Things are not good in New England as Bill Belichick rages against the dying light of his career with an average team helmed by a quarterback going backwards. Mac Jones has not taken the leap many hoped he would after a 2022 season that was disastrous for reasons largely outside of his control. There are many reasons for why Jones isn't progressing the way a third-year QB should, and they all were on display during the Patriots' 38-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. Jones had terrible fundamentals and made horrible decisions, driven in part because the offensive line couldn't give him any room to breathe and the complete lack of separation from the receivers. It was his worst game as an NFL player and is very much making everybody question if he is a starting-caliber talent.
Dan Orlovsky discussed the matter on Get Up this morning and said he largely blames Belichick for the way Jones has regressed over the last two years after a decent rookie season.
The premise of this discussion is mildly flawed to me because it romanticizes just how good Jones' rookie season was. Yes, he displayed acceptable accuracy and decision-making, but really all his rookie year proved was that he could shut up and hit open receivers. There was very little on tape that suggested he could become a high-level starter. Just because there was an absence of bad doesn't mean there was only good.
He has, however, undoubtedly gotten worse and it's definitely Belichick's fault. Not 100 percent his fault because Jones has to take some of the blame. But the coach tanked his sophomore season completely and is in the process of doing the same thing in Year 3 because he refused to spend money or draft picks to fix the offensive line. We don't need to get into his refusal to invest into skill positions again.
The thing about great quarterbacks, and even very good ones, is that they rise above all those problems and still perform well. It may not lead to wins but they play well. Jones can't do that and that's why there are legitimate questions to be asked about whether or not he's The Guy for the Patriots. But to say Belichick isn't doing him any favors is dramatically understating the issues Jones has dealt with and will continue to deal with as long as the longtime head coach still has the headset on.