(Photo credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports)
Offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien and the New England Patriots still believe in Mac Jones as their starting quarterback.
Jones was benched during New England's 38-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, but coach Bill Belichick said afterward Jones would remain the No. 1 signal-caller ahead of Bailey Zappe.
O'Brien backed up that stance when speaking to reporters Tuesday.
"He blames himself. The game wasn't lost because of one guy," O'Brien said. "The game was lost, on our part, because of how poorly we played and coached in the game.
"We have a lot of belief in Mac; I think he'll get back to doing it the way he knows how to do it."
Jones completed just 12 of 21 passes for 150 yards and threw two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. He also lost a fumble that Dallas returned to the end zone.
O'Brien said the Patriots let things get "out of hand" as the Cowboys' defense started to stack big plays. Jones was running to avoid pressure and trying to extend the play when he was stripped.
"Some of the decisions that he made were very uncharacteristic of Mac," O'Brien said. "He's just trying to make a play, he's wanting to win, he's very competitive. I think you'll see a lot of improvement in Mac as we keep moving forward here."
O'Brien is in his first season back with the Patriots after working on New England's offensive coaching staff from 2007-11.
On the season, Jones has completed 93 of 146 passes for 898 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions. The Patriots have started the season 1-3, winning only a 15-10 squeaker over the New York Jets.
Jones -- who was a first-round draft pick, a Pro Bowl selection and runner-up for Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2021 -- was also benched for Zappe during a loss to the Chicago Bears in 2022.
"Mac is a battler," O'Brien said. "He's a competitor. When you play quarterback in this league, you have to limit the mistakes and you have to limit the bad games that you have, obviously. We're all in it together. We have to do a better job of coaching up some things with him a little bit better. He has to do a better job of making good decisions for us."
--Field Level Media