Mack Jones is going to be a great quarterback in the NFL. start there.
He will be fine. I understand?
He will gain experience and with experience he will have greater confidence. Who knows, he might be partnered with an offensive coordinator who knows a thing or two about coordinating an offense, too.
But all this is in the future. Both in the 2023 season and beyond.
It’s the present … like the Patriots’ Christmas Eve showdown against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium, followed by the Dolphins on New Year’s Day and the regular season finale a week later in Buffalo.
But Jones would be well served if he uses what’s left of this offseason to prepare for future seasons, whether with the Patriots or other NFL ports. Here’s the easy part, or, if you like, the one yesterday The part: Jones should go about his business as if the Patriots are headed for the playoffs. Because at the moment it is still possible, although unlikely.
Here’s the hard part: What Jones is feeling inside, whether it’s anger at himself for not playing better, anger at the leadership for giving offensive coordinator Matt Patricia, or anger at one or another player for not playing. At one point or another, at one point or another, he must have defended a 1980s sales pitch for an antiperspirant called Dry Idea, then manufactured by, ahem, Gillette: Never let them see your sweat.
That’s what Jones has been doing this season. He lets everyone see his sweat. Maybe not literally, but figuratively and symbolically.
We see this on many, many occasions when the network cameras catch him crying and crying. It’s happened so many times this season that the directors sitting outside the stadium in the Game Creek Video trucks are probably written to keep track of Jones’ emotional outbursts when things go wrong.
Do you not understand the director?
“Camera 1, get me Mack Jones in the backfield at Kvech! Take camera 1!”
Not a good look. This is Terrible Look, in fact, not only at him, but at the whole team. It’s also the albatross that Patriots fans carry. It’s bad enough that their friends in New York, Philly, Baltimore, etc. They pile up as the Patriots losses pile up, but it gets even worse when they send you a Crying Jordan meme and say, “Hey, I found your quarterback! “
It’s not just out-of-town fans who flock. Some frustrated Pats fans are doing this, too, moving the goalposts on Jones’ outbursts to include a) his facial reaction after spraining his high ankle against the Ravens on Sept. 25, and b) the mannerisms of the Raiders’ Chandler. Jones opened the door for him Sunday on his way to the end zone after Jacoby Meyers made that horrible, ill-advised throw.
Buckley: What did the Patriots think about the final game against the Raiders?
Both of these criticisms are juvenile. Yes, Jones screamed in pain after injuring his ankle, and yes, cameras caught the moment, and yes, there is an expectation that professional athletes will get an awkward, rough look after an injury. But pain is pain. We all let out a death cry at our pickup softball games and shinny hockey games that made Jones lip-sync to Katrina and the Waves’ “Walking on Sunshine” by comparison.
As for Mack Jones being trampled by Chandler Jones, that was, I think, the 3,365,429th time in NFL history that a quarterback, placekicker or kicker looked stupid trying to make a defensive play. For every Adam Vinatieri chasing and tackling Herschel Walker, there are 10,000 times the Joneses can’t keep up with the Joneses.
Speaking on “Inside The NFL” on Paramount+, former Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman criticized Jones for not being able to make tackles.
“The season is already done,” Edelman told panelist Ray Lewis. “You have to lose it.”
What I would say: On the list of things that went wrong with the Raiders last week, this is number 437.
In a devastating loss to the Raiders, the Patriots show that they are not playing like a well-coached team.
But Edelman also criticized Jones for his abdominal pain after the game. When panelist Brandon Marshall noted that Jones isn’t taking batting practice, Edelman said, “You know what? He also doesn’t practice tricks after games and take away from the coaches and those little sly faces and stuff. It’s as if he doesn’t practice and does it.”
He does, and it’s something I bet he didn’t get away with when he was playing Jacksonville in the Pop Warner League as a kid. And he shouldn’t miss Saturday against the Bengals, in part because it’s Christmas Eve: “You better be careful. You better not cry. Better not to snort, etc. Edelman said it better than any writer, Little goofy faces and stuff.
Bill Belichick was asked at the end of his media availability Wednesday afternoon if he planned to have Jones at quarterback for the final three weeks. Belichick’s response: “Yes, (the) plan is to try to beat Cincinnati. good.”
Okey then. But unless it’s garbage time or an injury to Jones, there’s really no reason for backup quarterback Bailey Zapp to be out again this season. Zappé was a nice surprise when he filled in earlier this season, but benching Jones now would be tantamount to blaming him for everything that went wrong.
Jones has three weeks to do something, anything, to demonstrate that this is not the case.
(Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)