Julian Edelman praises Patriots Bill O’Brien, Mac Jones

ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 08: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots during the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium on January 08, 2023 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 08: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots during the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium on January 08, 2023 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Patriots received a lot of harsh criticism during the 2022 season; from former players to the media to even (allegedly) Robert Kraft, the heat was on for a massive shakeup this offseason.

Although Matt Patricia received the most blame throughout the year, a lot of condemnation was also thrown in Mac Jones’ way. His on-field performance was critiqued, and his behavior became a talking point for most watching the season unfold.

Among the retired Patriots who consistently voiced their displeasure with the team overall, but especially about Jones, was Julian Edelman.

The 11-year veteran is accustomed to a very different season than what’s taken place in New England since Tom Brady left in 2020 and reiterated his feelings throughout the year. He shared his feelings on Jones’ performance many times during the season and his in-game outbursts, even doubling down when asked.

But his outlook has changed since the offseason began, particularly after Bill Belichick re-hired former offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.

Earlier this week, Edelman was at the grand opening of the Encore Boston Harbor’s sportsbook, as sports gambling was legalized in Massachusetts. To follow up on his appearance, he posted a Q&A on Thursday in partnership with bookies.com, discussing what the Patriots players should look for when being coached by O’Brien.

"“They call him ‘Tea Pot’ for a reason. He used to yell at me a lot. In my rookie year, it was me that he would just get on. But Billy O’s the kind of guy that if he shows you attention, if he’s yelling at you, that means he loves you. In the times that he’s not talking to you, or if he’s not yelling at you, that’s when you’ve got to be worried. He’s a very emotional guy, but I’m sure he’s got so much more experience than when I had him. He was a head coach. He got to go over to Alabama and see how things were in there. He’s going to have so much more experience. And I mean, he was a great offensive coordinator back then. I think he’s going to be having no issue.”"

He also shared what he feels will be the biggest benefits of having O’Brien back in the New England system, detailing how well the pairing of O’Brien and Belichick will be for the season ahead.

"“He’s a tough coach. He’s gonna tell you how he sees it. The thing that I like about Billy O. is, it’s going to allow Bill Belichick to really focus on everything else and on the team. I felt like the little things slipped away this last year. Little details. Special teams. Situation-type football. A lot of brain farts. This allows (Belichick) to sit there and say: ‘All right Billy O., I know what Billy O. is. He’s a former head coach, (Belichick) can bounce ideas off him. (Belichick) can think of the macro on offense. (Belichick) can focus on the macro. That’s why (Belichick) is the best. He had his foot in everything last year. It’s taken him away from looking at the full piece.”"

As far as Mac Jones goes? Edelman stepped back a bit from his previous takes. He expressed his understanding of the quarterback’s frustrations in his second season and believes O’Brien’s coaching will be the catalyst for Jones to have a stellar 2023 season.

"“They have a common relationship with Alabama. Guys can think and talk the same language. It’s going to be a comfortable relationship. I expect Mac to have a huge jump. Mac’s a young guy. There’s a couple guys that called him out, former Patriots, but that’s a frustrating situation that he was in. I understand and he’s learned from that. He got better as the year went on. I expect a big leap this year.”"

He ended the Q&A with some advice for Jones as he heads into next season, advising him how to get a better handle on his emotions and the expectation of working with a fellow emotional coach in O’Brien.

"“Especially with a young quarterback, you have to remember, everyone’s watching you. He got better as the year went on, but I would just say: ‘You got to keep your poise.’ Yeah, you’re a fiery guy. We all understand that. We know you love the game of football. But you’re not a receiver, you’re not a linebacker, you’re the quarterback. You’re the face of the franchise. You are the CEO of the company. So just handling that emotion is important. Billy O.?  I think he’s going to handle Mac just fine. They both like to work hard, and any time that kind of chemistry comes together, I think good things come out of it.”"