Mac Jones becomes a top-5 candidate for Comeback Player of the Year
It would be easy to suggest that Mac Jones is not the franchise quarterback for the New England Patriots. For most of last season, he looked like anything but. But changes around his support staff should put him in a position for a career year. Maybe enough to get consideration for a certain award.
One gambling site has Jones with the 50th-best odds of being the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Jones should be higher. A lot higher.
If a player returns from a season-ending injury or a medical situation, the chances of making this list are incredibly high. Or if a star player returns to form after a disastrous year, he will get strong consideration.
So it’s not surprising that Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who nearly died on the field after collapsing during a Monday Night Football game, is the favorite. And Houston Texans receiver John Metchie III starting his pro career after beating leukemia is a great story worthy of being high on the list.
Then there are the Pro Bowl players who were straight trash last year, like the Denver Broncos’ Russell Wilson and the Cleveland Browns’ Deshaun Watson. We know what they’re capable of. If they return to that level of play, they will get CPOY votes.
Jones was bad, but he wasn’t atrocious like Wilson and Watson. But if Jones is dramatically better in 2023, he could rocket up the CPOY board.
We should be confident in the difference offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien can have for Jones. And even without a marquee name in the receiver corps, the group is better than people give them credit for. Jones could thrive in this environment and put up some big numbers.
He’s going to have to. The season starts with the reigning NFC Champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, followed by the talented Miami Dolphins, the Aaron Rodgers-led New York Jets, and the star-studded Dallas Cowboys. Jones will have to put up some points for the Patriots to have a chance against these teams.
That will be the story for the 2023 season, as the Patriots have the toughest schedule in the NFL. Jones reverting to the performance of his rookie year won’t be good enough.
Jones won’t win CPOY, but if he finishes with 30-plus touchdowns and ten interceptions or less, it should be enough to be in the top five at some point. And if Jones has a great year, the New England Patriots will have a great year. So great that…