Ridiculous offense by the New England Patriots: regression of Mac Jones or fault of the coaches?

Mac Jones no longer has to worry about his job.

But should the New England Patriots be worried about their quarterback’s regression?

After starting and winning consecutive games for the first time this season, Jones doesn’t look over his shoulder at rookie fullback Bailey Zappe as the Pats enter their Bye this weekend. But even in wins over the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts, Jones didn’t look like the confident, capable rookie of the last year who led New England to 10 wins and a playoff berth all by making the Pro Bowl.

Does Jones regress in Year 2? Or is his performance simply the product of an admittedly dysfunctional Patriots offense?

Even the experts are confused about a consensus.

On Sunday’s Patriots-Colts TV show, CBS analyst Adam Archulete continually mentioned how slow Jones was to read his progressions and find open receivers if the primary target was covered.

“It seems pretty clear,” Archulete said. “Mac needs to make quicker decisions and be more decisive with the ball.”

In a 26-3 victory paved by the nine sacks of the dominant defense, Jones completed 20 of 30 passes but for just 147 yards. His only touchdown was a 3-yarder against running back Rhamondre Stevenson.

But by this season’s biased standards, it might have been Jones’ best performance.

It was the first game he didn’t throw an interception, and he looked more mobile in and out of the pocket as he put more behind the severe ankle sprain that had caused him to miss three matches. Still, he knocked down open targets Stevenson and Tyquan Thornton on potential touchdowns and wasn’t the precise passer that last year made him the NFL’s best rookie quarterback.

During his weekly radio appearance on WEEI on Monday morning, coach Bill Belichick pushed back against Archulete’s narrative that Jones isn’t doing quality speed reads.

“I think that’s one of his strengths” Belichick said. “I think he sees the pitch pretty well.”

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Other former players-turned-analysts also side with Jones, blaming the Patriots’ paltry offense on the feet of an inexperienced coaching staff and unimaginative playbook.

“If anyone tells you that’s Mac Jones’ problem in New England, they’re screwed,” ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky said on Twitter this week. “That attack has completely regressed that player, and that’s awful.”

In the comments to his article, Orlovsky explained in a response to a reader:

“How can a QB be any good when the playbook stinks play calls stink OL can’t protect, the timing is horrible, the spacing is poor and no one wins in their routes?”

Former Los Angeles Rams offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth – these days an analyst on Prime’s Thursday night football crew – stepped in on Orlovsky’s thread.

“I’m completely shocked,” Whitworth said sarcastically, punctuated by a laughing emoji. “None of those attacking plans with the staffing made sense.”

Jones came into the season with a leaner body and a more aggressive leadership style, but he struggled early on. Looking lost without the departure of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and now mentored by longtime defensive assistant Matt Patricia, Jones threw five interceptions in three games before suffering an ankle injury in the final snap of Week 3.

New England ranks 26th in yards and 16th in points with 22.6 points per game. The offense, however, was bolstered by a defense that scored twice on Pick-Six interceptions and a special team that provided it with possession deep in opposition territory on a blocked punt and two kickoff recoveries. of failed clearance.

In Jones’ six starts, the Patriots’ offense has only scored three touchdowns once. Although his completion percentage is about the same as in 2021 (67.6 to 66.1), his seven interceptions are alarming and his quarterback rating has plunged from 92.5 to 76.0.

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