Patriots players didn’t “ignore the noise” after last Thursday’s ugly home loss to the Bills; they created it.
And you can bet Bill Belichick heard all of it.
Nobody used their mouth to generate headlines more than Mac Jones. During the dispiriting Week 13 defeat, Amazon cameras captured the embattled sophomore quarterback barking expletives at play-caller Matt Patricia during a brief sideline tirade, something Jones owned up to during a postgame news conference. And after throwing 195 forgettable yards and one touchdown against Buffalo, Jones offered one of the more eye-opening comments of his young career.
“I think it’s accountability,” Jones said. “It starts with me. I want to be coached harder. I want to be a better player. The coaches have given us everything they’ve got. They’ve done everything to put us in position to win. But I want to hold everybody accountable, including myself. I think it’s tough, right? You get called out a little bit, you have to admit that you didn’t do your job. That’s part of the game. A lot of that blame falls on me. I didn’t do my best (Thursday night).”
Jones’ remark about wanting to be “coached harder” can be viewed as a not-so-subtle shot at New England’s coaching staff. Belichick was asked about it during a Monday morning WEEI interview.
“We coach everybody the best we can every week,” the Patriots head coach said during his weekly “The Greg Hill Show” appearance. “That’s not gonna change.”
From Jones yelling at Patricia to Kendrick Bourne saying the Patriots need to “scheme” better in key situations, it’s clear a majority of the frustration is directed at one person. But don’t expect Patricia to be demoted anytime soon.
During his WEEI interview, Belichick said it’s too late in the season to make any “dramatic” changes, including making an adjustment at offensive play-caller. His remark was less an endorsement of Patricia and perhaps more a tacit acknowledgment that he should’ve done something sooner.
The good news for Jones and the Patriots is they face a potential get-right opportunity next Monday against a middling Cardinals defense. New England and Arizona will kick off from State Farm Stadium at 8:15 p.m. ET in what will be a must-win game for both teams.