The New England Patriots were a surprise playoff team in 2021 during the rookie season of Mac Jones. The first-round pick did an excellent job of managing games for the New England offense, doing just enough to keep opponents honest but relying mostly on their strong running game and defense.
Coming into 2022, there was hope and optimism that Jones would take that next step in his development. He would graduate from game manager to someone capable of putting the offense on his back for stretches and producing.
Head coach Bill Belichick spoke highly of the work that Jones was putting in during the offseason. He looked poised for a breakout as the team also added wide receiver DeVante Parker to the mix.
Unfortunately, Jones has yet to hit that next level. He has been below average through three games with turnovers being his biggest issue. Jones has turned the ball over at least once in every game, throwing five interceptions and fumbling once. The five interceptions are currently the most in the NFL.
That is something that no coaching staff will stand for as turnovers are killers. Despite only being in his second season in the NFL, could those turnovers cost Jones his starting job? That is what former Patriots assistant Mike Lombardi believes.
According to NFL Rumors on Twitter, Jones could lose his starting job if he cannot cut down on the turnovers. Lombardi also worked with Belichick when he was with the Cleveland Browns.
While Lombardi is no longer a part of the Patriots franchise, he has a very good understanding of how things work under Belichick from the time spent working together. However, benching Jones at this point seems like a stretch.
Yes, he hasn’t played his best with six total turnovers, but who would the team turn to? It is unlikely that Brian Hoyer or rookie Bailey Zappe would produce much more than Jones has, especially given the limited reps that they have had.
The Patriots invested a first-round pick in Mac Jones and are likely going to give him a little bit more leash with the job. Should the turnovers prove to be an issue for the entire season and Jones regresses from what he was able to accomplish as a rookie, then maybe some competition could be brought in. But, for now, the starting job is likely his and will be unless his injury suffered against the Baltimore Ravens knocks him out of the lineup.