See a depressed person MacJonesboth on the sidelines and during his press conference following the New England Patriots’ 10-6 loss Sunday to the Indianapolis Colts in Germany, it’s harder to imagine the quarterback having a future in New England beyond this season.
Jones, a product of the Bolles School, continues to struggle for a Patriots team where he is adjusting to yet another new offensive coordinator and has no viable weapons around him.
While Jones must shoulder responsibility as quarterback for the second-lowest offense in the NFL (14.1 points per game), as well as a horrific red zone interception that cost his team the game against Indianapolis, we also cannot ignore that the head coach Bill Belichick put him in an untenable position.
Since Jones’ splendid rookie season in 2021, with Josh McDaniels as offensive coordinator before accepting the head coaching job with the Las Vegas Raiders, Belichick let him go last year without a defined OC and things only got worse this season when he brings back Bill O’Brien to lead the offensive.
In addition to the lack of offensive continuity, Belichick’s suspect acumen as a talent evaluator has left Jones short of adequate supporting cast that he desperately needs to reach his potential.
Jones doesn’t have the athleticism of a Lamar Jackson or Justin Herbert, but he can be a functional QB if equipped with a legitimate weapon or two. The Patriots have a decent running back in Rhamondre Stevenson, but not much else to scare a defense.
On top of that, the Patriots’ offensive line — ranked 27th in pass protection at 52.4, according to Pro Football Focus — has made Jones’ job more maddening because of its inability to help him buy time to so that the recipients can separate. Jones is the No. 28 passer in yards per attempt with 6.27 yards.
Speculation has grown in New England about the futures of Jones and Belichick on shaky ground. Things came to a head against the Colts when Jones was pushed aside by O’Brien for an errant pass in the end zone that was almost intercepted.
Later, after a relatively easy TD pass for Mike Gesicki was knocked down badly and intercepted by Colts security Julian Blackmona frustrated Jones was benched for Bailey Zappe.
Jones’ mood in the postgame session was much more somber than after most losses. Considering it was the second time this season he’s been on the bench, Jones understands the uncertainty surrounding the QB position as New England (2-8) endures its worst season since 2000, the year before the arrival of Tom Brady.
“I’ve played well in my career before, but not right now,” Jones said. “There are ups and downs and I’m kind of in a valley right now.”
Belichick gave his predictable generic response to the Jones situation, saying the team had a lot to work on during its bye week. But it’s abundantly clear that the job security of a six-time Super Bowl coach and Jones will be a hot topic over the next couple of months.
The honeymoon period Jones had in New England is over. He knows what the consequences of poor quarterback play can be, but in this case, Belichick, the general manager, didn’t do him any favors.
Protection issues deter deep attacks
It’s unfortunately obvious that the Jaguars offense isn’t throwing the ball as much as fans were hoping. According to NextGenStats, the Jaguars’ average receiver route depth is 9.9 yards, the lowest in the NFL.
While the Jaguars should have a more vertical passing game with Trevor Lawrence and one of the best receiving corps in the league, they also have to trust the offensive line to provide the necessary protection for the quarterback to make those shots.
In nine games, Lawrence has been sacked 24 times (tied for 7th in the NFL) after absorbing just 27 sacks all of last season. He now has 49 turnovers in his third season, the most of any quarterback other than the Buffalo Bills. Josh Allen (51).
Since the Tennessee Titans’ greatest strength is their stalwart defensive line Jeffrey Simmons And Denico Autry, Lawrence is unlikely to make many vertical shots in Sunday’s game. Tennessee has allowed the 10th fewest passes completed (195) and just 7.2 yards per attempt.
NFL Draft Trivia
Originally from Jacksonville LeRoy Butler, recently inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame, was one of three safeties drafted by the NFL in the 1990s to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Who were the other two, both chosen after Butler was drafted at 48th overall with the Green Bay Packers in 1990? Reply below.
Napier recruiting class takes hits
It was bad enough that Florida’s defense was getting trucked by LSU and the quarterback Jayden Daniels for 701 total yards last week, but the 52-35 loss clearly had a negative impact on the recruiting front.
The Gators had three turnaround defense commitments to their current and future SEC rivals, starting with 5-star Edge Rusher. Jamonta Waller of Mississippi deciding to pass on Auburn during the game. UF then lost the 4-star cornerback from Louisiana Wardell Mackwho returned to Texas.
More bad news arrived Wednesday when Dublin, Ga., 4-star defensive tackle Nasir Johnson renounced his commitment to UF and committed to Georgia. Who knows what other recruits the Gators might gain or lose between now and first signing day on Dec. 20, but the last thing Florida’s horrible defense needed was for its projected top-5 recruiting class to take a triple shot on this side of the ball.
Florida coach Billy Napier is already under enough pressure to turn the program around, so Gators fans will be watching this closely. As long as the Texas quarterback DJ Lagway stands firm on its commitment, there is no need to panic.
Kelce’s win-win bye week
So without the Kansas City Chiefs playing last weekend, a charmed life continued for the tight end. Travis Kelce.
In Argentina to watch over his love Taylor Swift performing live during his Eras Tour, Kelce was on stage after the show and the two engaged in some lengthy PDA.
Before that kiss, Swift changed the lyrics of her song “Karma” to acknowledge their relationship, singing, “Karma is the guy from the Chiefs, coming straight to my house.” » The original lyrics were “Karma is the guy on the screen, coming straight to my house”.
While Swifties were going crazy on social media over the superstar calling it audible, Kelce got another unexpected bonus during her weekend off. Three of the Chiefs’ closest pursuers for the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs — the Baltimore Ravens, Jacksonville Jaguars and Cincinnati Bengals — all lost.
NFL Draft Quiz Answer
Besides Butler, the only NFL safeties drafted in the 1990s to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame are the current general manager of the San Francisco 49ers. John Lynch (Pick No. 82, 1993) and produced Raines High Brian Dawkins (Choice n°61, 1996).
Did you see where the former Jaguars passer Key of Arden, now with the Tennessee Titans, said this week that if they can take away Lawrence’s first read, he will likely hesitate and the defense can take him to the ground. The implication was clear: Key believes Lawrence is being weakened by forcing him to second and third readings. Trevor will surely take the receipts from this assessment and use it as motivation, but he also needs to prove that he can make Key eat a little crow. …
Keep an eye on the Arizona head football coach’s career trajectory Jedd Fisch, the former Jaguars offensive coordinator (2013-14) and Florida graduate, who gradually rebuilt the Wildcats program in three seasons after a 19-35 record in the five years before his arrival. If Arizona reaches 10 wins this season, Fisch, 47, will draw interest, perhaps even from Texas A&M. Next year, if the Wildcats do well after joining the Big 12, it could be his best opportunity to land a high-profile coaching job. …
What Mississippi State Did in Shooting Zach Arnett before he can finish his first season, addresses the panicked and delirious world of the Southeastern Conference. Arnett, elevated from defensive coordinator to head coach after death Mike Leachwas hurt by the SEC’s lowest-scoring offense, impacted by loss of quarterback Will Rogers the last four games due to injury. This quick dismissal, without any hint of off-field scandal, was a bit surprising. I guess MSU forgot that Dan Mullen and Leach both had losing records in their first year. Unless he had the confidence to lure Mullen out of the ESPN booth, it looked like a surreptitious shot. …
Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans by 17 (49ers hangover cures); Philadelphia Eagles vs. Kansas City Chiefs by 4 (returns); Arizona Cardinals beat Houston Texans by 1 (Jaguars thank you card); Pittsburgh Steelers beat Cleveland Browns by 3 (Deshaun Watson MRI); Missouri over Florida by 6 (defensive leaks); Miami over Louisville by 1 (party spoiler); Georgia over Tennessee by 3 (scary moments). Last week: 5 right, 2 Green Draymond headlock defenses.
Gfrenette@jacksonville.com: (904) 359-4540; Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, at @genefrenette