ESPN football analyst Robert Griffin III appeared on the network's morning show Get Up! on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing issues with the Patriots in light of the franchise’s 1-3 start to the season.
While much of the blame has been parsed and put on quarterback Mac Jones, it is clear that a lack of competent skill players at receiver and no offensive coordinator last season have stunted his development after a strong rookie campaign in 2021.
Griffin III said the regression of the team’s young quarterback is a multi-year issue.
“Mac Jones is not a creator, but they’re asking him to create. That’s a scheme problem,” Griffin III said. “When you look at what he did in 2021, he led the No. 6 ranked offense in the NFL. Who was his coordinator? Josh McDaniels, right? One of the best OCs we’ve ever seen in this league. Now you move forward to this year, and they have one of the worst offenses in the league. But what’s the difference?"
"Well, in 2021, they were doing play-action 27% of the time," Griffin added. "That’s the kind of player Mac Jones is. Right now, they’re doing it 14% of the time. So because of that, they’re asking him to, ‘All right, we need you to go out and scramble a little bit…when the play breaks down, we’re going to do all these different things,’ and that’s not who he is.”
Griffin III didn’t shy away from putting the blame squarely on coach Bill Belichick.
“For me, this comes down to coaching. In year two, Bill Belichick messed up his young quarterback," Griffin said. "When you give him a defensive coordinator and a special teams coordinator as his offensive coordinator, and now he’s on his third offensive coordinator in three years in the NFL, that to me is the epitome of a coaching malpractice."
Bill Belichick is one of the greatest coaches we’ve ever seen," Griffin continued. "He’s arguably the greatest coach of all time in NFL history. But he really overthought this, and it’s hurt Mac Jones permanently in my opinion.”
Griffin went through offensive scheme changes during his time in Washington, where he began his career as one of the most electrifying quarterbacks in the NFL. However, injuries and an offense mismatched to his skill set both contributed to an earlier downfall than anticipated.
If anyone is qualified to speak on this subject, it’s RGIII, and his belief that Belichick is to blame for Jones’s stunt in growth as an NFL quarterback is a notable one.