Whether Patriots coaches, particularly Bill Belichick, are sold on Mac Jones as New England’s quarterback of the future remains up for debate.
But the players? They apparently are sold on the 24-year-old quarterback.
Belichick on Monday made headlines when he offered a wishy-washy answer to a question about Jones during his end-of-season news conference. His comments harkened back to similarly vague remarks made about Jones during the height of “Zappe Fever.”
During his Tuesday appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Felger & Mazz” show, Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard was asked how Belichick’s refusal to back Jones as the Patriots’ franchise quarterback was received among players.
“Not well,” Bedard said. “The players that I’ve spoken to over the past week or so, sort of buttoning up end-of-the-season stuff is what I do every year, Mac has universal support in the locker room. And the players on both sides of the ball — especially offense — realize the position they were put in this season. They were not put in a position to succeed. I think it was a problem this year. We’ll see what happens — if Bill does anything more in private.
“But I think the lack of accountability by the head coach on him putting players in these positions, specifically how Bill handled the whole Bailey Zappe situation — that did not go over well in the locker room with Mac’s teammates. And I think there’s an issue there, and I don’t think further throwing Mac Jones under the bus is going to help that.”
Belichick clearly must do some damage control this offseason. From alienating Jones to reportedly being “talked back” to by a rookie cornerback, the Patriots head coach might no longer command as much respect as he once did.
However, as Bedard alluded to, what really matters is how Belichick handles himself in private. If he’s accountable to his players and owns the mistakes he made this season, few will care what he says at a podium.
Step one: Find an offensive coordinator who Jones and his teammates can believe in.