Former QB defends Patriots’ Mac Jones amid struggles

Former NFL quarterback and current analyst Chris Simms believes New England Patriots signal-caller Mac Jones can turn things around amid a season that could already be a lost cause for the organization.

“Mac Jones is a good football player,” Simms insisted during a “Pro Football Talk” segment shared on YouTube, per Tim Crowley of NESN. “He knows how to play the position. He is a little bit of a system quarterback.” 

After head coach Bill Belichick benched Jones during the Week 4 38-3 loss at the Dallas Cowboys, a “top executive from a team that played” New England this season told Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated the Patriots “can win with” Jones even though the 25-year-old “won’t be the reason” for such victories. Following New England’s 34-0 home defeat against the New Orleans Saints this past Sunday, multiple executives and one coach blasted the overall lack of talent responsible for the Patriots being a 1-4 team ahead of this coming Sunday’s game at the 2-3 Las Vegas Raiders. 

“They’re not even good enough where they’re capable of managing the game around the roster right now,” Simms said about the Patriots. “That’s the horrible thing. They’re a team that’s not built to play from behind. They’ve gotten behind in a hurry early on in these football games because of mistakes. That’s been an issue.” 

Simms was sure to mention that Jones doesn’t have top-tier skills possessed by stars such as Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, two quarterbacks who can “make plays happen and throw lasers.”

“Within that, they’re doing a disservice where they need an intricate, detailed system,” Simms continued. “I think that’s what he would benefit from. He’s going to have to change his throwing motion. He’s going to have to change it a bit. No doubt about it.” 

According to ESPN stats, Jones ended Week 5 ranked 26th in the NFL among qualified players with a 40.2 adjusted QBR and 31st with a 74.2 passer rating on the season. He tossed five touchdown passes and six interceptions over the campaign’s first five games, and the Patriots are averaging a league-worst 11.0 points per contest. 

Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien said Tuesday that he expects Jones to start versus the Raiders, but Belichick theoretically could turn to backup Bailey Zappe for the third consecutive weekend if New England struggles again.

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