Is the Mac Jones-Bill Belichick era in New England nearing its end?
After the New England Patriots posted a 10-7 record in 2021, many were optimistic about the team’s future with head coach Bill Belichick and emerging star quarterback Mac Jones. However, fast forward two years, and both seem to be under intense scrutiny.
Following the 2021 season, the Patriots lost offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and several key assistants to the Las Vegas Raiders. Instead of bringing in an established offensive coordinator, Belichick appointed Joe Judge as the quarterbacks coach, and former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia took on the role of offensive coordinator.
This decision led to one of the NFL’s least effective offenses in 2022, particularly in crucial game situations. Jones experienced a noticeable decline in performance, and a strained relationship developed between Belichick and the quarterback. After failing to make the playoffs, changes were implemented, with Bill O’Brien assuming the role of offensive coordinator.
Despite the addition of an accomplished NFL play-caller, the Patriots’ offense continues to lag behind in nearly every statistical category. As New England’s standing in the NFL rankings continues to decline, speculation about Belichick’s future has arisen.
During an appearance on WEEI Boston, Patriots’ reporter Tom E. Curran shared his perspective that neither Jones nor Belichick will remain with the Patriots in the next couple of years. When asked about fans participating in a poll indicating doubts about the future of either figure within the team, Curran concurred with that sentiment.
“Yes. I do. The reason why is, contractual to an extent with Mac Jones. THe options were Mac and Bill our together, Bill no Mac, Mac no Bill, neither one’s here. To me, the likelihood is that Mac Jones gets to May and the Patriots decide, I think it’s a coinflip right now whether you pick up his fifth-year option. I honestly don’t…I still don’t think you know what he is because of what’s around him…I think there’s a 50-50 chance they pick up that fifth-year option…I think Bill Belichick has until next year, the end of next year, most likely scenario.”
While there are numerous critics of Jones throughout the league, there is a prevailing consensus that he has not been placed in an advantageous situation. This is a significant factor behind the skepticism of many NFL executives regarding Jones’ prospects for success in 2023. Even with Bill O’Brien now in charge of play-calling, the New England Patriots’ pass protection and receiving corps rank among the league’s weakest.
As for Belichick, his decisions in his role as the de facto general manager have played a pivotal role in shaping the current state of the roster and coaching staff. Since Tom Brady’s departure, New England’s offense has witnessed a concerning decline in nearly every statistical metric.
While Belichick continues to command respect as a head coach, his recent track record in draft selections has contributed to the Patriots’ declining status in the NFL hierarchy. With owner Robert Kraft expressing discontent with the team’s results, it wouldn’t be surprising if changes were on the horizon.