Mac Jones has been in the headlines quite a bit over the last few weeks, and the subject of considerable speculation. However, the third-year quarterback is focused on the future with the New England Patriots set to start their offseason workout program next week.
That future will be a bright one, according to the man himself. Appearing at the Boys & Girls Club of Metro South in Brockton earlier this week, Jones shared an optimistic outlook for the 2023 season and working with new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.
“We’re all excited for this next year, and it just starts with putting your head down and going to work,” Jones told WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton. “We’ve got a great group of guys, and it’s all about how you come together as a team — players, coaches, everybody.
“I’m excited to work with [O’Brien], and I know we all are. It’s going to be a great year. We’ve just going to put the work in.”
O’Brien was brought aboard earlier this offseason to take over as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He already held those positions in New England in 2011, the fifth and final year of his first stint on the Patriots’ staff.
His return comes with high expectations to bring the offense back on track after what had been a bad 2022 campaign for the unit. Operating without an official coordinator, the Patriots instead opted to insert the inexperienced Matt Patricia and Joe Judge as the lead coaches on the offensive side of the ball. The experiment backfired, with the entire group taking a step back.
Jones was not immune either, suffering from a statistical regression compared to what was a promising rookie campaign in 2021. Appearing in 14 games — he missed three contests with a high ankle sprain — he completed 65.2 percent of his passes for 2,997 yards, 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Heading into a pivotal third season in New England, Jones is under pressure to bounce back. He seems to recognize this, and reportedly has been a “daily presence” at Gillette Stadium.
“It’s been good,” he said about his offseason thus far. “I think it’s important to just evaluate everything. Obviously a day like today takes your mind off football, and you get to enjoy the kids. But I’ve definitely been giving it a lot, just like every year. Just super excited to get back with the guys here soon, and get to work.”
At least for a few hours on Wednesday, Jones’ mind was not on football but the local community. An avid supporter of the Boys & Girls Club, he visited the Brockton clubhouse for a third time.
“I look at role models that I had and hopefully I can be that for some people here today,” he said. “I’m sure some people were here last year, and you get to see them grow a little bit, and it’s just cool to see kids turning into young adults. So, I’m excited to see the kids, and just tell them to have fun and enjoy everything and focus on school and doing the right things and everything will work out.”
Whether or not everything will work out for him in 2023 remains to be seen, but adding O’Brien to the mix appears to have increased the chances of that.