New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones has not taken the Year 2 leap in his development that most people expected entering the 2022 NFL season, and one prominent ESPN expert is pinning most of the blame on the team and not the player.
ESPN NFL analyst Dan Orlovsky fired off a passionate tweet Monday, essentially saying that Jones isn't the problem, it's actually the Patriots offense.
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After a reply from NBC Sports Boston's DJ Bean, Orlovsky expanded a bit on how the Patriots are not helping Jones.
Jones played the first three games of the season and suffered an ankle injury late in a Week 3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. He missed the next three games before returning in Week 7 against the Chicago Bears. But Jones didn't play much in the 33-14 loss to the Bears -- he was pulled early in the second quarter after a lackluster three drives to begin the game.
Jones showed signs of improvement over the last two games, though. He has completed 67.6 percent of his pass attempts for 341 yards with two touchdowns and one interception during that span. He has done a better job protecting the football and the Patriots won each of those games to enter their Week 10 bye with a 5-4 record.
New England Patriots
But plenty of issues remain. The Patriots rank 20th in third down conversion percentage (39.1) following a 6-of-17 showing against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 10. They also are tied for the league lead in interceptions (10) and turnovers overall (17), and Jones, with seven interceptions, has played a huge role in those issues.
That said, many of the points Orlovsky makes do have merit. The pass protection has been lackluster at times. The playcalling has received plenty of criticism as well.
The answer to the debate -- is Jones or the Patriots offense at fault for his struggles? -- is likely somewhere in the middle. Replacing a brilliant offensive mind like Josh McDaniels with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge wasn't the best decision. But Jones also hasn't played particularly well in seven starts.
Both sides need to make substantial improvement for the Patriots to finish the regular season strong and secure an AFC playoff berth.