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New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has defended Mac Jones over the quarterback’s outburst that went viral during Thursday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills.
“Mac’s a very competitive guy,” Belichick told reporters on Friday, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “Love his attitude, love his passion for the game. He works as hard as anybody. As we move forward, try to work to find ways to be more efficient, be more productive in every area. So that’s coaching, playing, interaction with teammates, etc.”
During the 24-10 defeat that dropped the Patriots to 6-6 on the season, broadcast cameras picked up Jones vocally complaining about the team’s playcalling.
“Throw the f—— ball! The quick game sucks!” Jones appeared to say, as mentioned by Mike Reiss of ESPN. Jones completed 22-of-36 passes for 195 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions against Buffalo.
“Obviously, I just kind of let my emotions get to me,” Jones admitted during his post-game press conference. “What I said was about throwing it deeper within the short game. I got to execute that part better. But it’s the short game that we kept going to, which is working. But I felt like we needed chunk plays. I shouted that out to kind of get everyone going. That’s emotional. That’s football. I’m passionate about this game.
“Obviously, you don’t want to let your emotions get the best of you. I think that’s pretty much it. It wasn’t directed at anybody. Just emotion coming out. We kind of needed a spark.”
As it pertains to potential changes Jones and company could see, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport explained during a Friday segment on “The Pat McAfee Show” (Warning: Contains not-safe-for-work language) that he guesses “Belichick takes over the offense a little bit more moving forward.” For what it’s worth, Belichick refused to confirm or deny last month that assistant Matt Patricia was “calling plays especially” as part of his gameday duties.
Jones has largely failed to impress in his sophomore pro season, so much so that some are linking Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady with a potential return to New England when the new league year opens in March 2023. Per ESPN stats, Jones heads into the weekend 24th in the NFL among qualified quarterbacks with an 87.0 passer rating and 28th with a 35.8 total QBR on the campaign. In nine games, he’s thrown seven touchdown passes and seven interceptions.
The Patriots next play at the 4-8 Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 12. Arizona is in its bye week.