It has been a disaster of a season for the New England Patriots. Sitting with a 2-8 record and as messy as a quarterback situation as it gets in the NFL, the big question is who will take the snaps under center when the team takes on the New York Giants?
Will it be the No. 15 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft in Mac Jones, who has been on a downward spiral of regression since his solid rookie season?
Despite what Bill Belichick has or (has failed) to build around him, Jones has his fair share of the blame for now looking down the role of the Patriots next franchise quarterback. It’s been his strongest attribute coming out of college that has turned into a glaring weakness thus far this season and that has been his decision making.
Can New England Patriots QB Mac Jones lean on his strongest attribute?
With 10 touchdowns and 10 interception this season, it is the interceptions that has ready stood out which led to his benching against the Indianapolis Colts prior to the team’s bye week. The timing was probably a good thing for Mac Jones and his chances to start on Sunday because there has been a little bit of time to get that fresh out of the minds of the coaches and fans and it also gave him an opportunity to correct things in practice. Will that be enough for Belichick to stick with his third-year quarterback?
In that respect, Jones knows that decision is out of his hands.
"Really, what I've been focusing on is what I can control," Jones said during his conference with the media this week. "I put a lot of thought into that, things I can control throughout the year, in the past, and the future. And right now it's today, I'm really focused on having good walkthroughs, which we did, and having good practice. So that's what I can do. Control what I can control."
In a perfect world for Mac Jones, he’ll get the start and have the type of game against the Giants that reminds everyone of why he was highly praised coming out of the University of Alabama. If anything, it could be an audition for other teams around the league who may think they can tap into his potential with the right weapons around him. On whether that future is with the Patriots, well it seems he is already too broken in the system. But Jones himself is still hopeful he’s the man.
“Hope so,” Jones said when asked if he will be the starter. “I mean, that’s the plan. I think I always work really hard for that and really put a lot of attention and detail into the week, like I talked about. A lot of that decision-making is things I can’t control, but I can control my attitude and my effort, like I talked about, and really thankful overall just to be in the NFL and be playing quarterback. And Thanksgiving, right? It’s a great week to be grateful for a lot of things and to play this game, the game we love, together, I think that means a lot to me regardless of the situation.”
No matter who is named the starter in the Week 12 battle between the New England Patriots and New York Giants, the storyline and spotlight will be on Mac Jones and how his time in New England has been jaded. Even if Jones get the nod and has his best game ever, the talk will still be about the Patriots potentially moving on, especially with a top 5 pick and the potential of a Caleb Williams, Drake Maye or Bo Nix awaiting.
The other scenario would be the Patriots changing things up and going with Bailey Zappe, Will Grier, or undrafted rookie Malik Cunningham. Rolling with either of those quarterbacks could be a sign of the team tanking for the next guy…although “tanking” wouldn’t be in Belichick’s vocabulary. Whatever the outcome, all eyes will be on Mac Jones come Sunday.