Mac Jones dominated the headlines this past week, for rather dubious reasons beyond his control. But amidst all the rumors that he may or may not have been “shopped” by the New England Patriots this offseason — it appears the latter is the case — the third-year quarterback is continuing to do his job: preparing for the year ahead.
As part of this process, the 24-year-old has been a regular at the Patriots’ facilities. In fact, as was noted by ESPN’s Mike Reiss, he is one of a handful of players not to leave the area for most of the offseason:
Quarterback Mac Jones has been a daily presence at Gillette Stadium — using the workout facilities and Socios.com Fieldhouse to throw — one of a small handful of players who has stayed in the region for the majority of the offseason.
Jones entered the offseason following a disappointing year. The former first-round draft pick, who performed at an encouraging level as a rookie in 2021, did not build on it during his sophomore campaign: the coaching setup with the inexperienced Matt Patricia and Joe Judge replacing long-time offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels played a role in this, as did a high-ankle sprain suffered by the young passer in Week 3.
When all was said and done, Jones had regressed in virtually every major statistical category. He ended the year having completed 65.2 percent of his passes for 2,997 yards, 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, while registering only -0.031 expected points added per play. New England went 8-9 on the season, including 6-8 with him as the starter.
In order to turn things around and properly assess Jones with the fifth-year contract decision looming, the Patriots made some major changes since the end of the 2022 season. Former offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien was re-hired in that same role in an attempt to right the ship and get Jones back on track.
His supporting cast, meanwhile, saw the additions of starter-caliber players at offensive tackle, wide receiver and tight end. The goal of all these moves is clear: put Jones in a better position to be successful in 2023, and to get a clearer picture of his potential in the New England system.
While he and the quarterback position have been subject of several rumors this offseason, Jones is still projected as the Patriots’ current starting quarterback. They also have second-year QB Bailey Zappe under contract and are expected to add at least one more player at the position either through the draft or free agency.