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Mac Jones is one of the Patriots many problems.

The third-year quarterback was 24 of 43 for 260 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions in his last two games when the Patriots have scored a grand total of three points. And two of those picks were returned for touchdowns. 

In the aftermath of the worst home shutout in team history, New England has reached a new low in the Robert Kraft era. 

Through Week 5, when kept clean, Jones has completed 70.4% of his throws -- a solid albeit unspectacular completion rate -- with four touchdowns, four interceptions, a pedestrian 6.3 yards-per-attempt average, and a passer rating of 84, the third-lowest rating in that category among qualifying quarterbacks. That speaks directly to Jones himself as a problem. 

And clean-pocket play is the most predictive quarterback metric. Against the Saints, the normally accurate Jones even had ball-placement struggles, and New Orleans only blitzed him on 8.3% of his drop backs. It didn't matter. The Jones-led offense sputtered to a complete halt.

Here's the crux of it with Jones -- when the Patriots selected him in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft it was reasonably obvious that decision needed to coincide with New England doing everything in its roster-building power to construct a spectacular environment around him. Because Jones was a quarterback who threw to four eventual first-round receivers during his Alabama career and was pressured on an almost unfathomably low 18.9% of his drop backs in his final season with the Crimson Tide. 

He wasn't ready to elevate those around him. Didn't have the experience doing so. Didn't have to at Alabama. Vitally too, Jones clearly doesn't possess the physical traits -- see: mobility and/or arm strength -- to consistently rip strikes through tiny windows when his wideouts can't separate or move the chains with his legs when his blocking unit doesn't protect well. 

And that combination has created the perfect storm of offensive ineptitude -- the Patriots attack ranks last in EPA per play through Week 5. In Jones' defense, in today's NFL, building a dynamic offense takes much more than possessing a high-caliber quarterback. Gifted receivers -- yes, multiple -- a rock-solid offensive front, and a genuinely athletic tight end helps. And the Patriots don't really have those elements.

They've mostly failed Jones in that regard. 

Now this operative question protrudes -- where does New England go from here?

In almost every other scenario, I'd emphatically suggest a quarterback change -- yes, even at the risk of ending the chapter on a former first-round pick before the end of his third professional season. And if the Patriots move to Bailey Zappe, it won't be a totally unwise decision. 

Technically, Zappe does have a more live arm. But is he significantly higher upside than Jones? No. 

New England's offensive problems stretch far beyond their quarterback room lacking a freaky athletic specimen at the position or a passer with a rocket arm. Therefore, if they want to stay dedicated to Jones, apparently a well-liked figure in the locker room, that'd be fine too. 

While I'll acknowledge we're still relatively early in this regular season, I don't foresee New England suddenly -- or even slowly -- progressing enough offensively that Jones will enter the 2024 campaign the franchise's unquestioned starter. 

Doesn't it feel like wholesale offseason changes loom for the Patriots, regardless of who plays quarterback the rest of the 2023 regular season? Fortunately for New England, the 2024 NFL Draft looks to have one of the deepest collections of quarterbacks in a while.