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Jacksonville Jaguars looking to build back Mac Jones’ confidence

Patriots quarterback Mac Jones watches from the sidelines
Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Following a rookie season in which he led the New England Patriots to the playoffs and was second in NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year voting, Mac Jones’ career has been progressing in the complete opposite direction.

Jones was once viewed as the long-time option at quarterback for the Patriots but has now found himself in a position as the backup for the Jacksonville Jaguars’ franchise leader Trevor Lawerence, who was picked ahead of Jones in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Despite his declining play, it was clear that the support around him from the Patriots ranged from inconsistent to utterly incompetent, but now it is on him and new head coach Doug Pederson to reinvigorate his career.

For Pederson, it’s all going to start with building back Jones’ confidence on the field which he shared during the NFL owners meetings this week.

“I don’t want him to feel like there’s any pressure on him to perform,” Pederson said. “He knows the expectation coming in and what we’re, as a staff, looking for. But yeah, you’re right, I’m not in the mind of Mac Jones, but you’re a first-round pick, you had an excellent rookie season, and then things kind of didn’t go the way you wanted them to and then you get sidelined a little bit in there and everything feels like it may have gotten derailed. And that’s not who he is, obviously.

“And so part of it, too, is just building that confidence back and letting him go out there and compete where he doesn’t have to be the guy, and just go out there and show us what you’re capable of doing, and that’s the expectation.”

During his rookie campaign, Jones threw for 3,801 yards with 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions as the Patriots finished with a 10-7 record.

But things started to take a turn for the worse during his second season in 2022 when his former head coach Bill Belichick appointed former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to be Jones’ offensive coordinator while also converting long-time special teams coach Joe Judge to quarterback coach.

The move proved to be disastrous as Jones passed for just 2,997 yards with 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions as the Patriots missed the playoffs going 8-9.

The team attempted to get things back on track by adding Bill O’Brien as the team’s offensive coordinator but Jones and the Patriots instead displayed one of the worst offenses in the league. Jones threw for 2,120 yards, 1o touchdowns and 12 interceptions before being benched for the remainder of a dreadful 4-13 finish to the year which earned the team the third overall pick in the upcoming draft.

Following 2023, it was clear that both parties needed a fresh start which resulted in Jones being traded to Jacksonville for a sixth-round pick.

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