The New England Patriots have had a season full of resets.
Training camp presented the first opportunity to put a dismal 2022 behind them.
A Week 7 win over Buffalo brought hopes of another mulligan after a 1-5 start.
However, Sunday’s 10-6 loss to Indianapolis in Germany was a clear sign that the team’s issues may be unfixable at this point.
Mac Jones’ interception in the fourth quarter raised questions about who will have the starting job when the Patriots return from their bye this week.
Coach Bill Belichick said Monday that they will evaluate everything, including Jones’ status as a starter.
While Belichick made it clear that assessments will include every position on the roster, Jones’ benching was an indication that his status as the starter is tenuous at best.
“We’re not there yet, but I always use the bye week to evaluate myself and the team and everything I can do better, and there’s a lot of things clearly I need to do better,” Jones said.
The scrutiny is also on Belichick, whose team is last in the AFC and 2-8 for the first time since finishing his first season in New England 5-11 in 2000.
If the Patriots continue to struggle, they will be in a good position to land a high draft pick.
WHAT NEEDS HELP:
The offense has taken massive strides backward under Bill O’Brien.
Points per game, yards per game and third down efficiency are all down from a season ago.
Slow starts continue to plague the Patriots.
“There are things that we can build off of,” Belichick said. “We’re certainly doing a lot of things better than we did earlier in the year. But, it doesn’t take much to stop a drive or to have a bad play.”
Rookie punter Bryce Baringer continues to shine this season.
Jones is struggling, with 10 interceptions tied for the most in the NFL.
“It’s peaks and valleys, but I’m kind of in a valley right now, and just got to bounce back,” Jones said.
Running back Rhamondre Stevenson had treatment for a back injury and returned. Defensive tackle Christian Barmore and offensive tackle Conor McDermott also required treatment.
The Patriots’ record since Tom Brady left is 27-33.
The Patriots have a bye this week and visit the New York Giants on Nov. 26.
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