New England Patriots quarterback Mack Jones, under one of the most successful offensive coordinators in NFL history as a rookie, enters Year 2 in an unusual and inexperienced (at least offensively) coaching setup.
The transition from Josh McDaniels to Matt Patricia and Joe Judge was difficult for Jones and the Patriots offense. Jones, in particular, completed 68.2 percent of his passes for 2,198 yards, seven touchdowns and eight interceptions in 10 games on an 85.7 passer rating.
In addition, Jones had several fumble-laden outbursts that appeared to be directed at Patricia during the Patriots’ last two games.
— Austin Bumpus (@AustinBumpus) December 13, 2022
Before Sunday’s game against his old offensive coordinator, who is now the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, Jones was asked how he felt about facing McDaniels. Jones spoke highly of McDaniel.
“I think Josh is a great coach, a great person, just a great leader,” Mack Jones said. “You prepared me very well last year. Obviously, he had a chance to coach the football team, and he did a great job. … He’s done a good job there, watching his games, whether it’s a crossover movie or on TV. “I did a good job, played in a lot of close games, it could have gone either way, so it’s just a good football team to be ready for.”
Jones was concerned about what he felt was the transition from choosing a “great coach” in McDaniels to a setup he was particularly frustrated with this season. No one was thrown under the bus.
“I think Josh was a great coach and we still have great coaches,” Mack Jones said. “You just have to learn from everybody who coaches you, just learn from them. Everyone is a little different. That’s what I learned at Alabama, I just had different coordinators, but the same system worked.
“Here we are. Just try to learn from everyone and take something away, okay, and add it to your bankroll, whatever you can do. I am really glad to have experience with him. Then obviously this year we worked on a lot of things, got experience with the guys that we have and they did a great job. Like I said, there’s crossover, but we’re also doing new things as well.”
Mack Jones on Josh McDaniels: “Josh was a great coach and we have great coaches here…we just have to learn from everybody”
— NBC Sports Boston’s Patriots coverage (@NBCSPatriots) December 15, 2022
Jones’ current offensive line coaches also spoke highly of him earlier in the week, despite his apparent frustration with them over the last two games, with Patricia saying “I love it all” about Jones’ passion.
What could be frustrating for Jones on Sunday is the number of injuries he and the offense are dealing with. Three of the Patriots’ top players (wide receivers Jakobi Meyers and DeVante Parker plus running back Rhamondre Stevenson) did not practice Thursday, while running back Damien Harris was a limited participant.
However, Jones is confident the players will step up if those guys aren’t and believes in a couple of the Patriots’ practice squad.
“It’s not my choice, and hopefully those guys feel better. But at the end of the day, we’re all confident. I think the guys on the practice squad, they work hard,” Mack Jones said. Some things, I think to Lina [Bowden Jr.] It helped me a lot, just being a smart player, trying to learn different things and always asking questions. Tres [Nixon] in the same way.
“All those guys, Tre works hard and everything. They all do. At the end of the day, they hold each other to a good standard and that’s what we’re all trying to achieve, is to play together and play without falling apart. I feel like we’re getting there. It’s definitely going to take time, but I just have to keep working on it.”
The injuries couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Patriots. They are 7-6 and currently in the playoffs, but in last place with a tough schedule.