LAS VEGAS -- As the New England Patriots offense sputtered throughout the 2022 season, the defense often shined.
Matt Judon was a catalyst for much of that, but as a team leader was also mindful that there was never a defensive-offensive divide within the club.
The four-time Pro Bowler is confident things will improve overall going forward, including the play of quarterback Mac Jones, whom Judon expressed overwhelming faith in.
"I think we've got a great deal of confidence in Mac," Judon told NFL.com Saturday at Pro Bowl Games practices. "And we're gonna see, because we know what type of player he can be. We saw it at the collegiate level, high school level and we saw it at a pro level. And so that's what we need. He knows that. And we're going to be backin' him just as long as he's our quarterback, as long as he's on the team, we're gonna be backin' him. And I don't plan that he's going anywhere anytime soon."
A 2021 first-round pick out of Alabama, Jones helped the Pats to a playoff berth in 2021.
Jones and Judon were each Pro Bowlers following the QB's rookie season, but his production and play took a hit in his sophomore NFL year.
Under an offense run by Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, Jones seemed to take a step backward and his numbers surely did. Jones' touchdown passes, yards, yards per attempt and passer rating all dropped noticeably.
With the addition of Bill O'Brien as the team's offensive coordinator, there's hope things will change. And hope is strong with Judon that the Patriots will be better in 2023 than they were in an 8-9 2022 campaign.
"Yeah we wanted to win a Super Bowl, but also we improved," said Judon, who had a career-high 15.5 sacks this past season, along with 60 tackles and 28 QB hits. "We hit some strides and we made some strides, but we took a step back in some other things. And once we can improve on those and the finer details, everybody can see we're gonna be a damn good team."
Judon's emphasis on team is apparent when discussing the refrain from letting offensive ineptitude frustrate a dominant defense. New England's offense was 26th in yards, while its defense was eighth. Nonetheless, Judon says the team is as united as ever -- and needs to be.
"We know how it goes, we don't get down or shun them when we're playing good and they're playing bad, and vice versa," said Judon, now a four-time Pro Bowler. "That's what it is to become a good team, you gotta have an even keel approach throughout the team."