Why Patriots' new 'normal' not only has Mac Jones encouraged, but Tom Brady too

In nearly every other circumstance, the response might sound as bland as the New England Patriots aim to be.

But after the circumstances Mac Jones found himself in 2022, his description of his new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien was telling.

“It’s been normal,” Jones said last week at an OTA practice. Already, that could signal improvement. Because last year was anything but.

Six-time Super Bowl champion head coach Bill Belichick eschewed a traditional offensive coordinator replacement in 2022

when Josh McDaniels left his post of the past 10 years (and 13 of the past 16 years) to become the Las Vegas Raiders' head coach.

Suddenly, Jones found himself facing a play-calling collective of defensive-minded Matt Patricia and special-teams-coach-by-training Joe Judge.

While both had prior stints as NFL head coaches, neither grew up on an offensive tree. And the results showed.

Jones’ passer rating dropped from 15th-best in his Pro Bowl rookie year to 26th under Judge and Patricia.

His completion percentage dropped from eighth to 16th, while his passing yardage per game dipped from 17th to 20th.

Frustration boiled over, Jones’ in-game expletives visible on his lips and audible on broadcasts.

Jones insists he’s confident that he will rebound in Year 3.

Longtime Patriots star Tom Brady, speaking with Yahoo Sports last week, has one reason why he should be.

Tom Brady weighs in on Patriots OC Bill O’Brien Sure, like Judge and Patricia, O’Brien’s coaching experience includes being at the helm. 

O’Brien served as Houston Texans head coach from 2014-20 after two seasons as Penn State's head coach.

But Brady, who overlapped five seasons in New England with O’Brien (including one memorable sideline exchange), saw the play-calling that has carried him across NFL and college opportunities.

“It’s hard to find good coaches in the NFL [and] Billy’s certainly one of them,” Brady told Yahoo Sports over Zoom. “He’s very talented, very smart.

“Was a great addition to our team when he came in '07.”

Brady said he and O’Brien “worked together very closely” in 2009-11, when O’Brien was his quarterbacks coach for two years and then offensive coordinator.

“I loved my time with Billy,” Brady said.

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