NFL Rumors: New England Patriots Divided on Starting Quarterback

The New England Patriots have a quarterback controversy. Once the paragons of stability at the position, ownership and the coaching staff are apparently divided on the future of third-year passer Mac Jones. Per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, owner Robert Kraft is firmly behind Jones, while head coach Bill Belichick "barely wants to say his name in public."

Jones allegedly annoyed Belichick by going outside the building to seek advice and a means of navigating the Patriots' system. The team controversially declined to name an offensive coordinator last season, instead electing to trust the offense to defensive coach Matt Patricia and special teams coach Joe Judge. To the surprise of no one, the Patriots offense struggled, finishing 26th in yards gained and 17th in points scored.

After delivering a promising rookie season that earned him a Pro Bowl in 2021, Jones may already be on the outs in New England. He has been the subject of trade rumors recently, and various voices within the organization have expressed a preference for second-year fourth-round pick Bailey Zappe. However, according to Volin, Kraft is firmly in Jones's corner.

There's a real case to be made that Jones is a victim of self-sabotage by Patriots coaches. If he is sent packing, the Patriots will have a new starting quarterback to open the season for the third time in four years. It's no wonder Kraft is willing to give the former first-round pick the benefit of the doubt.

It hasn't all been bad for Jones this offseason. The Patriots hired Bill O'Brien as their offensive coordinator; O'Brien and Jones worked together briefly at Alabama. Jones could benefit from more experienced tutelage, especially from a coach with which he has an existing rapport.

The Patriots were arguably the most consistently dominant offense in NFL history from 2001 to 2019. With Tom Brady as their leading passer, they finished as a top-five scoring offense an amazing 11 times and never had a year in which they ranked worse than 12th. Those days are long gone. If the Patriots want to get anywhere close to the powerhouse they once were, they'll need to build momentum and chemistry in their passing attack. That can't happen until they settle on a franchise quarterback.

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