Mac Jones-Matt Patricia dynamic grows extra awkward, even in win

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Mac Jones-Matt Patricia dynamic grows extra awkward, even in win
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Mac Jones-Matt Patricia dynamic grows extra awkward, even in win
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Mac Jones was livid … Once more.

The New England Patriots quarterback was clearly displeased along with his teaching workers in opposition to the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night time. The Patriots eked out a 27-13 win over the Cardinals, who misplaced Kyler Murray within the first quarter to what the crew fears may very well be a season-ending knee damage. 

However New England’s offense seems to be no much less damaged than it did every week in the past. Jones’ frustrations appeared extra notable than the Patriots beating a depleted Arizona crew on Monday night time. It marked the second straight week that we have seen Jones yelling at his coaches.

There have been a number of factors in each the second and third quarters the place Jones was clearly annoyed with the Patriots offense. He let loose a loud f-bomb as he walked again to the sideline after New England needlessly burnt a timeout on its opening drive of the third quarter. Jones threw up his arms on the sideline after throwing the ball away within the purple zone. And, most notably, he appeared to get dismissive with the coaching staff while walking back to the huddle.

“That is an emotional recreation and everybody feeds off emotion,” Jones informed ESPN after the sport. “And I feel at occasions we’re too flat. That’s what I attempt to do … inspire my guys. Shout out to everybody on my crew for responding.”

That is one strategy to spin it.

It simply doesn’t look like Jones had the endurance for Patriots offensive coordinator Matt Patricia, whose playcalling has been conservative and unimaginative. Patricia has been reticent to name downfield passing ideas. He has struggled with spacing for his receivers. And he has stunted Jones’ growth this season.

It’s no shock that he turned the butt of jokes on Twitter and even on ESPN broadcasts.

Through the “Manning Solid” on ESPN2, comic Keegan-Michael Key mocked Patricia’s patented pencil — which the coach at all times retains over his ear — by calling it a pacifier. Eli Manning threw shade at Patricia with some evaluation on the Patriots’ opening drive of the second half. After they picked up 12 yards on a easy idea, Manning commented that play is in each playbook, together with these at the highschool degree.

“They ran that play final week,” Manning stated. “That they had a man open. It is like their one good idea.”

Their one good idea? No marvel Jones is annoyed.

Every week after Jones was noticed telling Patricia that the “fast recreation sucks,” that’s precisely what the Patriots offensive playcaller hammered in his playbook. Jones ran extra screens than he’d ever achieved in a single recreation throughout his NFL profession.

The Patriots second-year QB didn’t appear thrilled about throwing so many display passes when requested about it after the sport.

“A play is a play,” Jones informed ESPN. “On the finish of the day, you’ve gotta have a recreation plan to win. And that was our recreation plan. And it labored.”

However the crew’s playcalling has not been the one level of frustration for Jones this season. Earlier within the yr, there was frustration between Jones’ camp and the Patriots coaching staff with how they dealt with his return from an ankle damage. There was apparent animosity between Jones and the workers all year long, and on this primetime matchup, the frustration got here out on the sideline, on the sphere, out and in of the huddle, and after essential performs.

Through the third quarter, the awkward dynamic between Patricia and Jones appeared prefer it may hit a boiling level. However simply when every little thing appeared messy for New England, the crew’s protection blew the sport open, with a pressured fumble and scoop-and-score landing. 

Then, on the Cardinals’ ensuing drive, Patriots cornerback Marcus Jones got here up with a well timed interception.

It’s fairly becoming that the protection would save Patricia, isn’t it? 

As a result of he’s — or was? — a defensive coach, by commerce. That’s what made it so weird to see him working the offense this yr.

After the interception, the Patriots put collectively their most spectacular drive in weeks — partially a product of a busted protection that led to a 39-yard pickup from Jones to tight finish Hunter Henry

It’s not like Patricia designed one thing sensible. He merely referred to as the play that younger Madden gamers like to make use of advert nauseam: 4 verts. It merely sends each one of many pass-catchers straight downfield. No one liked that playcall greater than 12-year-old me.

After Henry’s huge catch, rookie working again Pierre Strong punched in a 3-yard landing. Then Jones’ frustrations softened. He confirmed Patricia some love on the sideline as the 2 shared a pleasant embrace. Patricia even smiled. 

However Jones didn’t smile or stick with Patricia for lengthy. He appeared to go away Patricia with the message: Let’s run it again. The Patriots QB wasn’t content material. He needed to maintain the offense rolling.

However New England didn’t rating one other level.

The underside line is that this: The Patriots are in bother. Sure, even after a win.

Jones and Patricia are struggling their method via this season with what looks like a strained relationship. And it’s arduous to have optimism on condition that Jones seems to be enjoying considerably worse this yr beneath Patricia than final yr beneath Josh McDaniels, now the pinnacle coach for the Las Vegas Raiders

And given the Patriots journey to Las Vegas subsequent weekend to tackle McDaniels and the Raiders, everybody is aware of what the highest speaking level across the NFL shall be: Can Jones rise above this strained relationship with Patricia and lead the Patriots to the playoffs? As a result of proper now, New England is the No. 7 seed within the AFC — and that’s regardless of Patricia, not due to him.

Extra from Week 14 of the NFL:

Previous to becoming a member of FOX Sports activities because the AFC East reporter, Henry McKenna spent seven years masking the Patriots for USA TODAY Sports activities Media Group and Boston Globe Media. Observe him on Twitter at @McKennAnalysis.


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