Mac Jones' third season in the NFL has gone far worse than anyone could've hoped, causing him to be benched in four games before being sat for Bailey Zappe last week. As the debate has raged on if the New England Patriots screwed Jones over, former Pats star Devin McCourty took a bit of a surprising take on the matter.
The former Patriots safety turned NFL analyst for NBC placed the blame on his old team for messing up the situation around Jones after his strong rookie season in an interview on WEEI's “The Greg Hill Show.”
“I mean, to me it’s a no-brainer. Everybody in the organization raved about the guy’s work ethic. How he’s there early, he’s there late,” McCourty said. “So, to me, it’s hard to just say, like, it’s his fault. I have no problem if someone in their opinion says, ‘Hey I just don’t think the guy’s that good. Yeah, he had a good rookie year, but I don’t think that he’s the guy that everyone made him out to be.’ I have no problem if that’s your opinion.
“I don’t think, no matter how you feel about him, I don’t think you’d walk away from the situation and say, ‘hey, you know, this situation that they built around him was really good and he just didn’t get the job done.’ Like, to me, there’s no way, if you’re going to be factual, you got to look, there’s just no way.”
Devin McCourty blames Patriots' OC, WR situations for Mac Jones' regression
Jones looked like the best quarterback out of the 2021 NFL Draft class as a rookie, throwing for 3,801 yards, 23 touchdowns and 14 interceptions that year as he led the Patriots to a 10-7 record. But it all went downhill from there when offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels left that offseason to become the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, leading Bill Belichick to make Matt Patricia the offensive playcaller and Joe Judge to be the quarterbacks coach.
As Jones briefly battled an ankle injury, he and the rest of the offense's stats dipped in 2022 following the coaching change. He threw for 2,997 yards, 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions as the Patriots ranked 26th in total offense, causing them to go 8-9.
Even though the Patriots hired Bill O'Brien to become their offensive coordinator after the 2022 season, the team let Jones' top receiver, Jakobi Meyers walk in free agency. As players like Tyquan Thornton, DeVante Parker and JuJu Smith-Schuster have failed to emerge in the Patriots' offense, McCourty believes that all of that has added up to Jones throwing for 2,120 yards, 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
“You have three different offensive coordinators in three years. They had different receivers, and I would say impact players kind of each year. All have been kind of moving parts,” McCourty said. “Seemed like he kind of built a connection with Jakobi Meyers, then Jakobi’s gone. So like it would be hard for me to just say, ‘Hey, like it’s all him.’ Like Kendrick Bourne, his rookie year goes out there has a kind of a career year. Then the next year, Kendrick Bourne doesn’t really play at all. I think it’s hard to say, ‘Hey, it’s all on Mac.
“And again, I have no problem with the guys that watch and say, ‘Hey, I evaluated this quarterback, his arm strength, his mobility. Like if you want to come up with all of those metrics that you think makes a quarterback good and you think he doesn’t hit those certain criteria that you like in a quarterback, I get that.
“But I think. overall, if you say, ‘Hey, which side do you see more at fault?’ To me, it’s no doubt the organization, what’s been put around him, for these straight three years.”