Sweet Music to My Ears: Trent Brown Declares His 'Love' for Mac Jones and Vows the Pats Won't 'Be Down Long'
As you look back as the crushing disappointment that was the Patriots' 2022, it's tempting to just look at it as one giant, messy failure, instead of a series of related under-achievements. It's like something the late, great Norm MacDonald wrote about in his biography. He discussed looking at a painting for its imagery and the impression it makes upon the viewer, and pointed out it actually takes more imagination to look closer and see, not the artist's vision, but the individual brush strokes. Which he then followed up with something weird, totally unrelated and fucking hilarious as only he could. RIP.
So as we look back on the ugly, post-modernistic crap the Pats splattered all over last year's canvas, it's important to use your imagination and find the details of where exactly things went so horribly wrong.
If I had to pick one individual unit that under performed the most, I wouldn't have to give it a second's thought. It was the offensive line, which I had figured for perhaps the strength of the team going into training camp. A runner up would be Mac Jones. Which comes as no surprise since the two are so enmeshed, like interlocking gears in a precision time piece. Throw one off and the other is going to be screwed up beyond all capacity to fix itself.
Though in a backwards way, this is actually not terrible news. Because we can trace the reason the O-line was a mess and that messed up the quarterbacking directly to the guy who coached both, Matt Patricia. As NBC Sports Boston pointed out all the way back in August:
Those new elements being introduced to Patriots linemen are both language-oriented and scheme-oriented, according to league sources. The language used to identify protection calls in Foxboro, for example, was primarily a numbers-based identification system under [Josh] McDaniels, who used the same system imported by Charlie Weis more than two decades ago. Now the protection identifications are more word-based.
Whereas before "62" or "64" would have been an example of a protection call heard inside the Patriots huddle, now they may use language employed by other clubs, like "Scat 2" or "Scat 3." It's not thought to be a massive roadblock in terms of the translation process. But it is a process nonetheless and a signal that there have been tangible changes made to how the Patriots operate up front. …
[T]he system is new, which means it has to be learned. And in the pursuit of ultimately thinking less, there have been moments of uncertainty, more thinking and missed assignments.
Over the four months after that article was written, the system never took hold. It was learning a new language taught by someone who has never taught the language before. The problems didn't end with Patricia installing this new scheme, but for certain it ended there. And is utterly fixable, simply by bringing in a new coordinator, which they have done. And a new offensive line coach, which they are working on. Who together will have no problem unfucking this mess.
All of which brings me to one of the players most affected by the change, and his attitude toward his teammate who took the brunt of the blame for it all. Trent Brown is feeling great about his quarterback and the future. And that alone is a reason to believe the worst is behind us:
Source - New England Patriots star, Trent Brown is going from protecting Mac Jones on the field, to doing the same off of it -- telling TMZ Sports the quarterback's haters need to go kick rocks.
The Pats' left tackle didn't mince words while out at LAX on Monday -- saying he's a HUGE fan of Mac … and doesn't get the criticism that surrounded the QB for most of this year.
Brown said he straight up "loves" the guy -- and anything Mac's critics say goes in one ear and out the other for him.
"They don't really matter," Brown said of the Jones haters. "Really, nobody outside of that building matters."
"It's all about who's in that locker room and who comes to work for us every day. That's it." …
"I don't believe we'll be down too long," he said.
So for all the heat Jones took for his bad body language and petulant whining and lack of leadership and all that, his left tackle loves him. He ignores the critics. Believes in the guys he fought alongside all season. And vows they won't be down for too long. Personally, I hope by "too long" he means not once camp begins. But I'm not hear to mince words with the Man With the Threesome Tattoo:
I'm just gratified to hear him talking this way. Jones went into his rookie season with the respect of his teammates, was named a team captain, and having to endure the frustration of being coached by someone who was clearly in over his head shouldn't do anything to ruin that.
Moreover, Brown himself struggled with the system all year. He allowed the 16th most pressures in the league, finished with just the 36th highest overall blocking grade by Pro Football Focus among all tackles, and was penalized the 4th most at his position in the league. Clearly the lack of direction and overall confusion hurt him worst of all. But he sounds excited to be getting back for another season under new (offensive) management, and ready to block better for the one he loves. Personally, I'm feeling better about the New Year with every news item involving this team. Thanks, big guy.