Mac Jones is coming off his worst performance as an NFL player, but his offensive coordinator remains confident that the New England Patriots quarterback will turn things around and show improvement.
Jones completed 12 of 21 pass attempts for 150 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions in Sunday's 38-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on the road in Week 4. Two of Jones' turnovers -- an interception and a fumble -- were returned for a touchdown by the Dallas defense.
Jones was removed from the game in the third quarter and replaced by backup quarterback Bailey Zappe.
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Patriots OC Bill O'Brien addressed Jones' struggles during a video call with reporters Tuesday and made it clear he still has plenty of belief in the 25-year-old quarterback.
"Mac is a battler,” O'Brien said. "He's a competitor. When you play quarterback in this league, you have to limit the mistakes and you have to limit the bad games that you have, obviously. We’re all in it together. We have to do a better job of coaching up some things with him a little bit better. He has to do a better job of making good decisions for us. He knows that. He takes a lot of ownership — you guys saw that, I think, after the game.
“He blames himself. The game wasn’t lost because of one guy. The game was lost, on our part, because of how poorly we played and coached in the game. Mac is here today, he’s working very hard to get back on the right track. We have a lot of belief in Mac.”
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There's no more margin for error for Jones and the Patriots. With a 1-3 record and a difficult schedule ahead, the Patriots must show immediate improvement if they're going to have any chance of competing for a wild card playoff spot in the AFC.
Sunday's Week 5 matchup with the New Orleans Saints won't be an easy one. The Saints have a good pass defense that ranks No. 4 in opposing QB completion percentage (59), No. 6 in average yards allowed per pass attempt (5.9) and tied for third in interceptions (five).
Perhaps the best way for the Patriots to be competitive against the Saints is to not fall behind early. New England has trailed by double digits in three of its first four games and lost each time. Turnovers, several of which came from Jones, were a huge reason for those early deficits. Jones protecting the football would go a long way toward giving the Patriots a chance to earn a much-needed victory at home in Week 5.