Home Sports Jones again pulled by Belichick, but remains QB1

Jones again pulled by Belichick, but remains QB1

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Jones again pulled by Belichick, but remains QB1

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones was pulled from a blowout loss for the second week in a row, but coach Bill Belichick said after Sunday’s 34-0 defeat to the New Orleans Saints that Jones is still No. 1 on the depth chart.

“Yeah,” Belichick answered. “There were a lot of problems. It certainly wasn’t all on him.”

Belichick removed Jones from Sunday’s game with 13:03 remaining in the fourth quarter, citing the score as the reason. The Patriots were trailing 31-0 at the time of the switch.

Last week, Jones was pulled by Belichick with 3:41 left in the third quarter against the Dallas Cowboys with the team trailing 31-3. Belichick later said he didn’t see any point of leaving Jones in the game but that Jones was still the starter.

Jones’ hold on the starting job figures to be a hot-button topic again this week after he finished 12-of-22 for 110 yards with two interceptions against the Saints.

It was the largest home shutout in Patriots history, according to ESPN Stats & Information, and this is the first time that a Belichick-coached Patriots team has given up 34 points or more in back-to-back games.

The Patriots haven’t scored a touchdown in their past 34 offensive possessions, which is the longest active streak in the NFL, followed by the New York Giants (25).

“As an offense, we have to rethink things and really just focus on what we can control, and that’s scoring more points,” Jones said.

This marks the first time that a Belichick-coached team has scored three or fewer points in back-to-back games, and Belichick said he intends to “start all over and get back on a better track than we’re on right now.”

Jones’ first interception came midway through the first quarter when he was hit by defensive end Carl Granderson while attempting to throw a short pass to running back Rhamondre Stevenson. The ball fluttered in the air to defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, who returned it 27 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Saints lead.

“Definitely don’t want to start like that,” Jones said. “We have to start faster in these games; it’s been a trend here. Everyone’s frustrated. At the end of the day, you have to turn that into action. We have to work hard to fix this.”

Turnovers have been a major problem for Jones, who lost a fumble on an ill-advised scramble against the Cowboys that was returned for a touchdown, and also threw an across-the-field interception that was returned for a TD.

Since becoming the Patriots’ starter as a rookie in 2021, Jones has six interceptions that have been returned for a touchdown, which ties him with Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford for the most in the NFL over that span.

Jones is 105-of-168 for 1,008 yards on the season, with five touchdowns and six interceptions.

“It’s hard,” Jones said when asked how he remains confident after back-to-back blowout losses, “but confidence comes from years of experience and practice, and things you’ve accomplished. But also trying to get better and learn from everything.

“Definitely need to be better as an offense. Really feel like we need to take on the challenge.”

Instability and inconsistency on the offensive line haven’t helped Jones’ cause, as the Patriots were one of only three teams to play with four different configurations on the line through the first four weeks of the season. Patriots receivers also entered Sunday averaging the least amount of separation on targets (3.1 yards), according to NFL Next Gen Stats.

The Patriots visit the Las Vegas Raiders next Sunday.

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