At this point, it's common knowledge how difficult the 2022 season was for the Patriots collectively, if not predominately for Mac Jones.
From butting heads with Joe Judge and working with an inexperienced and unqualified offensive coordinator in Matt Patricia to dealing with a nagging injury, the quarterback had little opportunity to succeed.
Being in that environment led to displays of frustration during games throughout the season, all of which created negative headlines that seem to be following Jones to this day. And even though some may empathize with his situation enough to be understanding of his behavior, most around the NFL had little to no tolerance for any of it.
Unfortunately for Jones, his attitude is in the news again this week, courtesy of a former Patriots coach.
Although nearly everyone is looking ahead to the 2023 season, leaving last year in the rearview mirror, apparently, Eric Mangini didn't receive the memo, as he is again bringing up old news during an interview this week with Trey Wingo.
Given the history between the Patriots and Mangini, most don't take what he says too seriously. But he is in the media and is almost always involved in every conversation regarding New England, making it increasingly difficult to ignore his comments.
With Jones recently revealing his intention to "earn the respect of everybody in this building again" due to the happenings of last season, Mangini took the time to praise the quarterback for his awareness of the situation he's in but also made sure to refer to him as "arrogant" for putting himself there in the first place.
"I like what he said. I like it a lot because I’ve always felt that Mac didn’t appreciate how good a situation he came into. He had Josh McDaniels, he had Mick Lombardi, a great offensive staff, he had as stable an organization as you could get. He had a team that played complementary football. He came from a program that was similar. It was a perfect situation for who he was. And then Josh McDaniels leaves, he talks about, ‘Oh, I’ve had multiple coordinators. It’s not that big a deal.’
There was a little arrogance to the way he approached things. And then he found out how hard it is to win consistently in this league, and how tenuous your position is, and that you probably shouldn’t go outside the New England Patriots organization if you don’t like what’s going on."
To some degree, he's not wrong.
It's great that Jones is determined to get back in the good graces of any teammate or coach with whom he may have caused tension due to a frustrating season. However, labeling him arrogant for attempting to downplay a significant change, like working with another new offensive coordinator, seems like a stretch.
During his time at Alabama, Jones worked with three offensive coordinators in three years. So for him to imply that it's not a big deal isn't surprising, especially as a young player in the NFL.
The Patriots are known for keeping things light and optimistic when speaking to the media, if not monotone and lacking detail, making it seem less likely that Jones would provide any clue that he was worried or concerned about working with a new play caller.
Had he hinted at that, we'd probably still be discussing those comments even now.
Mangini continued with his stance, stating that Jones has a lot of making up to do in the building and that it won't happen overnight.
"When you come in, and there’s high expectations and you’ve been given a lot of respect, and you lose it, it’s a longer road to get that back. Positive, really upbeat that this is the approach he’s taking, but this is going to be a longer road than him just making an offseason statement or tweeting out how he wants to get the respect back."
Does he know something we don't?
Sure, there was alleged tension between Jones and Belichick, which has been heavily documented over the last year, and the issues with Judge. But other coaches or teammates have not expressed any negativity toward the quarterback and have, in fact, only stated the opposite.
Is Mangini only referencing how difficult it will be to get back in the good graces of Belichick since he would certainly know something about that? Or what else is he trying to say here?
Regardless, fans should be happy that Jones is on board and excited to work with Bill O'Brien and has been impressive throughout OTAs. We're halfway through 2023 already, and it's time to continue looking ahead rather than focusing on what happened in the past.