The New England Patriots added another brutal loss against the Colts this past Sunday, moving to a 2-8 record on the season. In the final two minutes of the game in Germany, Patriots quarterback Mac Jones was benched once again. This time he was faced with offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien in his ear about missing easy options in the red zone.
The Patriots struggles result from numerous components: the team’s lackluster offensive line, poor offseason signings, and coaching staff turmoil. Most notably, however, is the ruination of their starting quarterback Mac Jones.
All season long the narrative surrounding Mac Jones has pointed to the team’s lack of offensive weapons and little protection from the offensive line. NBC Sports Boston reporter Mike Giardi thinks it is time to stop pretending that Mac Jones is a high-level quarterback.
“You’re not Pat Mahomes, you’re not Josh Allen, you’re not Joe Burrow. You are at the bottom third of the league in arm strength. Some people say he’s at the bottom in terms of starting quarterbacks. So, I don’t know if it’s that bad, but like, you can’t do that, but yet you keep doing it,” said Mike Giardi.
Greg Bedard and Mike Giardi discuss how Mac Jones’ inability to play any sort of inspiring football has led to the downfall of the Patriots on the latest episode of the Greg Bedard Patriots Podcast.
Mac Jones is broken. For the past 4-6 weeks, the New England Patriots battle loss after loss and the one thing that remains constant is that Mac Jones just can’t get it going. “[Mac Jones] has been playing losing football now since outside of the fourth quarter against the Bills for basically five or six weeks on end,” said Greg Bedard.
When you look at the Patriots, their defense is what primarily keeps them in games. Greg Bedard and Mike Giardi shared their perspective on what the conversation in the locker room from head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien was as their team was down 7-3 to the Indianapolis Colts at halftime.
“Play conservative on offense, don’t turn the ball over, make a few plays here and there when you can. But otherwise, the defense is gonna win this game for us and special teams,” said Greg Bedard.
The most troubling concern for the Patriots right now is that the team’s faith in Mac Jones has dwindled so much that players are starting to give up on him. “They play scared of their quarterback,” said Mike Giardi.
Mac Jones was sacked five times in the first half of the Colts game on Sunday. Although he might not have abundant protection, at some point Jones needs to look at himself to step up and start playing better. Jones’ incapability to throw in the Red Zone, handing off passes to his teammates shows the distrust in him as a quarterback by his team. When he does finally make throws, with each attempt he gets worse and cannot convert.
“There are players that don’t believe that Mac should be the starter going forward… I don’t believe he has the belief of the coaching staff,” says Mike Giardi.
In a post game press conference covered by Giardi, he notes that Bill Belichick commented on thoughts that he should play younger guys to see what he can get out of them. Belichick said he could not put players out there they did not earn the right to be out there in practice and that the team did not trust. Mike Giardi thinks this was a subtle jab at Mac Jones.
“And to me, he was talking about Mac Jones without talking about Mac Jones. I think they’ve gotten to the point now where when they look at Mac, even with the things wrong around him, they say, boy, he, he can’t elevate and in fact, he continues to go deeper and deeper into this hole… I think running him out there next week after the bye against the Giants would send a really bad message to the rest of the players,” uttered Giardi.
Week after week, Mac Jones has been unable to convert in the red zone, is sacked more times than imaginable, and simply looks lost out of the field as a quarterback. Jones has been benched several times this season, and with his own teammates now beginning to question his role going forward, all signs are pointing to Mac Jones not being a starting quarterback anymore.