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Mac Jones went through some growing pains for the New England Patriots last season as a rookie. The young quarterback handled them well, guiding the Pats to a playoff berth after missing out on the postseason in 2020.

The Patriots expect Jones to jump into more of a leadership role in his second year under center. So far, it’s been a struggle.

Mac Jones and the Patriots struggle in final preseason game

Defensive end Malcolm Koonce of the Las Vegas Raiders sacks quarterback Mac Jones of the New England Patriots during their preseason game at Allegiant Stadium on August 26, 2022, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated the Patriots 23-6. | Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

There was a whole lot more with the Patriots Friday night than Jones’ play. Jones played four series. He completed nine of 13 passes for 71 yards. Of the four series, only one drive resulted in points in New England’s 23-6 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Granted, it’s still the preseason, but the next game New England plays is the real deal. They certainly didn’t appear ready, and head coach Bill Belichick took the blame for that.

“Well, we didn’t have a really good night tonight in any phase of the game,” Belichick said in a postgame press conference. “That’s obvious. Might have left it on the practice field on Tuesday and Wednesday. Certainly practiced a lot better than we played out there tonight.

“Obviously, I need to clean up a lot of things here. We just didn’t play well in any phase of the game. We didn’t play with any kind of consistency. A couple of touchdowns called back, turned the ball over, didn’t play good defense, didn’t play well in the kicking game. I’ve obviously got to do a better job and so, it starts with me.”

Frustration set in with Jones after an interception

Jones was picked off during one of his drives, and the interception seemed to eat at him as he went back to the bench. He threw his tablet in frustration, and later told reporters he needs to do a better job of letting a poor play go.

“I think I care I care a lot about this game,” Jones told reporters after the game. “I sometimes get a little bit too passionate. But at the same time, it’s a great point. Don’t let it carry over. I don’t think I did that.

“After the interception and all that, I tried to just clean the plate, and start fresh. Sometimes it’s getting the frustration out and moving on. Obviously, I need to do a better job of just playing the next play, and don’t let one little play get frustrating.”

While Belichick tried to absorb much of the blame, Jones did the same.

“I have to do a better job of getting the ball out and stepping up in the pocket instead of running around and stop putting my line in a bad position,” Jones said. “I pride myself in being right here behind the center, and you guys block for me.”

Belichick was asked about his reaction to Jones showing hi frustrations. In typical, Belichick fashion, he kept his answer short and sweet.

“I don’t know. I’m sure everybody has their own emotions,” he said.

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