Following a decent performance as a rookie, Mac Jones regressed in his second year in the NFL. But things are going even worse in 2023, as his future as the New England Patriots‘ starting quarterback looks in jeopardy.

The team’s offense has been unproductive this season, having failed to score more than 30 points and recording 20 or more just twice. Many are pointing their fingers at the quarterback, who is 28th in the league in QBR (36.5). Offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, however, has shown strong support for Jones. In fact, he claimed that if there’s someone to blame, that’s him.

What I see is that he’s a very bright guy, he works very hard, he’s passionate about the game. Things haven’t gone great for him this year. I don’t think he’s the No. 1 guy to blame. If you want to blame anybody, blame me. I’m the one that designs it and it’s not going very well,” O’Brien said, via NESN.

After a terrible experiment with Matt Patricia leading the unit in 2022, the Patriots brought O’Brien back this offseason, but he hasn’t brought any solution to their offensive woes. The team averages an eighth-worst 293.5 yards per game, while its 13.5 points per game are the second worst in the NFL. Therefore, it’s safe to say the problem is bigger than the quarterback.

“Look, at the end of the day can he execute better? Are there things that he can do better? Sure. But there’s things that all of us have to do better to put a winning product on the field, and right now that’s not what it is,” O’Brien added. “What I see is a very confident guy, that’s a very bright guy, a very hard-working guy that’ll continue to work hard and try to improve on the things he needs to improve on.”

Mac Jones’ future as Patriots QB1 looks up in the air

On Sunday, Jones was benched for Bailey Zappe at halftime of the Patriots’ 7-10 loss to the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. That was the fourth time he was pulled this year.

But since Zappe never seized his time on the field either, Jones has so far started every game for the Patriots this season. The question is for how long Bill Belichick will go on like this if Jones doesn’t turn up his level.

SURVEY Should the Patriots bench Mac Jones?

Should the Patriots bench Mac Jones?

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I’m not going to make any announcements on our lineup at any position,” the longtime Patriots coach said before the Patriots first practice ahead of Week 13. “It doesn’t matter what the position is. We’ll see how practice goes and see if everybody’s ready. I hope everybody’s ready to go. We’ll see what the injury situation is, and we’ll go with who we think is best on Sunday.”

According to NBC Sports Boston, Jones didn’t throw during the media portion on Wednesday’s practice. Instead, Zappe and Malik Cunningham shared the reps. The Patriots welcome the Chargers to Gillette Stadium on Sunday, but who will be under center by then remains unclear.