In 2021, Mac Jones had a very solid rookie season as the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots, and it looked like they had found their next legitimate franchise signal-caller just one year after Tom Brady left.
(Photo by Bryan M. Bennett)
But this season, his numbers across the board fell, and there is now doubt whether they should stick with him moving forward.
However, NFL analyst Kevin Wildes feels that Jones’ decline in production is fully on the Patriots’ coaching staff, and he made an analogy to the proper way to raise a houseplant.
.@kevinwildes houseplant is named Mac Jones 🌱
Yr 1: watered, sunshine + good playbook = playoffs + Pro Bowl Griddy 🌹
Yr 2: cabinet, glass + Orange Fanta = no flowers 🥀
“It’d be foolish for the Patriots to trade Mac. His lack of development is on the coaching staff, not him.” pic.twitter.com/5ysU4CJYPW
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) February 20, 2023
New England has one of the game’s best tacticians in head coach Bill Belichick, but Wildes criticized its situation as far as the offensive coordinator position.
The team ended up finishing 8-9, and despite being in the hunt for a wild-card playoff spot all year, it missed the postseason by a narrow margin.
In October, Jones missed three and a half games with an ankle injury, and during that time, he was replaced by rookie Bailey Zappe, who put up 781 yards on a 70.7 percent completion rate, five touchdown passes and a 100.9 passer rating during that span.
It led to some feeling like perhaps Zappe was a better option for the Patriots than Jones moving forward.
Another reason Jones’ development is lagging could be the team’s lack of any Pro Bowl-caliber wide receivers.
By contrast, the Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa looked underwhelming in his first two NFL seasons, but this year, with the addition of star wideout Tyreek Hill, he looked impressive for much of the campaign.