Mac Jones could take step back in 2022 with Patriots’ coaching turnover
By Mike Luciano
The New England Patriots did an amazing job of supporting rookie quarterback Mac Jones, as their ability to build the offense around his strengths and provide him with tons of high-level coaching is a big reason why they returned to the postseason and Jones was named a Pro Bowler.
Unfortunately, Jones won’t be so lucky in 2022, as many members of his support system are bolting New England. Despite the fact that he is drawing the ire of Bill Belichick, former Patriots offensive coordinator and new Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels is filling out his coaching staff by plucking former Pats assistants.
McDaniels hired wide receivers coach Mick Lombardi and offensive assistant Bo Hardegree to serve as his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in Las Vegas. Offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo is taking the same position with the Raiders. So far, the only hire the Pats have made on offense is the underwhelming Joe Judge.
Could Jones be in for a big sophomore slump? On top of the fact that defenses have more tape on him and can exploit his weaknesses, most of the structure around him on offense is leaving to help Derek Carr get the Raiders back into the postseason.
Will Mac Jones take a step backward for the New England Patriots?
This issue can be solved by hiring an up-and-coming assistant from another team or bringing back a recently fired coach with success as a play-caller to lead the offensive staff. However, Belichick has been a bit inconsistent when it comes to hiring coaches with no Patriots ties.
The list of candidates that have been mentioned as McDaniels replacements borders on parody. On top of Matt Patricia shifting over to the offensive side of the ball, some reporters have tossed around former Jets head coaching failure Adam Gase as one potential option. Do you want the guy who ruined Sam Darnold around Jones?
All of this is bad for the former Alabama star. While they’ll likely try to run an approximation of the McDaniels’ offense, losing someone who played a part in making Tom Brady as good as he was could have a tangible impact on Jones’ play. Don’t expect him to have everything figured out in his second season.
2022 will be a pivotal year for Jones as he tries to develop into a quality all-around quarterback. If he has some struggles out of the gate, the whispers about him being a one-year wonder and a product of the McDaniels system are going to get even louder.