3 Patriots most to blame for turning Mac Jones into a complete disaster

Mac Jones is Mac Jones'ing, so let's try to pinpoint the source of this unholy blight.

Mac Jones, New England Patriots
Mac Jones, New England Patriots / Elsa/GettyImages
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JuJu Smith-Schuster has done nothing to boost the Patriots' WR room

The Patriots signed JuJu Smith-Schuster to a three-year, $25.5 million contract in the offseason. He was expected to supply much-needed support in the WR room alongside fellow newcomer DeVante Parker. Neither has been particularly effective, but Smith-Schuster has been especially poor relative to expectations.

Smith-Schuster put together a strong 2022 campaign with the Kansas City Chiefs, accruing 933 yards and three touchdowns in 16 appearances (14 starts). He averaged 12.0 yards per catch. With the Patriots, he has made eight appearances with a grand total of 22 catches for 149 yards and one touchdown. He's averaging 6.8 yards per catch, essentially cutting last season's average in half.

It's fair to blame the system and the difference in QB (Patrick Mahomes is going to push the ball further down field than Mac Jones), but Smith-Schuster has been a shell of himself. On Sunday, he engaged in a shouting match with Patriots WR coach Troy Brown after a miscue led to an interception. The vibes are bad, and Smith-Schuster has to receive a portion of the blame. He was billed as Jones' new WR1. Instead, he's a clear third fiddle behind Parker and the upstart Demario Douglas.

New England is destined for a QB change in the offseason, so maybe Smith-Schuster gets a chance to course correct with a different signal-caller in 2024. But, 2023 has been a complete bust. He's not living up to his contract and the Patriots have to feel remorse watching Jakobi Meyers tearing it up for the Las Vegas Raiders.