brought back on as the team’s offensive coordinator, he’ll be tasked with working closely with Jones, hoping to maximize the former first-round pick’s potential. Whether Jones will be coached hard enough? That likely won’t be a concern for the man they call “The Teapot.” Let’s just hope Jones takes the constructive criticism well this time around.

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