We can all sympathize with Mac Jones and the many, many frustrated Patriots’ offensive players these days.
We’ve all, at some point in our lives, probably been put in an unfair, unproductive, challenging position and been expected to do the job regardless of the suspect circumstances.
Unfortunately/fortunately for Jones and his mates, they just happen to do a job that’s passionately followed by millions of fans and expectations are created, monitored and assessed in real time in a really public way.
It may not be fair, but it’s called life. It’s called being a professional. It’s called being an employee.
And to that unfortunate end, Jones and his teammates simply need to find a way to do their individual and collective jobs better as New England looks to cling to its playoff hopes Monday night in Arizona.
As legendary former Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia used to love to say around the Gillette Stadium offices, “Don’t tell me how rough the water is, just put the boat in.” (As an aside, my high school football coach had a similar saying, one related to the pain-to-production ratio of childbirth, but we’ll leave that to the less politically correct days of decades gone.)
It’s true. Do your job, as another still-legendary coach likes to say.
You think UPS and Amazon delivery men and woman are tasked with crazy expectations and challenges this holiday season? Of course they are, but they need to literally deliver. No excuses.
The same is true for Jones and his not-so-jolly band of supposed playmakers. The time for sulking has long since passed. We get it, you have an offensive play-caller who’s not capable of fulfilling those duties at an NFL level. We know you have a QB coach who you yourself admitted you had to spend some time teaching the ropes this summer. They never should have gotten the jobs they are in.
Suck it up. It is what it is.
Forget the process that was all the rage in August. Forget the “effort” that’s been lauded by team leaders and coaches alike after recent losses.
It’s now or never for the new New England offense to actually execute at a victorious level under Jones’ guidance. That begins against a Cardinals’ defense that’s pretty putrid, ranking 31st in points allowed, 28th on third down and dead last in the NFL in the red zone.
“We got to go out there and produce.” Jones said honestly this week.
Patriots’ wide receivers coach Troy Brown, who knows a little something about producing on the field and getting the job done from his early dynasty days as Tom Brady’s most trusted and efficient target, echoed those thoughts. Just days after one of his pupils, Kendrick Bourne, expressed post-game frustration about the offense needing to be schemed better, Brown took a more broad stance.
“We can do it all better,” Brown said this week. “We can scheme up better. We need to practice better. We need to play better. We need to do a whole lot of things better. We need to execute better. That comes in every department of the building right now. That’s playing, coaching, whatever it is. Quarterbacking, receiving, running back, blocking, whatever it is we all have to be…have some accountability for it and be better at it. And just keep plugging along at it.”
Brown rightfully downplayed the idea that all that hinders the Patriots these days is the play-calling from Patricia. That’s a part of the problem, clearly. Maybe even the biggest part. But the execution in all areas of the offense by the players on the field has been lacking as well.
“That’s all it comes down to is execution. That was my attitude, you call whatever you want to call. It’s my job to make it work as a player,” Brown said. “That’s the bottom line. That’s where I stood as a player and that just comes down to better execution. Whatever you want to call it, we’ve got to do it all a little bit better, a lot better than what we’ve been doing.”
As diehard New England fans recall, Brown always seemed to find a way to “make it work.” Third-and-8? He’d get you the 9 needed to extend a drive. Late-game punt return? He’d get you the 20-yards needed to jumpstart a drive.
“I would not lose. That’s it. That’s it. You find a way to win. Whatever it takes,” Brown concluded.
Jones, New England’s receivers and the entirety of the Patriots roster would be smart to heed the advice of their resident team Hall of Famer with the season hanging in the balance in Arizona.
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