The 2023 Patriots season was a nightmare for Mac Jones, who was benched numerous times before Bailey Zappe took over as the starter in Week 18.

The struggling quarterback reportedly went out of his comfort zone to try and turn things around for himself as well as the team.

Despite going 2-9 in his junior campaign with the Patriots, not everybody is convinced Jones is a bust as a quarterback.

Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young joined 98.5 The Sports Hub “Felger and Mazz” on Radio Row in Las Vegas on Wednesday and discussed what he looks for in players and what he believes to be true about Jones.

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“If you’re a good player and could be a great player even if you’re with a crappy team, you will send signals, like ‘Hey, I know this looks like crap, but I’m letting you know I can figure this out,'” Young said. “I watch for that. I watch for players that are getting mauled today in their first year or second year. I’m just watching for a smoke signal.”

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One of those players is Jones, according to Young.

“Mac is somebody that has sent signals,” Young said. “I want to see Mac in a better space whether it’s (in New England) or somewhere else. I want him in a better protected space where he has a better chance to go and show who he can be.

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“I have a lot of confidence in Mac despite the fact a lot of people in Boston are probably done with Mac. That’s just somebody who’s sent me smoke signals.”

Young said he understands why Patriots fans are down on Jones, but doesn’t blame the entire situation on the Alabama product.

“What I’m saying is, the coaching situation, when you take a defensive coach and throw him in and have him call play … it’s just not right,” Young explained. “It’s not right. I thought Mac, in many ways, showed me that season, like everyone in the world knew this was just a crap show, right? But Mac stood in.”

Whether or not Jones stays with the Patriots remains to be seen, but Young gave an idea of what can help the struggling quarterback.

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“If he can get the proper help and innovation and the protection,” Young said. “I really believe in Mac. I still do.”

Featured image via Nathan Ray Seebeck/USA TODAY Sports Images