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New England Patriots Friday suspensions latest proof of locker room dysfunction

new england patriots
Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Friday brought the latest installment in what has been a shockingly dysfunctional New England Patriots locker room during their 2022-2023 campaign.

For the last two decades, the Patriots have been the leading example of what a well-organized and winning locker room should look like. Even with the departure of future Hall-of-Famer Tom Brady a few years ago, the team maintained a competitive level of play and even reached the playoffs with a rookie quarterback in Mac Jones last year.

However, this season has been a completely different story. They got off to an odd start when they made Matt Patricia — a coach without notable play-calling experience — the team’s new offensive coordinator. And head coach Bill Belichick’s penchant for not giving decisive answers opened the door to a QB controversy more than once this season.

Not to mention, there was that historically bad last-second loss to the Raiders in Week 15 that was an elite level of miscommunication and bad coaching. Something we haven’t seen often from the Patriots over the last 20 years.

Also Read: NFL QB Rankings: Tom Brady comes back to life with 400-yard effort

While the 8-8 New England Patriots are still in the hunt for an AFC playoff spot heading into Week 18, this has not been a vintage Patriots squad and it has opened the door to the idea of a New England franchise without Belichick leading them.

On Friday, we got the latest installment to this odd season with some surprise suspensions.

New England Patriots suspend two players over miscommunications

new england patriots
Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, it was announced that the New England Patriots had placed punter Jake Bailey and rookie Jack Jones on the reserve/suspended list. The move was unexpected, especially in the case of Bailey who just returned from injured reserve on Dec. 21 and had participated in parts of practices over the last two weeks.

Yet the reason for the Patriots’ decision seems even odder. On Friday, ESPN reported that “the team suspension is due, in part, to differing viewpoints on if Bailey was ready to return to game action.”

In the case of Jones — who was placed on IR last week despite telling reporters earlier in the month he didn’t believe his knee injury was anything serious — the outlet reported that “a source said the [Jones] suspension is related, in part, to Jones being fined by the team for missing rehabilitation appointments.”

Essentially, both suspensions were based on a level of miscommunication between a couple of players and the team. Differing opinions on health or missed appointments are not unusual on a team, but for that to lead to suspensions that could endanger game checks for both players, after the New England Patriots reverted their suspensions to Dec. 31, is.

It is also a bad look for the organization in what has been a season filled with head-scratching decisions and moments.