Mac Jones probably is ready to leave his sophomore year in the rearview and look toward the 2023 season with the Patriots.
The New England quarterback regressed quite a bit and also dealt with a high ankle sprain that caused him to miss three games. Jones completed 65.2% of his passes and threw for only 14 touchdowns and had 11 interceptions.
Of course, some of his regression could be linked to Matt Patricia, who was calling the offensive plays last year and it was clear Jones wasn’t always happy with what was going on. Plus, recent reports indicate that Patricia was sloppy and unprepared with his playcalling, which didn’t make things any easier for Jones.
But now with Bill O’Brien on board as the Patriots OC, Jones really has a chance to take a big step forward in what will be a crucial Year 3.
Rob Gronkowski is of the belief that the Patriots will see what exactly Jones’ ceiling is under O’Brien, and that it’s an important year for Bill Belichick to see what he has in the QB with a competent offensive coordinator at the helm.
“He had a great rookie season,” Gronkowski said during his appearance on “The Next Pats Podcast,” as transcribed by MassLive. “Obviously it kinda went downhill a little bit, but I really feel like (the) sky could be the limit for him as well. In order to be successful as a player, sometimes you’ve just gotta be in the right system. I feel like having Billy O. come in is going to be the ultimate test. If he doesn’t improve under Billy O., well then I think the ceiling is closed. But if he improves under Billy O. and showcases his talents the right way, I think he can go as far as he wants.
“I think that (O?Brien) is going to put Mac Jones in the best possible situation that he can be in, week in and week out and throughout every single play. So you’re not going to really see a play where you’re just hitting your head like, ‘What was that?’ I feel like Billy O. does a great job utilizing his talent around him from the quarterback position all the way to the tight ends and to the wide receivers.”
Gronkowski spent two seasons with Bill O’Brien in New England, so he does have first-hand experience working with someone who helped elevate his career.
Jones and O’Brien have worked together in the past at Alabama, so the transition to a new OC should be a comfortable one for Jones. Still, a lot is riding on what he will be able to do in Year 3 as the Patriots look to get back into the playoffs in 2023.