New England Patriots

Mac Jones admits he ‘let people down' with his 2023 performance

Jones reflects on a tough 2023 season and his mindset going forward.

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Mac Jones was demoted to the emergency quarterback role for Sunday's Week 18 season finale against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium.

It was a lackluster end to a pretty difficult season for the New England Patriots quarterback.

Jones began the season as the starter but lasted just 11 games. He was benched at halftime of the Patriots' Week 12 loss to the New York Giants and didn't play again. Backup quarterback Bailey Zappe started the last six games and the team went 2-4 down the stretch. The offense did look better with Zappe under center, but it still wasn't anywhere near good enough as turnovers continued to plague the group.

Jones met with reporters Monday morning and offered a candid assessment of his performance this season.

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“Obviously, I want to say that I have a lot of respect for people in this locker room. That's where it starts. I feel like I let people down with my play and a lot of that stuff is in my control and some of it’s not,” Jones said. “So I’m going to do everything I can for my next opportunity, whether that’s here, and really just push forward and continue to be Mac. That’s what it’s all about. And don’t let that waver.”

Jones also detailed his mindset and approach to the last month or so since he lost the starting job.

“I always take notes, and I’ve gotten a chance to go back and look at my notes from the past three years,” Jones said. “And there’s a lot of things I can do better. And there’s a lot of things that are in my control, but there’s also a lot of things that are out of my control. And I’ve always said that I’m going to focus on the controllables and that’s important to me. But like I said earlier, I feel like I’ve made progress, especially in the last couple of weeks.

“I’ve been here early, left late. A lot of people would have just said, ‘I’m done,' and I’m not gonna do that. I’ve worked out hard, put on 7-to-8 pounds of muscle in the last couple of weeks here. So that’s where I’m at right now. And that’s why I’m looking forward to the next opportunity. I know it’s going to come but at the end of the day as a quarterback and a competitor, you’ve got to be ready, right? So I’m gonna be ready.”

Jones noted multiple times Monday that some things this season were out of his control. We don't know exactly what he's referring to, but a couple guesses include an offensive line that had issues and a lack of high-end talent at the skill positions, most notably wide receiver.

The Patriots did not put Jones in the best position to succeed. Everyone knew the offensive line and lack of explosive offensive talent were issues following the 2022 campaign, and despite having a full offseason to fix those problems, very little was done. And then they used their first three picks in the 2023 NFL Draft on defensive players (although Christian Gonzalez looks like a great pick).

But Jones also deserves a huge portion of the blame for the Patriots' struggles on offense this season. His play regressed a meaningful amount, and his inability to protect the football was a massive problem. He threw 12 interceptions and lost three fumbles in just 11 games.

That's the area Jones has to improve the most going into next season, regardless of where he's playing. Ball security is job security.

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