As the Patriots prepare for the start of the 2023 regular season, it appears some media members are still stuck in the past, asking former players their opinion about how New England fared last season.
Although it's not an unwarranted line of questioning, it feels like an excuse to continue the blame game and continue negativity stemming from an already overly discussed season.
From the torching of Matt Patricia's performance that hindered the entire Patriots' offense and the questionable decisions made by Bill Belichick to re-hire him and Joe Judge to questioning if Mac Jones is fit enough to be a quarterback in the NFL because of his poor performance and frustration laced outbursts. It feels like it all has been talked about and scrutinized far longer than it needed to be at this point.
However, apparently not everyone feels that way.
On a recent episode of Tom E. Curran's "Patriots Talk Podcast", Super Bowl Champion Matt Light was a guest and, for some reason, was asked about his thoughts and feelings regarding Mac Jones' criticized behavior during last season.
"I like the way his rookie season ended. I like the way that he approached the game there. I don't like what I saw last season for a lot of reasons. And as an offensive lineman, I don't ever want the guy behind me to ever put himself in a position that Mac did. Just in terms of the antics, the optics."
Maybe Light hasn't shared his opinions on the matter yet, but is it really necessary to have this conversation mere days before the start of the new season? A season in which Jones has worked tirelessly to regain the respect of his coaches and teammates all summer long?
At least Curran thinks so, and Light went into a lot of detail regarding his thoughts on how Jones has performed and behaved through his two years with the Patriots.
After complimenting how he presented himself as a rookie, Light's opinion became harsher when he discussed the shift in Jones' attitude last season, citing Tom Brady's poise as a reason for the quarterback to handle himself better on the field.
"It's bigger than you, Mac. It always has been for the organizations and the individuals that do it at the highest level. By the way, not for nothing, you don't think that Tom Brady had the right to do that? But about five years into his 20-year career. And Mac's doing this one year in?
So that's number one. I was disappointed in how that played out during the regular season. And I think it opened up the door to be a distraction for everyone else in that locker room. So he can't do those things."
The Brady argument is valid but also unfair for Jones.
It's already difficult enough for any quarterback to step into Gillette Stadium as the next quarterback for the Patriots after all that Brady accomplished there. The expectations placed upon Jones are incredibly higher than had he played elsewhere in the league. He's compared enough to Brady because they both played for the Patriots, although they're very different players.
There's no need to compare their attitudes and behavior on the field at very different times in the NFL and under vastly different circumstances.
After laying on the harsh take, Light turned his attention to the upcoming season. He shared his belief in Jones's talent but agrees that there is a lot of pressure on him to perform this year, emphasizing leaving the outbursts off the field.
"Do I think he's talented? Yeah, for sure. I know he's talented. But this will be the year to see, can he put aside the things that can really make a workplace difficult and just focus on being the best version of himself that he can possibly be?"
The 2023 season will be a big one for the Patriots as an organization, but it's clear the majority of the focus will primarily be on Belichick and Jones for their performances.
Both were harshly criticized for what transpired last season, warranted and not, leaving little room for mistakes this upcoming season. Hopefully, we'll see a major turnaround for the team and get back to the success we've grown to love in New England, not just because the fans want it, but Belichick and Jones will certainly need it.