New England Patriots' quarterback Mac Jones struggled quite a bit in year two. Can he bounce back enough to win the CPoY award? There are a handful of candidates for this award each year. Geno Smith, the Seattle Seahawks' QB, took this award home last year.
Patriots' QB Mac Jones is surely a viable candidate to win the award in 2023. Jones was very good as a rookie and it seemed like a foregone conclusion that he was settled in as the long-term starter for the Patriots.
Then, 2022 struck. De-facto OC Matt Patricia implemented a poorly designed and executed offense, which brought the entire unit down. Now, in 2023, the Patriots are entrusting former staffer Bill O'Brien to awaken what was a top 10 scoring offense in 2021.
With the addition of O'Brien, a legitimate and established offensive mind, Mac Jones will have one of the best situations to play in as a young QB. BOB has worked with and developed young QBs during his career in the NFL and in college football.
This should be some cautious optimism for the fans and could have a domino effect on the rest of the offense. We should see improved offensive line play. We could then see a more efficient run game and the OL should then be able to keep Mac Jones upright in the pocket.
If the run game is solid, teams will have to respect the run, which should then open up opportunities in the passing game.
The Patriots also added three weapons to the offense in free agency. They signed JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mike Gesicki, and James Robinson. Each player could end up having a notable role in the offense in 2023, and each player is an upgrade over who they took over for.
Another reason why Mac Jones could win the Comeback Player of the Year award is because he was quite bad in 2022. He threw for 14 touchdowns against 11 interceptions for an 84.8 passer rating. While he wasn't unplayable, he was noticeably worse than he was in his rookie year.
I'd also add that Jones came in as a rookie, won the starting job, and helped lead the team to a top scoring offense in the NFL. I don't think we talk about that enough. Finding that type of success as a rookie QB in the NFL is unbelievably rare.
It seems somewhat possible that Jones can return to and build off of his rookie season. He was so good as a rookie with competent coaching. Well, he has competent coaching again in year three. What if this 2023 season is the year that Mac Jones breaks out?
His strong performance in year three could have been a "what could have been" for his year two had Josh McDaniels not gone to the Las Vegas Raiders.
I would not bet money on Jones winning the CPoY award, but it's a possibility.