NFL Rumors: Do Patriots Coaches Have Vendetta Against Mac Jones?

'That needs to be nipped in the bud'


Jan 16, 2023

Many Patriots fans likely are jumping for joy at New England’s reported desire to make Bill O’Brien its next offensive coordinator.

Matt Patricia and Joe Judge? They might be plotting revenge against quarterback Mac Jones.

OK, that’s a bit strong, but NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran on Monday indicated both coaches feel Jones is partly responsible for their reputations taking major hits in 2022. Curran included the note in a larger report about the Patriots making O’Brien their “primary target” for the OC vacancy as they prepare to interview candidates this week.

Here’s an excerpt from Curran’s column:

Car analogy alert! Low-cost, refurbished replacement parts can do more harm than good. Pay more and get the right part in the first place.

Of course, unlike an inanimate car part, coaches who get scrap-heaped or reassigned can voice their opinions if they feel scapegoated. The potential for both Judge and Patricia to feel they were set up to fail and/or that the young quarterback made them look bad is very much present. That’s another tender aspect going forward. Making sure there’s not a bunch of Mac-stabbing going on behind the scenes by guys who understand their brands got hurt in 2022 and might get Machiavellian in trying to recoup status.

That needs to be nipped in the bud because the team’s primed for an organizational rebirth even with a couple of olds at the helm.

Curran’s column arrived a few days after he made similar remarks during an appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show,” saying Patricia and Judge might be airing grievances as they face job reassignments — if not firings.

If you followed the Patriots closely this season, especially during the height of “Zappe Fever,” then Curran’s report probably doesn’t come as a surprise

As Bailey Zappe captivated New England while Jones was sidelined due to an ankle injury, there was talk of Patricia and Judge “stacking the deck” for the rookie quarterback, who enjoyed success in a revamped offense that gave Jones problems all season. It was hard to get a read on the chatter, as some of it came from Patriots insiders, with players-turned-talking heads kinda-sorta saying the same thing. There also were some reports that turned out to be totally bogus.

But the claims went something like this: Patricia, the play-caller, and Judge, the quarterback coach, liked how Zappe did he was told without question. That he led the Patriots to a pair of victories only reinforced their preference for Zappe. When Jones returned, Patricia and Judge intentionally called worse plays in an attempt to make Jones look bad, hopeful that Belichick would make a permanent switch to Zappe.

Such speculation sounded ludicrous at the time — and still does. But if there was any truth to it, Jones’ public, expletive-filled admonishments of Patricia during games surely didn’t help matters.

And now, with Patricia and Judge potentially one-and-done as leaders of the Patriots offense, it’s possible they have an axe to grind with the quarterback whose spotty play contributed to all three becoming punchlines.

As for Belichick, it’s hard to imagine he felt good about Jones’ consistent in-game outbursts. He’s good friends with Judge and Patricia and might’ve viewed Jones’ behavior as insubordinate — which it was at times. Vince Wilfork and Julian Edelman — two players for whom Belichick has great respect — both thought Jones was out of line.

Plus, a report last week indicated Belichick grew angry with Jones during the season after he learned the 24-year-old was going behind his back to seek outside counsel. He also gave a wishy-washy answer last Monday when asked whether Jones is the Patriots’ quarterback of the future.

Add it all up, and it’s clear there are hard feelings between Jones and some of his coaches after a disappointing, drama-filled season in Foxboro.

Thumbnail photo via Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports Images
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