There have been rumors that New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones had upset people within the organization with his outward expressions of emotion on the field in 2022 but one Patriots captain defended Jones when appearing on “Good Morning Football.”
2022 Patriots captain Devin McCourty went to bat for the quarterback and called him the future of the franchise.
“I think he’s the future of New England,” McCourty said on February 27. “Any doubts, I think you’re wrong if you don’t think that. I think he’s the future. He’s in that building right now doing different things, working with guys, talking to guys; that’s what he wants. He wants to be that quarterback.
“They know the future is Mac Jones,” McCourty added. “And I’m excited for this guy this year, because now you get Billy O’Brien coming in as an offensive coordinator. (He’s had) great success, has done well everywhere he’s been offensively. … (Jones is) going to have stability around him.”
Jones had a subpar 2022 season, throwing for under 3,000 yards, 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, per Pro Football Reference. After making the Pro Bowl in his rookie season, it was not the growth many Patriots fans were expecting.
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While pundits wondered what Patriots head coach Bill Belichick might think of Jones expressing his frustration in the public eye, McCourty doesn’t believe it was an issue. If anything, the veteran thinks Belichick welcomes players expressing their frustration.
“Mac came into a leadership role as a quarterback and he speaks to what he thinks,” McCourty said. “He speaks about, ‘Hey man, I don’t like this play. I want to do this play.’ Same thing when I was in there (on defense) and I was like, ‘I don’t like this play.’ Because we’re the guys out there.
“And I think what people don’t always understand in our locker room: Bill pushes that,” McCourty added. “We’re in a captains’ meeting every week. (He’ll say), ‘If you don’t like something, tell us, we’ll throw it out.'”
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McCourty has a decision to make as the NFL world progresses through the offseason. The veteran will be a free agent and at 35 years old, retirement is looming.
According to McCourty, Matthew Slater is campaigning hard for McCourty to return.
“I question our friendship, for one,” McCourty said jokingly. “Because we were supposed to both be deciding. And he texts me and goes, ‘Hey, I just talked to Bill (Belichick). I’m going back. Don’t make me do this alone.’ When did you decide to go back? I thought you would text me.
“And then now, he goes on CBS up in New England with Steve Burton, and they’re like, ‘Hey, you want Devin to come back?’ He goes, ‘Where’s the camera? … Dev, I’m back. Let’s go. Come back.’ So I wouldn’t call it a great friendship,” McCourty added. “He’s kind of putting me on the spot right here. But no, Slate’s, other than (twin brother Jason McCourty), that’s my guy. So it’s definitely cool to see him going back.”
Even though the two veterans share a strong bond, McCourty said that Slater’s return has no bearing on his own decision.
“Will (Slater’s return) have an impact on me? Not really,” McCourty said. “Just for the fact of I can’t play for him, he can’t play for me. It just has to ultimately be my decision. But if I did go back, it would be with him in that locker room. We both talked about it; it’s hard to envision playing football without each other in the locker room.
“But ultimately, I’ve got to make that decision on what’s best for me and my family, and my wife wouldn’t be happy if I came back and was like, ‘Well, Slate’s going back. Sorry, honey. No matter what you think, we’re going back.’”