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Patriots patience with Jones has to be wearing thin

By Tom King - Staff Writer | Oct 2, 2023

Good grief, what a mess.

It’s going to be quite the week around here concerning the New England Patriots, as head coach Bill Belichick and others will be pressed about Mac Jones after Sunday’s 38-3 disaster vs. Dallas.

Remember, as Belichick told us a few times over on Sunday as to why he pulled Jones late in the third quarter,“I didn’t think there was any point in leaving him in the game.”

He was challenged as to, say, why not take out a player like Matthew Judon? Then he groused, “No. You’ve got to put somebody out there.”

Will he start next Sunday vs. the Saints?

“Yeah, I didn’t think there was no point in leaving him other there,” he replied, ” so I took him out.”

Belichick took Jones out because he knew there was no way the quarterback could rally the troops – and not because he thought Bailey Zappe could. Zappe was a player the Patriots exposed to other teams and also signed other lousy QBs to try to replace him. He’s not looked at as any answer.

The problem is, long term it’s really looking more and more like Jones isn’t either. You see, Belichick would’ve left a better QB in there with the remote possibility of a four touchdown rally. But Jones had no chance.

How does Jones feel about what went down?

“It depends on how you look at it,” he said. “For sure, I’m very competitive. I put a lot into it. I feel really bad that I let my team down, I let the coaches down, whole organization, fans, everybody. We’ve got a great fan base. I’ve got to put a better product out there to beat good teams. I’m going to take the positive route the best I can and hopefully it brings the best out in me.”

The Patriots should be at the worst 2-2. Jones should have rallied them past Miami as that game was there for the taking, and so was the loss to Philly.

But Jones can’t take them. And then, when he plays as poorly as he did Sunday – don’t get us wrong, he had plenty of company – the spotlight really, really shines on him.

And he knows it.

“That’s definitely a frustrating part for me and everybody,” he said. “As the quarterback, I have to play better. Every team that’s winning right now has a quarterback playing really well. I need to do better. At the end of the day, it’s all about execution on Sunday. You can as much as into it as you want. I just have to put a better product out there.”

He’ll have to this Sunday vs. the beleagured Saints, as their veteran QB Derek Carr, is playing with a bum shoulder and they are ripe for the taking, especially at Gillette Stadium.

For a good team, that is, which the Patriots simply don’t look like right now.

“At this point, I think we’re a lot better team than we showed out there tonight,” Belichick said, “but that’s what we showed and that’s what it was. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Jones knows the week will be tough, and it should be.

“I think it will be a good test just for me trying to stay focused on what I can control and that’s playing better,” he said. “I just have to evaluate everything. It wasn’t my day today. Hopefully, there’s better days ahead.”

If there aren’t, the Patriots will be quarterback shopping after this season is over.

They might be anyway.

Tom King may be reached @Telegraph_TomK, or tking@nashuatelegraph.com


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