Patriots Talk: Reacting to ex-Pats exec’s harsh Mac Jones criticism

Patriots Talk: Reacting to ex-Pats exec's harsh Mac Jones criticism

Mac Jones earned plenty of praise for his rock-solid rookie season, but the New England Patriots quarterback hasn’t been immune to criticism so far in Year 2.

Jones has thrown five interceptions and lost one fumble through the first three games of the season. The Patriots are 1-2 to begin the campaign, largely because of costly turnovers.

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Former Pats executive Michael Lombardi didn’t hold back in his critique of Jones during a recent episode of his “GM Shuffle” podcast. Lombardi ripped Jones for hurting the team by not protecting the ball and referred to the 2022 Patriots as the “most anti-Belichick team he’s ever seen.” He even went as far as to say Jones could be out of the league if he continues to play this way.

Harsh, to say the least. But is the comment warranted?

Tom E. Curran, Phil Perry, and Matt Cassel shared their reactions to Lombardi’s comments on a new episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast.

Patriots Talk: Can Brian Hoyer lift the Patriots in Mac Jones absence? | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

“I just think the idea he’ll be out of the league soon if he continues to play the way he’s been playing is a little too strong. That’s a little hot for me,” Perry said. “I’m not sure it’s really fair to Mac Jones to be looking at his situation and say this isn’t coaching, this is players just not taking care of the football and playing ‘out of control.’ …

“I think we know who Mac Jones is. I think we know he’s smart, I think we know he’s accurate. To me, he hasn’t fallen off in those categories from Year 1 and Year 2. There’s a lot that’s going on around him that has changed the results a little bit, but to be saying he might be out of the league soon based on three weeks in his second year is a little strong to me.”

Cassel explains that while a couple of Jones’ decisions in Week 3 were questionable, some of his turnovers simply haven’t been the QB’s fault.

“At the end of the day, those are bold statements,” Cassel said. “And if you turn on the film, the first interception against Miami — look, it’s a ball that you’ve got a 1-on-1 matchup on the outside with DeVante Parker, your new toy. You’re throwing it up and another good player in this league, Xavien Howard, pops the ball up for an interception. It wasn’t a bad decision, it really wasn’t a bad throw. It was just a good play by the opposing defense.

“The strip-sack in that game, they had a miscommunication on the offensive line. … That’s not on Mac Jones as much as it is on the communication upfront.”

Jones is currently managing a high-ankle sprain and his status for Sunday’s game in Green Bay is in doubt. If he’s unable to suit up, veteran QB Brian Hoyer will get the start.

Also discussed in the episode: How significantly has Mac Jones’ ankle injury and overall start to the season hurt his development? How much does the lack of transparency around Mac’s injury negatively impact his ability to do what’s best for his health and long-term career aspirations? How much has the offensive coaching situation factored into Mac’s decision-making on how quickly he wants to get back on the field? And Cassel breaks down what it’s like as the veteran backup when the starting QB goes down with an injury.

Check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network, or watch on YouTube.