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Former Patriots RB says Mac Jones’ demise in New England wasn’t Jones’ fault: ‘I’ll die on this hill’

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The trail that led former New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones to his present function as Trevor Lawrence’s backup with the Jacksonville Jaguars was a wierd one. 

Jones was chosen in the identical draft as Lawrence, however 14 picks later. Lawrence went No. 1 general to Jacksonville, whereas Jones got here off the board to New England at No. 15. In his first skilled season, Jones performed fairly properly: He accomplished 67.6% of his passes at a median of seven.3 yards per try. He tossed 22 touchdowns towards 13 interceptions. The Pats went 10-7 and made the playoffs, whereas Jones was named a Professional Bowl alternate and completed second in NFL Offensive Rookie of the Yr voting.

After which issues rapidly went awry. In Yr 2, Jones took a step backward, dropping to a 65.22% completion charge and 6.8 yards per try, together with simply 14 touchdowns and 11 picks in 14 video games, as he was at one level benched in favor of Bailey Zappe. In 2023, issues bought even worse: 64.9%, 6.1 yards per try, 10 touchdowns towards 12 picks in 11 video games throughout which New England went simply 2-9.

To listen to former teammate Damien Harris inform it, this wasn’t actually Jones’ fault.

“I’ll die on this hill, and other people is likely to be upset with me, individuals is likely to be pleased with me, individuals is likely to be someplace in-between. What occurred to Mac Jones in New England was not due to Mac Jones,” Harris mentioned, throughout an look on “The Athletic Soccer Present.” “What occurred in New England to Mac Jones was due to the very fact you took away an offensive coordinator who coached him to be a Professional Bowler and virtually coached us to successful our division with a rookie quarterback in his first yr.

“And you then take — every time Josh McDaniels left — Matt Patricia, who has coached defenses his complete life, and Joe Choose, who has been a particular groups coach, coached receivers in some unspecified time in the future. And you then simply throw them in there and be like, ‘Hey, coach this child up. He is a first-round choose, however so long as you educate him what I say, every thing will probably be wonderful.’ And shit wasn’t wonderful.”

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Harris, after all, is referring to the Patriots’ notorious plan to interchange McDaniels (who took the head-coaching job with the Raiders, from which he has since been fired) as offensive coordinator with the mixture of Patricia and Choose, which resulted in catastrophe. The Patriots tried to salvage issues final season by bringing in Invoice O’Brien, however the injury was seemingly performed. And Harris is obvious about the place he thinks the duty ought to lie.

“It is just like the breath of Mac Jones in New England, it got here and went and it should not have [gone] the way in which that it went,” Harris mentioned. “And the one motive that it did is as a result of Invoice Belichick, being caught in his methods, was very a lot so like, ‘So long as I’m right here, so long as I’m — together with Robert Kraft — the highest canine at this group, regardless of who, regardless of the place, what place, the place they coach, no matter, we may have success.'”

As a substitute, the choice “was a debacle,” based on Harris, who mentioned that gamers may inform instantly that the association wasn’t going to work. He did, although, perceive why Belichick thought issues would work out.

“He wants full-on management. That is simply the sort of man Invoice Belichick is,” he mentioned. “However on the identical time, are you able to blame him? As a result of within the 20 years the place he had full management, he had lots of success. So you’ll be able to’t blame him.”

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