Patriots' Mac Jones Suffers Back Injury vs. Dolphins

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IV

FOXBOROUGH, MA - OCTOBER 24: New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) in warm up before a game between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets on October 24, 2021, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones suffered a back injury during Sunday's loss to the Miami Dolphins, per Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick provided an update on Jones to WWEI 93.7's The Greg Hill Show on Monday:

"Yeah, well, we'll see. What I've learned from many years of experience and doing this with so many different players and teams is that there's a lot of variation on where players are right after the game from where they are, let's call it, 12 to 18 hours after the game. So we'll see things are this morning and go from there."

The Patriots selected the 24-year-old with the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft following his prolific junior season. He threw for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns and four interceptions in his first full year as Alabama's starter. His 203.1 passing efficiency rating was the highest ever in a single FBS season at the time.

Many expected Jones to at least open 2021 as the backup to Cam Newton, who re-signed with New England in the offseason.

However, the Patriots released Newton, paving the way for Jones to get the nod in Week 1 against the Dolphins. He had more than earned the job with his performance in the preseason.

His poise during the regular season further justified the Patriots' faith in Jones. He threw for 3,801 yards, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions en route to finishing second in the Offensive Rookie of the Year voting.

New England's hopes of dethroning the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East will hinge largely on the performance of Jones in 2022, and he went 21-of-30 for 213 yards, one touchdown and one pick in the opener.

With that in mind, an injury to their starter causes obvious problems for the Patriots. Brian Hoyer's limitations are clear after his many years in the NFL, and rookie Bailey Zappe is unproven at this level.

Neither is an ideal alternative under center.