Patriots: Pessimism surrounding Mac Jones and his abilities is gaining momentum

The calls for Bailey Zappe are already starting
Dec 24, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) warms
Dec 24, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) warms / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Unsurprisingly, the Patriots have now completed three days of training camp, and many reactions to what has been seen and reported regarding the quarterbacks are being overblown.

Because of how last season transpired from beginning to end, starting as early as OTAs and minicamp in the spring, there is a lot of pressure on the offense to get it right this year. Most of that is placed on the shoulders of Mac Jones, in most ways deservedly so, as he comes into his third season in the league and hopes to revert to the same production he had as a rookie.

It's obvious to everyone that he significantly declined through the 2022 season. Much of that resulted from Matt Patricia and a tense relationship between them, a lack of proper communication with Joe Judge, an ankle injury, and a lack of faith and support from Bill Belichick, publicly and privately.

Are those the only aspects that impacted his performance? Certainly not.

Jones looked like a completely different quarterback from his rookie and sophomore seasons. His timing was off; he made unthinkable mistakes at some of the worst points in a game and was very clearly not in a good headspace throughout the entirety of the season.

Of course, there's no saying what was going on with him during the year, but Judge and Patricia's impact on the offense was seen through not just Jones but several of his teammates as well.

Since the season ended, and even throughout it, Jones has received the brunt of the blame and responsibility for how poorly they performed rather than a collective criticism, starting from who was coaching them.

Although that is typical of any quarterback in the league, the sheer amount of fault hurled at Jones for it all is unfair. The success of any unit on a football team is not reliant on any one player, even a quarterback. It comes down to preparation, coaching, performance, and execution from all players in every game.

That doesn't exonerate Jones from any responsibility or fault for last season's struggles. But it should lessen the load of blame he carries because there are a lot of parties involved in why the offense performed so poorly.

Now coming into his third NFL season, there is a lot of talk regarding how Jones will need to look on the field to keep his job in New England. Indeed, he needs to improve from how he performed last year, but some of the expectations the fans and the media have put on him are absurd.

The belief that he needs to come out as the second coming of Tom Brady is something he will never accomplish. There will never be another Brady. Some may come close, but his career and abilities will never be replicated.

Mac Jones can only be Mac Jones. Maybe some won't like it. Perhaps it won't be good enough for Belichick and the Patriots, but not every quarterback comes into the NFL fully prepared and performing at a high level immediately.

Few third-year quarterbacks go through three offensive coordinators in three years, especially one that had never worked with the offense before. Nor do they usually have a coach that doesn't prioritize signing a star wide receiver to boost the offense and make their job a bit easier.

And they certainly don't have to deal with being the first quarterback to step on the field as the real successor of the greatest quarterback ever to play the game.

That wouldn't be easy for any quarterback, no matter who the Patriots decided to put into that position.

Most have grown accustomed to how the team was for 20 years; there was rarely a time to worry if a game could be won or not. There were virtually no concerns about Brady's performance or ability to play the game of football in a way that would help the Patriots win games. It didn't matter if he had a former quarterback turned receiver or a former lacrosse player as his WR1; we knew he could make them look like stars.

But that was Brady. This is not the same Patriots they once were.

It's time to adjust your expectations, not lower them, and accept where the Patriots are right now. They're rebuilding. They're learning. They're creating a new identity, and that doesn't happen overnight.

So the proper thing to do is give Jones some time. He may be in year three, and some want to move on already, especially those who have caught the Zappe fever. But he is working with another new offensive coordinator, hoping to rebuild the confidence he lost from the chaos of last season and trusting the process to get him back to where he needs to be while re-earning the trust of Belichick once again.

It's all a process that just began.

How the offense will run under Bill O'Brien is not clear yet. There are new players in prominent roles, like Mike Gesicki and JuJu Smith-Schuster, and a plethora of new offensive linemen that must adjust to their new team.

There's a new playbook to learn, new players for Jones to build chemistry with, and a new plan of attack as they face an incredibly tough strength of schedule. Getting everything working seamlessly takes time, hence training camp and preseason practices and games. That's why they have them. It's not like the Patriots are the only team having to work through struggles this summer.

With that in mind, it's also important to remember that it has only been three days of training camp so far. Overreactions are bound to happen, but coming to such a dramatic conclusion about Jones after just the third day of summer practices is utterly ridiculous.

Give it some time and cut Jones some slack while giving the screams to bench him for Zappe a rest.

If Jones performs questionably during the remainder of training camp and preseason, that may be the proper time to become concerned. But calling for him to be removed as the QB1 in July? That's foolish.