The New England Patriots offense has struggled mightily this season, and there are many reasons for the lack of scoring. Perhaps the biggest culprit has been the underwhelming performance of starting quarterback Mac Jones.
His streak of consecutive games without a touchdown pass stands at three after Sunday's 21-17 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on the road. It's the longest such streak of his career.
Jones has completed 64.2 percent of his passes (a career low) for 1,208 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions. He's also lost four fumbles, and four of his turnovers this season were returned for touchdowns by the opposing defense.
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After playing so poorly through six weeks, does Jones still have the support of his teammates? He addressed that concern Monday during an interview on WEEI's Jones & Mego with Arcand show.
“Yeah, I do,” Jones said. “I have a lot of respect for the guys on our team. I’ve been with these guys for, some of them, three years, and some of them I played with in college or whatnot. I do feel like I have a lot of respect from the guys.
“There’s a lot of things I want to do better as a player, and that’ll really change some things. But at the end of the day, I’ve got to keep working, they’ve got to keep working, and I know they will, just like we all are. I know it sucks and it’s frustrating, but at the same time, you’ve got to keep going forward and see who wants to battle.”
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Jones has an opportunity to earn more trust and respect over the next two weeks. If he can find a way to help the Patriots beat the Buffalo Bills or Miami Dolphins -- two division rivals who also rank among the league's best teams -- over the next two weeks, that would be pretty impressive.
The Patriots, in fairness, did show a little bit of improvement offensively Sunday against the Raiders. The rushing attack finally showed signs of life and averaged 4.4 yards per carry, highlighted by running back Ezekiel Elliott's first touchdown as a Patriots player. The Patriots also scored two offensive touchdowns, which was two more than they scored in Week 4 and Week 5 combined.
But if the Patriots are going to put together a respectable season and win six, seven or even eight games, they need a much better performance from Jones. It all starts at quarterback and his play so far has been subpar, and that's putting it kindly.