New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones has had a challenging season so far. What started out with plenty of optimism in his ability to make a sizable second-year jump — he was coming off an impressive rookie campaign, after all — has quickly developed into questions about his abilities as a starter in the NFL.
All of this is primarily based on his numbers: in six games, Jones has completed 111 of 168 pass attempts (66.1%) for 1,140 yards with four touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also missed three contests because of a high ankle sprain.
A lot has been said and written about Jones’ struggles over the first half of the season, and not all of the blame falls directly on him. The biggest question moving forward, however, is whether or not he will be able to right the ship and turn his sophomore campaign around — something he feels confident in.
“I’m trying to improve that every week, regardless, definitely putting extra emphasis on it and trying to match up everything,” Jones said on Wednesday. “Felt good about the progress we made, just have to apply it on Sunday. ...
“At the end of the day we know what we want to do. We need to score more points and eliminate the turnovers and negative plays. And that’s kind of where we’re at. From there we just grow together — coaches, players, everybody. I feel like we have good effort and energy and all that stuff. So, we’re controlling those things and then the results are going to come here soon.”
His optimism is not entirely shared by the Patriots fanbase, though. As the latest SB Nation Reacts survey shows, only 52 percent of participants think Jones will bounce back coming off the bye week.
The uncertainty surrounding the Patriots’ starting quarterback extends to the rest of the team as well. Only 44 percent of fans are confident in the current direction the team is headed in — a slight increase compared to last week’s 30 percent.
Additionally, a majority of fans believes the team will finish the season with either eight or nine wins and therefore slightly above or below .500: 58 percent picked that option, compared to 37 percent who believe the team will reach 10 or 11 victories.
Whether or not the eventual win total will be enough to make the playoffs out of a hyper-competitive AFC East remains to be seen, but fans are not convinced.
A league-wide survey across fanbases shows that the Patriots are not projected among the seven teams to make he postseason when all is said and done. Currently ranked as the seventh seed in the conference, the expectation is that the Cincinnati Bengals, who will visit Gillette Stadium for what projects to be a crucial Week 16 matchup, will leapfrog them.
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