However you want to slice it, it’s been a frustrating season for the New England Patriots. With just three games remaining, the 7-7 Patriots — fresh off the dumbest possible loss at the hands of a disrespectful Chandler Jones’ stiff arm — sit on the outside of the playoff picture and will likely need a lot of help just to sneak into the postseason.
One of the bigger reasons for the Patriots’ inconsistent foibles this year has been a putrid offense. On Football Outsiders’ DVOA efficiency basis, the Patriots’ offense is 25th. Their outlook isn’t much better on a total yardage (25th) and scoring (17th) standard. While there are a variety of reasons that could explain their futility — Matt Patricia is in over his head as the play-caller, the receiving and offensive line groups are some of the NFL’s worst — much of the Patriots’ struggles can be explained away by Mac Jones’ second-year struggles at quarterback.
So when starting left tackle Trent Brown was found on Instagram liking a post suggesting the Patriots should move on from Jones in the offseason, I, well … completely understood!
Something you don't see everyday: Starting offensive tackle publicly supports replacing his current QB.#Patriots Trent Brown liked a post saying the team should replace Mac Jones with Tom Brady or Jimmy Garoppolo. pic.twitter.com/cgaCvNIS1o
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 20, 2022
Woof. What a sign of trouble in a mediocre paradise for New England.
To be fair to Jones, the 29-year-old Brown — a usual borderline top-level tackle and a key cog for the Patriots’ Super Bowl 54 championship team — has had one of the worst years of his career. The big man has played a massive role in letting the Patriots’ offensive malaise persist. Whatever previous top-notch form Brown has (or had?) isn’t showing up much on the left side of the Patriots offensive line this year.
On the other hand, Jones has been horrid, regardless of context. It’s completely reasonable that one of his offensive linemen appears ready to have someone else throw the ball. As Jones finishes up his sophomore professional campaign, he currently ranks 29th in the NFL in Expected Points Added/Completion Percentage Over Expected composite. He is in the illustrious company of other signal-callers like Noted Superstar Davis Mills (30th) and Matt “He’s Still in the NFL???” Ryan (28th). With such a cumulative statistic taking essentially everything into account, blaming Jones’ horrible situation alone for his pitfalls seems foolish.
How the Patriots reconcile what to do with Jones (and, I suppose, Brown) moving forward remains unclear. But even if they do somehow qualify for the coming postseason, it’s hard to imagine there won’t be some potentially tough decisions made this spring. At the very least, if Brown is showing signs of public frustration with his quarterback, he probably isn’t the only one in New England. And that’s just with players, let alone Bill Belichick and his coaching staff in private.
The disappointing writing could already be on the wall for Jones’ long-term prospects as a Patriot.
NFL fans had lots of thoughts about Brown appearing ready to move on from Jones
Great to see Trent Brown supporting Mac Jones pic.twitter.com/StI151rVuy
— Babz (@BabzOnTheMic) December 20, 2022
let the show begin https://t.co/WyKb7gJRhT
— Ronald Ocean (@AirShenner) December 20, 2022
But can you blame him? https://t.co/juUtk4XXEw
— Kai (@gixrard) December 20, 2022
Honestly, I'm not surprised lmao https://t.co/cIRWR2ssJF
— Joey Arredondo (@JoeyAJr) December 20, 2022
All is not well in Patriot-land, it would appear. We knew that, but not this. https://t.co/5jSHVZyPHi
— John Rooke (@JRbroadcaster) December 20, 2022
maybe he should worry more about blocking for his QB!?!? https://t.co/T7tcyUOSd7
— boston fanatic (@allthingsbos) December 20, 2022
He gonna block better for either of them first?? https://t.co/KD1LB7dEjI
— Harrison (@ItsHarrison74) December 20, 2022
They’re tired of Mac already?! https://t.co/qLIcTRl84t
— its a new day (@LaShawn1485) December 20, 2022
Situations like this almost always come from the coaching staff losing command of the team. No collective buy-in. Going to get worse before it gets better.. https://t.co/WJgDYJpnhU
— Steve Santangelo (@santangelo05) December 20, 2022