Mac Jones continues to be heavily criticized for his performance in the New England Patriots' blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys, and rightfully so.
The third-year quarterback tossed two interceptions (one pick-six) and had a strip-sack returned for a touchdown in the 38-3 defeat. With the game well out of reach, he was replaced by backup QB Bailey Zappe late in the third quarter.
Jones showed promise to start the 2023 season, so it remains to be seen whether his abysmal outing was an aberration or a trend. That said, there is one specific area of his game he'll need to clean up in order to find success going forward.
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ESPN's Dan Orlovsky shared on WEEI's Jones and Mego what he believes is the most concerning aspect of Mac's recent play.
“I think the most disappointing or concerning or alarming thing with Mac is just his feet right now are so unstructured, so undisciplined, so sloppy,” Orlovsky said. “He’s not a physically talented enough player to get away with that. That’s the thing that is starting to get worse and worse and worse. They have to get that nipped in the bud and fixed really quick.”
What's causing Jones' footwork issues?
“That’s always going back to a lack of trust in the protection, a lack of pockets, being so untrusting of those guys in front of you to keep you clean that your feet start to move in anticipation that you’re going to have to either scramble or create movement in the pocket,” Orlovsky said.
“And that’s why they’re kind of frantic and all over the place. … Are there plays where you sit there and think, I wouldn’t [trust the protection] either? Yeah, of course. That’s always one of the hard things about playing quarterback, is it’s a very 'easy to say, hard thing to do' to trust your pocket. To do it when there’s consistent moments that present themselves when you shouldn’t, it’s hard.”
You can watch the full clip from Jones and Mego below:
The Patriots' inconsistent offensive line hasn't done Jones any favors, nor has the team's lack of premier pass-catching options. But at this point, Jones needs to do a better job of limiting self-inflicted wounds and protecting the football. Bill Belichick's group has dug itself into an early hole it couldn't get out of in each of its three losses this season.
Jones and Co. will look to get on the right track starting this Sunday against the 2-2 New Orleans Saints. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET at GIllette Stadium.