I’ll be honest. I absolutely hated that the Patriots took Mac Jones with the 15th overall pick in this year’s draft. My heart was set on Justin Fields. But the Mac Attack has come in and proven that he’s going to be good, and he’s going to be good long term. His 71% completion percentage is currently good for fourth in the NFL. And the guy has only played six games!
But temper your expectations, kids. Big Mac is not going to raise the Lombardi this year, and he was never going to. In our writer’s room this past weekend, Justin Colombo asked if he was crazy that he didn’t have sky’s the limit expectations for Jones in his rookie year. Why? Because so many New England fans see a little TB12 in the rookie out of Alabama. And, somehow, that meant they had visions of 2001 dancing in their heads.
If you’re one of those people, I’m sorry. But you’re out of your damn mind. Mac has impressed me just as much as anyone. He’s completing a staggering percentage of his passes, getting throws out under pressure that make me question how physics works, and has been pretty good at reading coverage and changing things up at the line of scrimmage. That last one was particularly evident in the nail-biting loss to Tampa Bay a couple of weeks ago.
But Mac is just one man.
As good as his potential seems to be, he’s still a rookie. Even though he was in the zone against the Buccaneers, he was forced to take more than one timeout against Dallas because his coaching staff clearly didn’t trust him to make the right adjustment at the line.
Speaking of the line, let’s talk about how the Patriots O-Line has been a heaping pile of flaming garbage. Sure, injuries and COVID protocols have prevented a consistent line of protection, but these guys are paid a lot of money to hold their assignments. It’s just not happening. And because of that, the running game hasn’t had the chance to be explosive. Mac has been forced into quick decisions that you don’t want any rookie to have to make. And the offense falters just enough to not get into enough of a groove to cross the goal line.
Sure, New England fans saw the second coming and got their hopes up. But what we really need to do is swallow a dose of reality. This team may hit its groove. It may be competitive, as shown in the losses to TB and Dallas. But they’re not raising a trophy in Los Angeles this year.
Let’s take a deep breath and watch Mac Jones learn and grow and, eventually, flourish. Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson could be a hell of a two-headed beast out of the backfield. But they need to hold on to the ball. And not miss blocks. They have two Pro Bowl caliber tight ends. Jakobi Meyers is doing his best impression of Julian Edelman doing an impression of Wes Welker. They need a true number one receiver, and Nelson Agholor is not it.
Keep an eye on those fundamentals, yet temper your expectations. Mac Jones looks to be the future of the New England Patriots. His time will come. But that time is not right now.
- / 1 year ago
To me, Rachel Nichols is the personification of posting a black square on Instagram.