The 2023 NFL season -- especially the last three weeks -- has been a nightmare for New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones. Statistically, the third-year signal-caller is among the worst QBs in the league.
But even those calling for Jones to be benched must admit the offense's struggles aren't all his fault. A porous offensive line and a glaring lack of playmakers certainly haven't helped the cause during the team's 1-5 start to the campaign.
How did we go from Jones' strong rookie season to this? On Tuesday's Quick Slants, our Patriots insider Tom E. Curran highlighted the questionable decisions made by Bill Belichick and Co. that have led to Jones' downfall in New England.
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"The kid who had the most promising rookie season out of the five (QBs) drafted in the first round is handcuffed for not being trustworthy," Curran said. "Does he deserve to have his hands tied? Yes, he does. Did he deserve the decisions that have led to this monumental regression? Decisions like failing to have a succession plan for (Josh) McDaniels? Like putting a pair of plumbers in charge of wiring the house with Joe Judge and Matt Patricia? Like swinging and missing on half the offensive free agents taken in that 2021 spend-o-rama? Like trying to change the offense? Like failing to attack the tackle position in the draft or free agency? Moving on from Jakobi Meyers? Or deciding DeAndre Hopkins wouldn't help while giving raises to DeVante Parker and Trent Brown? Nope.
"That avalanche of miscues isn't on Mac Jones, but he's the one suffocating under that avalanche. Mac's got his limitations. I've detailed them since he got here, especially the lack of velocity on his throws. But we never got to see the kid do things that he does well because he was put in a position to fail."
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Those missteps by Belichick haven't gone unnoticed. There has been plenty of speculation about the longtime Patriots head coach/general manager's job possibly being on the line if his team's abysmal stretch continues.
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As for Jones, the Patriots will have to decide by May 2024 whether to pick up his fifth-year option. If they do, Jones' 2025 salary will be just over $23 million fully guaranteed, per Over The Cap. Given how this season has gone, the Patriots paying Jones that kind of money would be a shocker.
The schedule doesn't get any easier for Jones and the Pats as they'll host the Buffalo Bills this Sunday, then visit the Miami Dolphins in Week 8.
Watch the full Quick Slants episode below: