New England veteran center David Andrews thinks the Patriots need a bit of a shift in attitude. “I think the biggest thing is being committed to the team. That’s something I’ve always tried to preach and live by. Team comes first.” David Becker/Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — During the past two decades, there hasn’t been much need for the Patriots to worry about the locker room, or having players fly off the reservation – especially as early as November.

During Bill Belichick’s run, there hasn’t been a team that started out 2-7 and was already onto next season by the midway point. But this is the Patriots’ new reality, and there already seems to be a few cracks in the foundation.

Cornerbacks J.C. Jackson and Jack Jones sat out parts of the first half of Sunday’s loss to the Commanders. According to’s Albert Breer, Jackson was late to check in to the team hotel on Saturday night, and that resulted in his being benched for the first few series of the game. As for Jones, an ESPN report claimed he also missed curfew Saturday. It was interesting that his stay on the bench was longer than the discipline imposed on Jackson.

Oddly, or perhaps right on cue, Belichick claimed neither cornerback had been benched. Whatever his rationale for fibbing to the press, the rest of the players have been left to answer for those transgressions.

Now let’s fast forward to Wednesday when it was revealed Jackson wouldn’t be going to Germany. One report suggested he was being left behind for a “mental reset” and that his dependability and commitment were being called into question.

That sure sounds like someone who has checked out, doesn’t it?


While the Patriots would like everyone to believe there’s nothing to see here, captain David Andrews hinted otherwise on Wednesday when asked about the message it sends to have Jackson not traveling.

“I don’t make those decisions or really know much about it. But I think the biggest thing is being committed to the team,” Andrews said during his weekly session with the media. “That’s something I’ve always tried to preach and live by. Team comes first.”

As the team muddles through a losing season, that philosophy is going to be challenged and tougher to maintain. Keeping everyone focused and committed is a tall order when it comes down to essentially playing for pride.

Speaking with several players in the room the past two days, both on and off the record, before they left for Germany ahead of their game with the Colts, there was a common thread. While there’s disappointment in what’s gone down with Jackson and Jones, it hasn’t been a source of a divide. That view was held at every stop.

“People are just frustrated because we’re losing, that’s the main thing,” said one veteran player who didn’t wish to be identified. “I don’t think there’s any kind of turmoil. But as far as being mad at J.C., or the room tearing apart, no. People are just mad we’re not winning. J.C. and Jack know they messed up. But there’s no turmoil.”

Jonathan Jones backed that assessment. He also said being left short in the cornerback room would be a challenge against the Colts, but claimed there was no animosity toward J.C. Jackson or Jack Jones for their part.


“I’m sure every player understands the consequences of his actions,” the elder Jones said of the benched duo. “We just have to go out there and fight, and make up for them not being there.”

Jonathan Jones added that not having everyone on the same page, or committed to the same goal, was part and parcel of being 2-7.

“It’s inevitable. It’s human nature when things start to go awry, everyone starts looking different ways,” he said. “Guys start to have different missions, whether it’s contract, or different things like that they start to worry about. But at the end of the day, you have to hone in and understand it’s week by week, still.”

Hauling to Germany to play a game before the bye week might not be the best thing for a team that’s teetering on the edge due to its losing ways. But it is what it is.

Cornerback Jalen Mills fell on the side that the trip would be beneficial. Asked specifically if he felt there were cracks in the foundation, he paused for a few moments, before answering on the record.

“I don’t know. It is a very tricky situation,” Mills said. “I just try to stay to myself, not get worried with everything else that’s going on. So from what I can see, I don’t think so. But people can assume anything.”


During his media session Wednesday, tight end Hunter Henry did his best to paint a rosier picture than the one that’s currently perceived from the outside.

“I feel like the locker room is great. I don’t get any bad vibes or anything,” he said. “Everybody’s excited for the opportunity (to play in Germany).”

Players claimed neither Belichick nor the coaches addressed the J.C. Jackson and Jack Jones situation with the team as a whole. They also haven’t spoken about what the goal was with eight games to play, except to keep spouting the mantra that each week is a new week.

“It tough,” said Jonathan Jones. “With the reality of our record, the only way to change that is to start winning games. I think we understand that’s our mission. And that’s to continue week by week and try to win games.”

Captain Matthew Slater, meanwhile, has been preaching his desire for players to continue to respect the game as well as each other ever since the season fell off the tracks.

“We have a chance to play for the things that matter, your pride, the way you respect the game, the way you respect your teammates, respect the process,” Slater said following Sunday’s loss to the Commanders. “All that matters regardless of the circumstances. I hope our group will continue to do that.”

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