The New England Patriots came into the 2022-23 NFL season looking to build on the success quarterback Mac Jones had in his rookie campaign.
Unfortunately, that train quickly went off the tracks when the team lost Josh McDaniels to the Las Vegas Raiders and decided to fill their void at offensive coordinator with one-time defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.
Predictably, that proved to be a disaster.
Jones regressed badly. The Patriots squandered one of the league’s better defenses by boasting an incredibly inept offense.
In the end? New England ended up missing the playoffs.
This week, Greg Bedard of Boston Sports Journal appeared on Boston’s 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Felger & Massarotti” show and dropped something of an interesting tidbit.
“Mac has universal support in the locker room,” Bedard said.
“The players on both sides of the ball, especially the offense, realize the position they were put in this season. They were not put in position to succeed. I think it was a problem this year. We’ll see what happens if Bill does anything more in private.
“I think the lack of accountability by the head coach on him putting these players in these positions, specifically how Bill handled the whole Bailey Zappe situation — that did not go over well in the locker room with Mac’s teammates. And I think there’s an issue there, and I don’t think further throwing Mac Jones under the bus is going to help things.”
It goes without saying that Jones had something of a rough year. Between the accusations of him being a dirty player and the way Bailey Zappe (and his girlfriend) stole so much shine from him, it was one issue after another.
That said, it is telling that the Patriots locker room stands with him.
And it speaks to just how much Belichick has lost his grip on things.
This past week, Belichick was asked if he sees Jones being the Patriots’ starter come next season.
“I think Mac has the ability to play quarterback in this league,” Belichick responded.
“We have to all work together to try to find the best way as a football team — which obviously quarterback’s an important position — to be more productive than we were this season. So that’s incumbent on all of us. We’ll all work together on that, and again, look for better results.”
That’s not exactly a vote of confidence.
Tom Brady’s year goes from bad to worse. https://t.co/vlsMSLhuRc
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 11, 2023
If Belichick and Jones can’t get on the same page next season, it will be interesting to see what position Patriots owner Robert Kraft takes.
Belichick has obviously earned some goodwill, but 2022 was a particularly brutal year for him.
If he has another of a similar ilk, it wouldn’t be surprising to see all parties involved move on.