Mike ReeseESPN staff writer4 minutes to read
Fox Borough, Mass. – New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien hit a sticky theme Tuesday when it came to quarterback Mack Jones potentially recovering from a disappointing 2022 season.
It gives him a clean slate.
“A new beginning,” O’Brien said in his first comments to reporters since his appointment in January. “It’s not really about what happened in the past. That’s one of our themes about offense — going forward.”
The Patriots are counting on O’Brien to bring out the best in Jones, a former first-round draft pick who will serve under his third coordinator in three NFL seasons. O’Brien and Jones had briefly linked up leading up to the 2021 draft when O’Brien arrived as the University of Alabama’s offensive coordinator and Jones’ college career ended with a national championship, but O’Brien downplayed their history together.
“He was there getting ready to be drafted. I basically met him, and he talked to me about the outs of the offense. That was about her,” O’Brien said, highlighting the start of the Patriots’ voluntary offseason program on Monday. It’s the right time to start getting to know Jones and all the players better.
Jones was a rookie after a strong rookie season in 2021 under coordinator Josh McDaniels, starting every game in the team’s 10-7 campaign, which ended in a blowout loss to the Buffalo Bills in the wild card round of the playoffs. He finished 352-of-521 for 3,801 yards, with 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, and represented the AFC in the Pro Bowl as an alternate.
Head coach Bill Belichick noted Jones’ “huge strides” ahead of the 2022 season.
But Jones’ momentum was derailed after McDaniels left to become the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders and Belichick took the unorthodox approach of running a mostly new offense and turning to Matt Patricia as player coach and Joe Judge as quarterbacks coach even though they both have extensive backgrounds. on defense and special teams, respectively.
Jones started 14 games, missing three due to a sprained ankle, and finished 288 of 442 for 2,997 yards, with 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Belichick’s public support for Jones also appears to have changed, with the coach saying at the end of the 8-9 season: “Mac has the potential to play quarterback in this league. We have to all work together to try to find the best way for the football team – obviously the quarterback is An important position – to be more productive.
Jones’ feelings have also run amok at times in 2022 – on the field and on the sidelines with coaches. He was fined three times by the NFL for unsportsmanlike conduct—once for throwing a football at a defender, again for low tackle on a fumble return, and finally for jumping to a mound in hopes of recovering loose. soccer.
When asked on Tuesday about his thoughts on showing emotion, O’Brien said: “It’s really a clean slate. How you’ve played, or how you’ve coached, or whatever you’ve done in the past, in the end it’s all about what you’re going to do to start.” 1681842555? … Football is a game of emotions sometimes, but at the end of the day, this is a new year, a new beginning, and we’re excited about it.”
O’Brien admitted that the coaching staff, which includes new offensive line coach Adrian Klem, had watched expanded tape from the Patriots’ past seasons and “gained a lot” from it as they moved forward into a new offense.
As for what the offense could show, O’Brien took a page out of Belichick’s playbook and kept it under wraps.
“I think it would be crazy for me to stand here and tell you what we’re doing so aggressively,” he said.
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