Embattled Patriot Comes Clean After Nightmare Performance

Getty Jonnu Smith

Say a lot of things about Jonnu Smith, but you can’t say he isn’t accountable after a poor performance.

In the New England Patriots‘ 28-13 Week 3 loss to the New Orleans Saints, Smith was dreadful. He had three dropped passes. One of them turned into a pick-6 from Saints’ Malcolm Jenkins. Here is a look at that back-breaking sequence which came on the first play from scrimmage in the second half.

The Patriots had just salvaged some piece of momentum at the end of the first half with a gutsy drive led by Mac Jones that finished a field goal to make the score 14-3.

The Patriots got the ball to start the second half and Smith’s drop led to Jenkins’ interception and score. The 21-3 deficit was just too much to come back from with an offensive line that struggled mightily to protect Jones all game. In addition to the drops, Smith also missed a few blocking assignments and gave a pretty pedestrian effort to block Saints All-Pro Cameron Jordan.

During the press conference after the game, Smith said:

Mac threw a catchable ball, Mac did everything right. I’ve just got to make that play that I know I can make and that I will make when the opportunity presents itself. You know I got to have a certain level of honesty with myself in the mirror, man. But the great thing about it is I have another opportunity. I didn’t put my best product and myself out there yesterday. I know that, the whole world knows that. But, you know, I know the player I am, I’m confident in the player I am, and I’m just looking forward to moving forward.

Jonnu Smith Was an Easy Target for Finger-Pointers After the Game

Clearly, Smith knows he played poorly. In case he didn’t, pundits let him have it after the game. Ryan Spagnoli of Pat’s Pulpit called Smith one of the “biggest losers” from the Week 3 defeat. Spagnoli wrote:

There wasn’t much Smith did on Sunday to be happy about. He totaled three drops, one of them turning into a pick-six to open up the second half. Smith saw just 30 snaps against the Saints and didn’t see much time after his back-to-back drops that killed the Patriots’ comeback chances. Aside from the drop that led to a pick-six and a drop on the ensuing drive that forced the Patriots to punt, Smith dropped a jump ball on a nice throw from Jones, who eluded pressure and threw a catchable ball to the sideline that Smith couldn’t haul in. Smith was the Patriots’ lowest-graded offensive player on Sunday with a 27.2 grade from Pro Football Focus. It is still early, but Smith has been a disappointment for the Patriots. They brought him and Hunter Henry in to help an offense desperate for production at a position that has been non-existent since Rob Gronkowski left.

At least Jones still believes in his tight end.

Mac Jones Has Jonnu Smith’s Back

How can you not like Jones? He plays hard and has his guys’ back–even when they’ve played poorly. After the game, a disappointed Jones said this about Smith during his post-game press conference:

I think Jonnu [Smith] has done everything right. He’s out there running. He’s out there blocking, doing what he’s supposed to do. Me and him, we’re not always going to have perfect days. Nobody is. I think it’s more about just getting that connection in practice and the timing. That comes with reps. We’ve kind of been together for a few weeks now, and we’ve just got to keep growing and turn the page on some of the bad things we did but also learn from them. There’s always good conversations that come out of bad plays or bad days or bad games. You just have to talk through it and look at it through a positive lens. That applies with everybody on the team, so I think that’s what we’ll do.

The Patriots will need Smith to repay his quarterback’s support with some production on Sunday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.



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