Jones threw an ugly interception in the fourth quarter that would have given the Patriots the lead over the Indianapolis Colts had he connected with a wide-open Mike Gesicki. Instead, Jones elected to throw it right into the hands of the Colts. He was benched for Bailey Zappe on the final drive, who also threw an ill-advised interception into triple coverage to seal the 10-6 loss.
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“He lacks the arm talent. Here’s the other thing: Any time the guy extends plays, which is what you have to do in today’s game, he’s awful. He’s absolutely atrocious,” Ryan said on the ESPN program. “The worst part about this game, to me, is four sacks on third down. What are you doing? Can I prove that he’s got no arm? He averages 4.3 yards past the line of scrimmage on his pass attempts. That would be 32nd in the league. He completed 15 passes. Good for you. You take four sacks on third down. All you’re doing is hitting the check-downs because that’s all he can throw. Anything where he has to push the ball down the field, he struggles. It’s never personal. The guy can’t play. I said it four years ago and I still believe it.”
Former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi further explained how it can take a toll on the entire team when Jones is playing the way he has been.
“When you miss on the quarterback and the quarterback is playing like (he) is, and the offense just isn’t producing, it affects the entire team,” he said. “I had the luxury of looking at quarterbacks in my career, like a Drew Bledsoe, and then Tom Brady comes in. You just get inspired by the quarterback position. That’s the sort of intangible that it is. To see Mac play this way, from the sideline as a defender, it’s like, ‘What are we doing? What more do I have to do?’”
Coach Bill Belichick wouldn’t confirm the starter after the bye week. Zappe hasn’t shown that he’s miles better than Jones, but Jones has struggled mightily this season and hasn’t given much reason for the Patriots to believe things will get better. There’s also Will Grier, who hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2019.
What’s next for the Patriots at the QB position remains to be seen, but there seems to be a collective belief among analysts that Jones isn’t the guy. Their draft position continues to rise for 2024, and it might be in New England’s best interest to see if drafting a quarterback is the direction they want to go.
For now, the Patriots enjoy a week off before desperately trying to get back on track when they take on the New York Giants on Nov. 26.