New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones did not take the Year 2 leap many people expected from him in 2022, but his teammates still have plenty of confidence in the University of Alabama product's potential.
"I think we've got a great deal of confidence in Mac," Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon told NFL.com at the Pro Bowl festivities this past weekend.
"And we're gonna see, because we know what type of player he can be. We saw it at the collegiate level, high school level and we saw it at a pro level. And so that's what we need. He knows that. And we're going to be backin' him just as long as he's our quarterback, as long as he's on the team, we're gonna be backin' him. And I don't plan that he's going anywhere anytime soon."
Perry's Mailbag: How will Patriots address offensive line issues?
Jones led all rookie quarterbacks in completion percentage, passing yards and passing touchdowns in 2021. This past season was a struggle for him, though, as he threw for just 2,997 yards with 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 14 games.
Jones missed three games with an ankle sprain suffered in Week 3, and it didn't help that the offensive line struggled in pass protection all season and the play-calling situation was a disaster. New England lost five of its last seven games to finish at 8-9 and barely miss the playoffs.
The offensive line and lack of skill surrounding him still need to be addressed in the offseason, but at least the play-calling and offensive schemes should improve with Bill O'Brien taking over as the offensive coordinator. O'Brien is a tremendous offensive-minded coach and should be a huge upgrade over Matt Patricia, who was the de-facto OC in 2022.
Jones has proven he can lead the Patriots to the playoffs. He's not as bad as he played in 2022, and with O'Brien in the mix, there's a pretty good chance we see a bounce back from Jones next season.