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#pounditMonday, July 22, 2024

Former Patriots RB blames Bill Belichick for ruining Mac Jones

Bill Belichick with a headset

Dec 29, 2019; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on the sidelines during the second half of their loss to the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

A former New England Patriots player thinks Bill Belichick is to blame for quarterback Mac Jones’ lack of success with the organization.

In an interview with “The Athletic Football Show,” former running back Damien Harris said Belichick and his coaching staff failed Jones after former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels left to coach the Indianapolis Colts. Harris said Belichick’s handling of Jones was a “debacle,” though he admitted that he understood Belichick’s desire for total control given the success the coach had with it.

“What happened in New England to Mac Jones was because of the fact you took away an offensive coordinator who coached him to be a Pro Bowler and almost coached us to winning our division with a rookie quarterback in his first year,” Harris said, via Hayden Bird of boston.com. “And then you take — whenever Josh McDaniels left — Matt Patricia, who has coached defenses his entire life, and Joe Judge, who has been a special teams coach, coached receivers at some point. And then you just throw them in there and be like, ‘Hey, coach this kid up. He’s a first round pick, but as long as you teach him what I say, everything will be fine,’ and s— wasn’t fine.

“It’s like the breath of Mac Jones in New England, it came and went and it shouldn’t have [gone] the way that it went. And the only reason that it did is because Bill Belichick, being stuck in his ways, was very much so like, ‘As long as I am here, as long as I am — along with Robert Kraft — the top dog at this organization, no matter who, no matter where, what position, where they coach, whatever, we will have success.'”

Most would probably agree at this point that the Patriots did not surround Jones with the coaching staff he needed to be successful, at least in 2022. It should be noted, however, that the team brought in a more accomplished offensive coach in 2023 and things did not get any better.

Jones did show promise as a rookie, but multiple factors likely led to his regression over the next two seasons. Other former Patriots would strongly disagree with Harris’ characterization, but either way, the damage to Jones’ career has been done.

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