Michael Irvin rips Pats' coaching staff over Mac Jones' struggles


Who's to blame for the New England Patriots' offensive ineffectiveness? If you ask Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, it isn't Mac Jones.

While Jones' 2022 stats aren't pretty -- four touchdown passes and seven interceptions in six games with a 76.0 passer rating that ranks 33rd among 35 qualified NFL quarterbacks -- he's also had to adapt to a new system under first-time offensive play-caller Matt Patricia.

That system isn't running very smoothly, as ESPN's Dan Orlovsky explained this week during an eye-opening segment on "NFL Live."

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After watching Orlovsky's video, Irvin is putting Jones' second-year slump on the shoulders of New England's coaching staff rather than on the QB himself.

"That blows my mind. You know how they say basics is 101? This is before the 101," the former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver said Thursday on WEEI's "Mego, Merloni & Fauria" radio show. "This is not English 101 or Math 101. Timing up routes with depth of routes and depth of drops, that’s even before 101. It’s that basic.

"To see (Orlovsky) call that out on some plays, where (Jones) had a three-step drop, he hitched one time and nobody is ready to come out of a route, there's no timing -- that blows my mind, man. That doesn’t look like anything that Bill Belichick has let go on."

Jones is averaging just 190 passing yards per game, down from 223.6 yards per game during his Pro Bowl rookie campaign under offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. In Irvin's view, New England's offensive play-calling is the primary culprit for that drop-off.

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"When you talk about Mac Jones’ regression, that’s not on Mac Jones. You see what I’m saying?" Irvin said. "You’re seeing the results and it looks like a regression. That is impossible. That’s on somebody else in there, whoever is designing those (plays)."

Jones has downplayed any major differences in the Patriots' offense from last year's operation, telling reporters this week, "I wouldn't make comparisons." But New England's offensive struggles are too significant to ignore, as the team has just one touchdown drive longer than two yards in its last two games.

Jones, Patricia, Belichick and even quarterbacks coach Joe Judge all deserve some level of scrutiny for the unit's underperformance, which has led to questions about Jones' viability as the team's long-term quarterback.

The Patriots offense can quiet that noise with a strong performance Sunday against the New York Jets, but if it continues to produce the same result, then Belichick might need to re-evaluate his coaching setup in 2023.

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