The 2022 season was not kind to Mac Jones. Playing in a reshaped offensive system that struggled to develop as hoped, and dealing with the effects of an early-season high-ankle sprain, the sophomore quarterback was unable to build on his rookie campaign.
Needless to say that he had every right to be frustrated, and from time to time his emotions got the better of him. On several occasions, Jones was shown visibly frustrated with the New England Patriots’ offensive operation — outbursts that led to questions about his leadership abilities, and drew plenty of criticism.
Not everybody viewed Jones’ emotionality the same way, however. Count linebacker Matthew Judon among those who have a different perspective on it.
“I think everybody sees that and they are like, ‘Oh, he’s showing frustration or he’s showing youth’ or whatever. No, he’s just being emotional,” said Judon on NFL Network. “He wants to win. He loves to win. He’s been winning his whole life, and he’s showing the passion that he has for the game.
“Some people take that as a negative thing and criticize him about it. We take it as a positive. We say, ‘This young man wants to win this bad that he’s showing his frustrations.’”
The Patriots offense in Jones’ second season as starting quarterback took a noticeable step back compared to 2021. Several factors were at play for that, most prominently the team trying to replace long-time coordinator Josh McDaniels — who left for the Las Vegas Raiders in the offseason — with the rather inexperienced duo of Matt Patricia and Joe Judge.
The experiment did not pay dividends, leading to New England’s offense stagnating for much of the year. Jones growing frustrated was a natural reaction to that.
For Judon, however, that does not mean that outbursts are always in the team’s best interest.
“We’ve got to tame it sometimes, and we’ve got to understand how to speak, and understand when we can do that and stuff like that,” he said before again raving about his young QB’s leadership skills.
“He’s young, it’s his second year. First year, he had a lot of success. This year, he didn’t have as much success. You just saw it. It’s not that he’s a bad guy or he’s a bad leader. He actually is a great guy and a great leader and a great teammate, but he was just frustrated sometimes. That’s OK as a football player because we know you love the game.”