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Herald: Mac Jones and Joe Judge did not get along at all

BOSTON -- It became clear throughout the 2022 season that Patriots quarterback Mac Jones and QB coach Joe Judge were not a great match. Details are starting to emerge on just how dysfunctional that working relationship was throughout the season, thanks to a new story by The Boston Herald's Andrew Callahan and Karen Guregian.

With the offensively inexperienced Matt Patricia and Judge charged with not only running New England's offense in 2022, but also installing new aspects that they were unfamiliar with, the Patriots were destined to fail from the start. Many questioned Bill Belichick's decision to put Patricia and Judge in such important positions on the offensive staff, and the problems started immediately in training camp as the team attempted to install aspects of the "Shanahan offense." 

But neither Patricia or Judge fully understood that offense, and other coaches were left to correct Judge on the field during practice. Players who have experience in the system were also baffled at New England's new approach.

"I think there were times the coaches were frustrated, especially the ones who had been on staff in years past and knew what we had done," a source told the Herald.

The emphasis on outside runs and play-action passes went nowhere fast, and eventually, the play-action was abandoned. By the middle of camp, players were left wondering where the offense was heading.

It just got worse from there. The duo switched the team's pass-protection from a numbers-based system to a word-based system, causing confusion among everyone. That much was clear as Jones spent the first weeks of the season running for his life.   

The Patriots offense struggled out of the gate, and Jones suffered an ankle injury at the end of a Week 3 loss. Belichick's decision to play both Jones and Bailey Zappe when Jones returned in Week 7 led to more disastrous results, with the Patriots getting blown out by the Bears on their home field on Monday Night Football.

Even before that Oct. 24 embarrassment, players were under the impression that Judge was already being phased out. He was no longer a commanding presence in meetings, and Belichick was "blasting" his assistant in practice.

Then there was his relationship with Jones. It sounds like he and Judge were communicating mostly through "profanity-laced outbursts" and the quarterback had zero trust in his coach.

"Mac didn't like him," a source told the Herald. "At all."

That's a stark contrast to Jones' relationship with Josh McDaniels during his rookie season, when the two were practically attached at the hip on the sideline. Jones regressed in every area in his second season under Patricia and Judge, and he let his frustration show a number of times.

Cameras caught Jones dismissing his coaches -- and on a few occasions, cussing them out -- on the field during games, further hammering home just how bad things were between players and the coaching staff. Thursday's story in the Herald pulls back the curtain on just how dysfunctional it all was.

Bill O'Brien is now back in New England to try and fix the mess that Patricia and Judge created. Those two are seemingly being phased out even more, with neither of them included on the coaching staff that the Patriots are sending to the East-West Shrine Bowl next week.

But while Patricia and Judge took the brunt of the blame -- and rightfully so -- for what derailed the offense in 2022, players aren't letting the main man in charge off the hook.

"I love coach (Belichick), but he f—ed us," a source told the Herald.

At least Jones is reportedly "excited" to work with O'Brien. After all he went through with inexperienced coaches in 2022, it's easy to see why Jones is so eager to get back to work with someone who brings plenty of experience working with quarterbacks and as an offensive coordinator.

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