Patriots

Mike Lombardi described why the Patriots’ 1-2 start has been ‘anti-Belichick’

"I've never seen a New England team like this."

Bill Belichick
Bill Belichick during the second half of the Patriots-Ravens game. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Following the Patriots’ loss to the Ravens in Week 3, the analysis of the team has been scathing.

The list of critics now includes Mike Lombardi, an ex-NFL general manager and former Bill Belichick assistant. Speaking during the most recent episode of his podcast, “The GM Shuffle,” Lombardi had a strong assessment of the Patriots’ 2022 season through three games.

“New England is not doing anything that they stand for,” said Lombardi.

“I’ve never seen a New England team like this,” he added later. “This is so anti-Belichick. It’s so not who they are in that building. They just haven’t been themselves. And you could say they don’t have an offense. It’s not the plays, it’s the mistakes they’re making in the game. You could blame it on the coaches all you want. I think that’s pretty naive if you want to to do it.”

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He saved his harshest critique for Patriots quarterback Mac Jones.

“As much as I like Mac Jones, I thought Mac Jones would protect the ball and play smarter than he’s played,” said Lombardi, who praised Jones prior to the season. “And now he’s hurt with the high-ankle-sprain, and to me he was in danger of either changing what he did or he’s going to lose his job.”

It’s a bold assertion about Jones, who now faces the possibility of a multi-week absence due to the injury he sustained at the end of the defeat to the Ravens.

Jones threw three interceptions as New England lost the turnover battle to Baltimore, 4-2.

“You’re not going to play in the NFL if you turn the ball over like he was,” Lombardi said of Jones. “You can say he didn’t have an offense. They averaged 7.1 [yards] a play in the game.”

“If they don’t turn the ball over, they could be 3-0,” Lombardi said of the Patriots. “I’m not saying they’re good, don’t get me wrong. But when you turn the ball over like they did, whether it’s fumbles and interceptions, and you allow the other team to have extra possessions and the other team has Lamar Jackson, you deserve to lose.”

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Lombardi circled back to Jones, whom he blamed for uncharacteristically bad decisions.

“Part of the allure for me with Mac Jones is that he was going to be a smart player: Protect the football at all costs,” Lombardi explained. “But he’s playing out of control. What does he think he is? He’s throwing the ball up for grabs. Seriously. You’re not overly skilled, right? So when you’re not overly skilled, you have to make up for it with good decisions, good placement. All the things have to be [in place]. You can’t hurt your team like he’s been hurting his team.

“Everything they do goes right back to their inability to protect the football. That’s as simple as it is.”

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