Michael Irvin’s criticism of Mac Jones will only motivate Patriots even more

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 18: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 18: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots were slapped in the face by the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday, as Mac Jones threw two interceptions and a previously stout defense was unable to corral Jonathan Taylor and a Colts offense that very rarely took to the air with Carson Wentz.

Jones was uncharacteristically reckless, as he was intercepted twice and forced to play from behind for the entire game as a result. This was a major change for a quarterback who was used to playing with a lead thanks to both a strong running attack and defense.

Jones haters who claim that he’s merely a passenger along for the ride on the New England team were given new life even though the QB was fresh off winning seven consecutive games. NFL analyst Michael Irvin joined the anti-Jones crowd after the loss.

Irvin claimed that Jones, who is 9-5 as a rookie quarterback while helping the offense take a huge step forward from last season, can’t carry this team on his arm alone. This makes us wonder how many Patriots games Irvin has watched closely this season.

Mac Jones is capable of leading the Patriots, sorry Michael Irvin.

Jones is completing 68% of his passes at a time when Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, and Zach Wilson are all struggling. Jones isn’t allowed to have one two-game stretch where he isn’t unbelievable? Do we need to remind everyone that he was one of the best quarterbacks in the league in November?

The only players with a higher completion percentage than Jones are Tua Tagovailoa, who is operating an offense so basic and neutered that they don’t trust him to throw the ball four feet beyond the line of scrimmage, and the quarterback of the NFC West-favorite Cardinals in Kyler Murray.

While Jones’ development has been accelerated, it can be easy to forget he is a rookie. Expecting perfection out of him and making blanket statements about how unfit he is to lead this team despite the fact his play counteracts those narratives makes no sense. What exactly is Irvin expecting?

Jones probably won’t throw for 400 yards. He’s just not that type of player at this point in his career. However, he has proven he can beat some of the best teams in the league by avoiding turnovers and getting the ball out of his hands quickly.

While that might not impress Irvin, Jones will get plenty of chances to show that he is both an elite rookie quarterback and a player capable of making noise in the winter months.