James started the season in the starting lineup but lasted only 11 games. After being taken out at halftime of the Patriots' Week 12 loss to the New York Giants, he never played again. Backup quarterback Bailey Zappe has started the last six games and the team is 2-4 in those games. While the offense looked better with Zappe at point guard, it still wasn't enough as turnovers continued to plague the team.

Jones met with reporters Monday morning and gave a candid assessment of his performance this season.

"Obviously, I have a lot of respect for the people in this locker room, that's where it all starts. I feel like I let people down with my play and a lot of that is in my control and some of it is not," Jones said. "So I'm going to do everything I can for my next opportunity, even if that opportunity is here, and I'm really just going to move forward and continue to be Mac. That's what it's all about. And don't let that get shaken."

Jones also elaborated on his mindset and approach in the month since losing his starting position.

"I always take notes and I had a chance to go back and look at my notes over the last three years," Jones said. "There are a lot of things I could have done better. There are a lot of things that are in my control, but there are a lot of things that are out of my control. I've always said I'm going to focus on the controllable things and that's important to me. But like I said before, I feel like I've made progress, especially in the last few weeks.

"I got here early, I left late. A lot of people would say 'I'm done' but I'm not going to do that. I've worked hard, I've put on 7-8 kilos of muscle in the last couple of weeks here. So that's where I am right now. That's why I'm looking forward to the next opportunity. I know it's coming, but at the end of the day, as a quarterback and as a competitor, you have to be ready, right? I'll be ready."

Jones said several times on Monday that things have been out of his control this season. We don't know exactly what he meant, but a few guesses would be that there were problems on the offensive line and a lack of top-end talent at the skill positions, especially at wide receiver.

The Patriots didn't put Jones in the best position to succeed. Everyone knew that the offensive line and the lack of explosive offensive talent were problems after the 2022 campaign, and little was done to address those issues, despite a full offseason. And then they used their first three picks in the 2023 NFL Draft on defensive players (although Christian Gonzalez seemed like a great pick).

But Jones also deserves much of the blame for the Patriots' offensive woes this season. His play has regressed significantly and his inability to protect the football has been a big problem. He has 12 sacks and three interceptions in just 11 games.

This is the area where Jones needs to improve the most next season, no matter where he plays. Ball security is job security.