BOSTON -- For 13 years, Devin McCourty was as dedicated as a member of the Patriots can be to the organization. A favorite of both Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick, a three-time Super Bowl champion, and a shoo-in for the team hall of fame, McCourty was fully committed to the franchise as a player, and he never spoke poorly of any of his teammates or bosses.
But McCourty is a media man now. And he feels compelled to tell his truth.
So when the retired safety was asked on WEEI this week whether Mac Jones or the Patriots organization (i.e. Bill Belichick) is more to blame for the quarterback's downfall, McCourty did not hesitate while blaming the organization for handling the quarterback poorly.
"I think overall, if you say, 'Hey, which side do you see more at fault?' To me, it's no doubt the organization and what's been put around him for these straight three years," McCourty said.
That comment came at the end of a much longer answer, where McCourty detailed the coaching changes, the personnel changes, and all the information he knows about how hard Jones works. And he did it all while noting that Jones does have his physical flaws.
Here's the complete answer:
I mean to me, it's a no-brainer. Everybody in the organization's raved about the guy's work ethic -- how he's there early, he's there late. So to me, like, it's hard to just say, like, it's his fault. Like, you can say, I have no problem with someone in their opinion saying 'Hey, I just don't think the guy's that good. I don't see it. Like yeah, he had a good rookie year, but I just don't think he's the guy that everyone kind of made him out to be.' Like, I have no problem if that's your opinion.
But I don't think, no matter how you feel about him, I don't think you'd walk away from the situation and say, 'Hey, you know, this situation that they built around him was really good and he just didn't get the job done.' Like to me, there's no way, if you're gonna be factual, you're gonna look, there's just no way. He had three different offensive coordinators in three years. They had different receivers, and -- I would say impact -- players kind of each year, all have been kind of moving parts. Seemed like he kind of built a connection with Jakobi Meyers, then Jakobi's gone.
So like, it would be hard for me to just say, 'Hey, like, it's all him.' Like Kendrick Bourne, goes out there [in Jones'] rookie year, goes out there and has a kind of a career year. Then the next year, Kendrick Bourne doesn't really play at all. So I think it's hard to just say 'Hey, it's all on Mac.'
But then again, I have no problem with the guys that watch and say, 'Hey, I evaluated this quarterback, his arm strength, his mobility.' Like if you want to come up with all of those metrics that you think makes a quarterback good and you think he doesn't hit those certain criteria that you like in a quarterback, I get that. But I think overall, if you say, 'Hey, which side do you see more at fault?' To me it's no doubt the organization and what's been put around him for these straight three years.
It's an honest evaluation from McCourty, who was teammates with Jones for the first two years of the quarterback's career.
And that's continued what's been a year of straightforward commentary from McCourty, who said he didn't return to play this season because, and who for a high draft pick after dropping to 1-4.
He was ahead of curve on that one, and he spoke no lies on the Jones matter.
McCourty continued, stating that many criticisms of the way Belichick handles his team in the past have been off the mark. (He cited the media push for Jimmy Garoppolo to start over Tom Brady in 2014 as one such example.) He just thinks the decisions over the past couple of years involving Mac Jones have been poor.
"Kendrick Bourne, no matter what went on the second year he was there, he needed to be out there because there wasn't a better option at receiver out there," McCourty said. "And then you look at Jakobi now, he's been effective in Las Vegas, even though that thing has been in turmoil and there's ups and downs. He's still been pretty impactful for that team. So I think hindsight's 20-20, and obviously that's how you're judged as a coach. So it is what it is. But I think we can't just say like 'Hey, he kind of did this to Mac.' I don't think it's on purpose, like he did this to Mac, which I wouldn't want that narrative to be running with. Because I don't think it was done to be like, 'Hey, I'm gonna be the head coach of this team, but I want the quarterback to be in the worst-case situation, so we continue to lose.' Like I just don't think that was in the front of Bill's mind."
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