Mac Jones Makes Telling Statement Amid Patriots Rumors

Mac Jones

Getty Patriots quarterback Mac Jones is optimistic about the 2023 season.

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones faces a crossroads for his young NFL career this year after a down season in 2022 followed by trade rumors.

“It’s important to just evaluate everything,” Jones told WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton after a general question about his offseason on Friday, April 14. “But I’ve definitely been giving it a lot, just like every year, and just super excited to get back with the guys here soon and get to work.”

Only this year isn’t “like every year” for Jones. He excelled as a full-time starter for two-straight years between Alabama in 2020 and his rookie year with the Patriots 2021 before things went south in 2022. He regressed in every major passing category last year, and the Patriots missed the playoffs along the way.

Patriots backup quarterback Bailey Zappe emerged as a challenger to Jones’ job last season, and head coach Bill Belichick didn’t confirm if Jones will start in 2023. Then, rumors that Belichick “shopped” Jones to four different teams during the offseason surfaced.

Jones showed nothing but optimism about the coming season, however, as he visited with children at the Boys & Girls Club of Metro South in Brockton, Massachusetts. The optimism includes working with new Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.

“I think we’re all excited for this next year, and it just starts with putting your head down and going to work,” Jones told Burton during the Boys & Girls Club visit. “We’ve got a great group of guys, and it’s all about how you come together as a team — players, coaches, everybody.”

“So I’m excited to work with him, and I know we all are, and it’s gonna be a great year. We’ve just gotta put the work in,” Jones added.

O’Brien returned to the Patriots after the combination of offensive coaches Matt Patricia and Joe Judge didn’t pan out. The Patriots offense sputtered in 2022 with 21.4 points per game, and Jones threw for 2,99y yards and 14 touchdowns versus 11 interceptions in 14 games.

O’Brien who previously worked with Patriots from 2007 to 2011. Mainly an offensive assistant in his first stint with the Patriots, O’Brien excelled in his lone season as the offensive coordinator in 2011 when the team finished third in scoring that season.

Jones, O’Brien Cross Paths Again

Jones and O’Brien briefly crossed paths at Alabama in 2021.

O’Brien took the Crimson Tide offensive coordinator job shortly after Jones completed his junior season and declared for the NFL Draft. The Patriots took Jones with the No. 15 pick, and he shined as a rookie with 3,801 yards and 22 touchdowns versus 13 interceptions in 17 games.

He also led the Patriots to the playoffs, which the team hadn’t done since Tom Brady left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020.

O’Brien Could Succeed With Jones or Zappe

O’Brien will look to get the offense back on track with or without Jones as the starter.

Zappe, who played four games and started twice last season, recently expressed confidence that he could make a run at the starting job. He threw for 781 yards and five touchdowns versus three interceptions as a rookie. The former fourth-round pick from Western Kentucky also completed 70.7% of his passes and posted a 100.9 quarterback rating.

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