Patriots Camp

Mac Jones, Bill Belichick seeking ‘fresh start' after rocky 2022

It appears the Patriots quarterback and head coach have agreed to put last season behind them.

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Hope springs eternal for the New England Patriots at 2023 training camp.

The Patriots haven't won a playoff game in more than four years and are coming off a disappointing 8-9 campaign marred by a dysfunctional offense under first-time offensive play-caller Matt Patricia. Mac Jones reportedly landed in Bill Belichick's "doghouse" by seeking help outside the organization, and there were rumblings that tension between quarterback and head coach continued into the offseason.

After the Patriots' first training camp practice of 2023, however, Jones insisted last year is water under the bridge.

"No, I think we're good," Jones told reporters Wednesday outside Gillette Stadium when asked about any lingering frustration between he and Belichick. "I think the biggest thing that we've all talked about is just having a fresh start. I think there's a lot of learning experiences from last year that we've talked about. And this year, it's all about just working together, right? You've got to come up with a plan and then obviously talk about it and then execute it. So, I'm excited for that part of it."

Jones has good reason to be in better spirits: He now reports to veteran offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien, who boasts a wealth of play-calling experience at both the NFL and college levels and has a prior connection to Jones from when the QB helped him learn the Alabama offense during the 2021 offseason.

Jones already has spoken highly of O'Brien, who should be able to help the 24-year-old QB bounce back in 2023 after Jones ranked 28th in the NFL in total QBR in 2022. Whether Jones succeeds in that goal may come down to his on-field temperament, which at times got him in trouble last season.

"For me, just trying to be really consistent," Jones said. "Try not to ride the wave and just stay my course, and hopefully everybody on our offense feels that too.

"I think Coach O'Brien does a great job laying out what we do well so far, and we're gonna learn every day what we do well, and then from there you just keep moving forward and execute the plan."

Jones appears to have the full support of the locker room, and while he doesn't have a true No. 1 wide receiver after New England's failed pursuit of DeAndre Hopkins, he's otherwise well-positioned to thrive in Year 3 and get back to the production he enjoyed as a rookie under Josh McDaniels in 2021.

That starts with Jones being on the same page as his head coach, and it sounds like he and Belichick have agreed to put whatever happened last season in the past.

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