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ESPN pregame show questions Bill Belichick, and sheds more light on Matt Patricia-Mac Jones relationship

ESPN did not go easy on Bill Belichick's handling of the offense.Darryl Webb/Associated Press

How it happened: Patriots take down Cardinals on Monday Night Football

Bill Belichick, Matt Patricia, and Mac Jones were put under the microscope by ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown” show before the game against the Cardinals. The analysis wasn’t always kind.

Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young got animated when talking about Bill Belichick’s decision to put Matt Patricia, a career defensive coach, in charge of offensive play-calling this season. The Patriots entered Monday’s game ranked 19th in scoring (20.8 points per game), 26th on third down, and 32nd in the red zone.

“It’s complete hubris to say that that doesn’t matter, expertise doesn’t matter,” Young said. “If I’m Matt Patricia, I want to stay in my lane. I’m a great defensive coach. The idea that it doesn’t matter, you can just come wherever you want and just coach, is just not true. And it belies what’s happening in the league today, especially at quarterback.”

ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters shared insight right before kickoff into a conversation she had with quarterback Mac Jones about his relationship with Patricia. Jones was shown at the end of last week’s loss to Buffalo screaming and cursing about the play-calling and wanting to throw downfield more, a rant that looked like it was directed at Patricia.


Jones said he is in a good place with Patricia, but did acknowledge that the two had a lot of talks in the last week.

“Jones said it’s all about being on the same page, and that he and his play-caller have had a lot of conversations about that this week — conversations he said they needed to have,” Salters said. “And while he said there definitely have been growing pains this season, Jones said now feels like a good time to turn the corner.”

Another Hall of Fame quarterback, Peyton Manning, gave a quick film review of Jones’s game, and it wasn’t the most glowing. Manning highlighted how Jones can be slow to come off his first read and doesn’t do well when he has to go through his progressions.


“The pressure is on New England to try to call plays where that first read can be open,” Manning said. “That’s when Mac’s at his best — when he’s on time, ideally throwing it to that primary receiver, or the first read.”

Ben Volin can be reached at