Typically, at this point in the NFL season, the Patriots would be focused on where they would be seeded in the AFC playoffs and trying to ensure the highest position possible. Unfortunately, that's not the case over the last few seasons as the rebuild continues, and this season, the focus remains predominantly on the scrutiny surrounding Mac Jones.
Other than the general criticism that comes with performing poorly, Jones' tenure in New England has been and continues to be tumultuous.
From rumors that Belichick never wanted to draft him in 2021 and the head coach seemingly throwing the quarterback under the bus last season to allegations he was being shopped during the Combine earlier this year and the team is purposely tanking to draft a guy to replace him next year, it never stops for the third-year quarterback.
Although there's no arguing that Jones has been one of the worst players on the team this year, the continuous rumors and insistence of piling on an already beaten-down guy aren't necessary, no matter the circumstances the team is going through. But it doesn't appear there is an end in sight as the Patriots stare down the presumed worst season in thirty years.
Jones has been a contributor to that, and he has publicly admitted to his responsibility in the matter. But one part that has been beneficial for him this year is not responding to the constant barrage of unflattering rumors that create new headlines every day; that is, until a radio host decides it's the perfect time to get his response to one of the worst of them all.
That happened this week when Jones did his weekly appearance on WEEI's "Jones and Mego" on Monday.
The quarterback was asked for his response to a "report" by the Boston Herald's Andrew Callahan that claimed he has "lost the support of 80% of the Patriots locker room" due to his performance this year.
"Yeah, I don’t really deal with the sources and things like that. That’s not really my thing. I put a lot of work in the offseason throughout the past three years that I’ve been here. My attitude, my effort, things that I’m going to control. I’ve been with some of these guys for three years and some of these guys are rookies this year and they’re getting to know me.
At the end of the day, I’m going to continue to fight. I know the guys are going to do a good job of doing the same. So, whoever wants to do that, get on board. I know they’re going to continue to fight and work hard. That’s all you can ask for."
We know that these kinds of questions need to be asked (maybe?), but is it really appropriate to ask Jones about a rumor that suggests his teammates have turned their back on him?
Regardless, Jones handled the question with poise and reiterated his intent to continue working hard and hoping to improve. Considering where the team is through 12 weeks, it may not resonate with some, but it's all he can say and do now.
His future as the Patriots' starter remains unclear at this point, and we know that Jones will do all he can to prove he should be the one to go with.