Mac Jones clearly expects to be the Patriots' quarterback in 2023, despite rumors that the team has reportedly looked into trading him

After a successful rookie season that ended with a Pro Bowl appearance, Jones and the Patriots failed to live up to expectations in 2022. Jones, however, is optimistic for this upcoming season that includes the return of new offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien. 

"I think we're all excited for this next year, and it just starts with putting your head down and going to work," Jones told WBZ-TV during an appearance at a local Boys & Girls Club. "We've got a great group of guys, and it's all about how you come together as a team — players, coaches, everybody. 

"So I'm excited to work with (O'Brien), and I know we all are, and it's gonna be a great year. We've just gotta put the work in."

Mac Jones
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Jones has legitimate reasons to be optimistic about the upcoming season, assuming the Patriots don't trade him. For one, the Patriots have an experienced offensive coordinator this season in O'Brien, who enjoyed recent success in that role at Alabama. O'Brien's first stint in New England included one season as the team's offensive coordinator. That season (2011), the Patriots won the AFC after finishing third in the NFL in points scored during the regular season. 

The Patriots have also built a stronger offense around Jones via free agency. Among the players the Patriots have added to the offense include receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, tight end Mike Gesicki and running back James Robinson. New England also added veteran depth on the offensive line with the acquisitions of tackles Calvin Anderson and Riley Reiff

New England is expected to add more to its offense with the 15th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Receiver and offensive tackle two of the positions many experts feel New England will address with the pick. That would surely be OK with Jones, who saw his No. 1 receiver last season, Jakobi Meyers, sign with the Raiders during free agency. 

Better offensive teammates and O'Brien's presence should lead to a bounce-back season for Jones, who helped lead the Patriots to the playoffs in 2021. The Patriots' plans for Jones, however, is the one question that remains to be answered.