The New England Patriots will eventually hand the keys to the franchise over to former Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, as the young gunslinger’s combination of accuracy and production made him an ideal fit for the New England offense and worthy of the No. 15 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Unfortunately, Jones likely won’t see the field very early in his career, as Cam Newton will likely be penciled in as the Week 1 starter while Jones takes some time to get adjusted to the professional game.
Jones has plenty of positive traits, as his accuracy down the field, arm talent, and willingness to fit the ball into tight windows all stand out.
While he has impressed so far at OTAs, he needs a bit more fine-tuning.
Jones should use his first few weeks of practice to address these key areas of need, as trying to identify his problems as a young quarterback and looking to fix them could help speed up the transition from Cam to Mac.
Patriots QB Mac Jones must work on these 3 things.
3. Pocket presence
As odd as it sounds, pocket presence is both a strength and weakness of Jones’ game. He has shown that he has great pocket footwork and can evade pressure to deliver the ball quickly. However, when the pocket starts to collapse, his flaws and faux pas start to show, which isn’t odd for a one-year starter.
Jones can get very nervous in the pocket, often bailing or making ill-advised throws when A-gap pressure forces him off his spot. With 5-stars playing against a bunch of future car salesmen, he can get away with that. In the NFL, he needs to figure out how to navigate pressure better.
Patriots QB Mac Jones must calm down in the pocket.
One of the main issues with rookie quarterbacks as they try to adapt to life in the pros is the increased pressure rate. Aaron Donald breathing down your next just hits different. Jones would be a complete deer in the proverbial headlights if he was the Week 1 starter because of this.
Jones already has great pocket footwork, so he has a very strong foundation. Slowing down the internal clock will be integral to Jones’ success at the professional level. Checking this box might take some time, but the coaching staff needs to hammer this point home.