NFL burning questions: Will the Patriots (or any team) ‘unlock the best’ of Mac Jones?

Examining the struggles of New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones and whether his inconsistencies could lead him out of Foxborough or the NFL completely.
New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins / Rich Storry/GettyImages

Mac Jones didn’t enter the 2021 NFL Draft as the most talented quarterback, but he did enter it as the most NFL ready.  When the New England Patriots selected him with the No. 15 overall pick that spring, the Alabama product was entering an ideal situation.  He was cerebral, accurate and was landing on a team coached by the genius minds of Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels.

During his rookie season, Jones lived up to those expectations for the most part.  He was the most successful quarterback of the rookie class that season.  He led the Patriots to a 10-7 record and playoff appearance.  Most importantly, he didn’t make the mistakes that lost games.

Things were looking up in Foxborough once again.

But then 2022 happened.  Not only did Mac Jones regress in a frustrating sophomore season in the NFL, but he also seemed to have fallen out of favor with Belichick.  He also lost supporters with his lack of leadership in outwardly showing that frustration on the field.  Blame Matt Patricia or a lack of offensive firepower all you want, but what halted Mac’s growth as a quarterback in 2022 and so far in 2023 was and is his own inconsistency.

New England Patriots have to start looking beyond Mac Jones

With a 2-6 record, the New England Patriots now have a big question ahead of them.  Will Mac Jones every find the consistency to be the man in Foxborough?  That’s a question CBS analyst and Jones supporter Boomer Esiason wondered during an appearance on The Greg Hill Show on Monday.

“Well, I would say it’s been really disappointing,” Esiason said, as transcribed by WEEI. “I thought that the combination of Bill O’Brien and him, because of their familiarity with each other and Bill being at Alabama and of course Mac being from there, I thought that maybe, just maybe, somehow, they would unlock the best of Mac Jones.

“We have not seen that. I think I kind of tend to agree with Jermaine [Wiggins] here that the ship may have sailed. If it has, it’s been a wild ride, that’s for sure. It’s been woefully inconsistent. A lot of it is not his fault. Although I would say this year, I would have expected better.”

The fact that O’Brien has not tapped into Mac Jones seems to indicate that he is too broken in New England to turn back into the promise he was during his rookie season.  While some great quarterbacks have found their shine after their first few seasons in the NFL, the inconsistency and mind-boggling decision making of Jones has turned believers into pessimists and rightfully so.

So, will there be any situation in the NFL that could be the best of Mac Jones?  Well, there’s a team in Minnesota who could use a quarterback.  With the weapons the Vikings have, could that be an ideal spot of Jones to prove he’s a capable starter?


There’s also the Las Vegas Raiders where one would think Jones could at least get back to the player he was during his rookie season playing for a coach in Josh McDaniels who knows him well.

Then, there is always the team who drafted him.  If the Patriots find a way to stabilize the offensive line and get elite game-changing playmakers around him, maybe there’s still a chance.  But, for it to work in New England or any other team, Mac Jones must find his niche in attacking defenses instead of defenses attacking him.