Mac Jones was pressing. The New England Patriots quarterback, selected 15th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, was supposed to be the face of the franchise. Right now, he can’t show his face in the region.
Either that, or he’s burying his face in a towel after another bad decision resulted in another turnover.
A season that started with a lot of promise to fulfill his potential has Patriot Nation wanting Jones, or any quarterback, to fail to ensure a top draft selection. His career with the Patriots might be over, as Bailey Zappe is scheduled to start against the Los Angeles Chargers.
The media didn’t see Jones get a single snap during practice, with Malik Cunningham taking second-team reps.
In Jones’ efforts to hold on to the starting job, it's fair to say he sabotaged himself.
Mac Jones became his own worst enemy, and he torpedoed his New England Patriots career
Let’s be clear. This season isn’t all Jones’ fault. If his teammates made a few more plays, the discussion about Jones would be drastically different. Fans may still want to replace him but wouldn’t want to throw Jones off of Gillette Stadium’s brand-new lighthouse.
The coaching decisions this year, off-season included, have been questionable. Whether it’s team building, play calling, or how they use personnel, what head coach Bill Belichick and his staff have done put Jones in difficult positions week after week.
The team's overall execution hasn’t been near the level set during the dynasty years. The number of times the offense hasn’t been in sync on plays has been unreal.
But that doesn’t excuse Mac Jones for throwing the ball into triple coverage. That doesn’t excuse Mac Jones for throwing a pass while ducking an on-coming defender, leading to another preventable turnover. That doesn’t excuse Mac Jones for hearing footsteps, even when there is no pressure, and lofting a pass that more likely would have been a completion if he stepped into his motion.
These are all self-inflicted mistakes that could easily be avoided. Jones is not being coached to make ill-advised passes when he should throw the ball away or eat the ball, take the sack, and try again on the next down.
Jones acted like every play was a game-winning play instead of one of many plays in a 60-minute game. That’s the only way to explain why he’s forced it over and over and knee-capped his career in New England. Whatever pressure Jones put on himself to turn his career around has ruined it instead.
He is playing like he has never dealt with any adversity before, which might be accurate and would definitely explain a lot. Waiting his turn behind Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailova at Alabama isn’t adversity, though. Jones even won a state championship in high school.
Both situations pale in comparison to following Tom Brady and dealing with the brutal Boston media.
It’s painful to see Jones’ reactions on the sidelines. People can say a lot of things about Jones as a football player, but they can’t say he doesn’t care. It's clear he wants to play well and wants to lead the Patriots to success.
And yet, the fans want them to tank. If Jones ever gets back on the field, I hope he wins. Go out on a high note if you get one more opportunity and build momentum for next season, wherever that takes you.
Mac Jones is inside his own head, which is the worst place to be. Telling himself he must make plays keeps echoing, leading to mistakes repeating. If Jones could get back to the fundamentals, he could revive the solid play from the first three games of the season.
A pass in the first quarter won’t decide the game, Mac. Give up the play and play the next down. The Patriots don’t need a second quarter touchdown. Settle for the field goal (Honestly, Chad Ryland might be suffering from the same problems as Jones). There’s plenty of game left.
If Mac Jones ever gets playing time in New England again, he needs to focus on one play at a time, not his career.