Mac Jones takes a subtle dig at Matt Patricia when discussing the Patriots' new offense

Dec 24, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) checks
Dec 24, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) checks / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots' 2023 offseason has been filled with drama and speculation, most surrounding the alleged tension between Bill Belichick and Mac Jones stemming from last season's struggles.

By now, the concluded common denominator of those issues was Matt Patricia, whose inexperience as an offensive coordinator, handed to him by Belichick, contributed to the most substantial of all the problems.

Because the season uncharacteristically fell short of a post-season run for the second time in three years, Robert Kraft made it known that changes needed to be made. Whether or not Belichick needed to push to do it, Kraft's public and private discussions about the state of the Patriots led the head coach to make significant changes to the coaching staff, starting with replacing Patricia.

It was clear an experienced and trusted offensive coordinator was needed after the failed experiment with Patricia, hence the re-hiring of former Patriots' OC Bill O'Brien. Patricia's other job from last season, the offensive line coach, was swiftly replaced with three-time Super Bowl champion Adrian Klemm, who won those three Lombardi's with the Patriots in the early 2000s.

With the start of OTAs over the last two weeks, the media were finally allowed to attend last Wednesday's practice, giving them a first-hand look at the new O'Brien-coached offense. Although they could not speak to the coach directly, Mac Jones was asked about his feelings on working with O'Brien and learning a new offense for the third time in three years.

"It’s been really good. It’s been normal. Everything he’s done so far has been really good. I think the communication is the most important part and trust — I think it all starts with that when you’re with a new coach, and he’s done a great job in controlling the room.

I feel like everyone’s on the same page. We’ve just got to continue to do it. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. We know that, and he’s obviously had great experience in the NFL, and at Alabama, where I was at, so there’s a lot of good stuff that we’ve talked about. I’m just looking forward to working with him."

The quarterback's response is quite a contrast to how he and the rest of the offense viewed the team at this point last year. The dysfunction under Patricia was noticeable from the beginning, and the sour attitude of the players was irrefutable, lasting the duration of the regular season.

Even though Jones and other prominent fixtures of the offense worked tirelessly to save face when speaking to the media about the issues throughout last season, the team's overall mood from the field to the locker room was apparent week in and week out.

It even trickled onto the field, as seen by the few instances of Jones' frustrations during games, and made for a lot of discussions around the impact of Patricia's coaching on the offense's success (or lack thereof).

Now that he will be working with a respected offensive-minded coach again, Jones was asked about O'Brien's style of coaching, which has often been compared to that of Josh McDaniels. He mentioned the familiarity with much of what he's learned so far and praised O'Brien's knowledge of the game and willingness to teach as the most influential aspects of his coaching thus far.

"I can’t get into specifics, but I think for me, it’s terminology and things like that that are definitely things I’ve seen before in the past. OB’s been around and he’s taken a lot of good things from each stop. I feel like, for me, it’s just being a sponge. Whatever quarterback he’s coached, I can learn from, whether that’s Bryce or Deshaun, or at Penn State.

He has such great experience in this league, and in football and in the football world. It’s like a walking dictionary; just pick his brain and see the game how he sees it, how I see it, and then come together and mesh to create a really good offense."

Coming into this season, the positive impact that O'Brien has already seemingly had on the team is instantly felt.

We may only be a few days into OTAs, but Jones' favorable review of his new coach puts them in a much better position than they were just one year ago and could be a good predictor of what's to come with training camp right around the corner.