Mac Jones Was Replaced by the New England Patriots Due to Performance

Alex West - Author

Dec. 15 2023, Published 8:41 a.m. ET

Mac Jones standing on the sideline against the Miami Dolphins on Jan. 9, 2022
Source: Getty Images

The Gist:

  • Mac Jones was set up to be a successful football player.
  • He was pulled from the starting lineup of the New England Patriots due to his performance.
  • Bailey Zappe replaced him.
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The New England Patriots were once destined for greatness, seeming to be an unbeatable powerhouse for many years. However, when the NFL season rolled around in 2023, it became clear that was no longer the case. At the center of the problem might have been Mac Jones.

Mac should be a stand-out player. However, that didn't seem to be the case for a slew of games. Bailey Zappe was tapped to take over Mac's quarterback duties with hopes of salvaging the abysmal season.

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 Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots stands on the sideline against the Miami Dolphins on Jan. 9, 2022
Source: Getty Images

What happened to Mac Jones?

With Mac on the bench, it only leaves Patriots fans wondering: how did we get here? After all, Mac was supposed to be destined for greatness. He played college football at the University of Alabama, during which time he set records for passer rating and completion percentage.

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With those early accolades under his belt, the Patriots didn't hesitate to draft him in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. After all, they must have seen immense potential in the player.

 Mac Jones walking onto the field before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Dec. 3, 2023
Source: Getty Images
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They weren't completely wrong. Even in his rookie year, Mac led the team pretty far into the playoffs and gained national recognition among football fans.

Before the team replaced Mac with Bailey, his performance was declining steadily. The Patriots went into a losing streak and many fans began attributing that directly to the team's quarterback and offensive line.

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By the time the team played the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 12, 2023, they were drenched in failure and loss. So, when Mac got sacked five times in one game, the coaches reached their limit and yanked him off the starting line-up.

This didn't come as much of a shock. Rumors of the move were already buzzing ahead of the Patriot's bye week. "No. We haven't talked about that," Mac said on Nov. 14, 2023, on the Jones and Mego Show before the brief break. The answer soon became clear to the player when he was taken out of the running.

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New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on the sideline during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 7, 2023
Source: Getty Images

Will the Patriots fire Bill Belichick?

While the Patriots can bench Mac, that could only be part of the problem. After all, the team is only as strong as their coaching staff. In this case, all eyes are on Bill Belichick.

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"If they fire Belichick or the coach otherwise chooses to retire, there's a chance that whatever gains would be made by hiring an offensive coach might be countered by a Belichick-less defense taking a step backward," argued ESPN's Bill Barnwell.

This wouldn't be the first time Bill is sacked, though. Technically, to the public, he actually resigned from his role of head coach for the New York Jets. "The story, perhaps apocryphal, holds that Bill Belichick scrawled that phrase on a napkin moments before announcing his resignation to an assembled media throng," explains Grantland.

Massive fans will remember that Bill was only there for about two days before he tried to leave the Jets. Regardless, he's known to split when things get tough, so it wouldn't be unreasonable to see him disappear from the Patriots too.

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