Patriots: Grading Mac Jones’ performance against the Eagles
By Mike Luciano
The eyes of basically the entire New England Patriots fanbase have been fixed squarely on quarterback Mac Jones, as the former Alabama gunslinger seems destined to eventually take the QB1 spot away from Cam Newton in the near future.
After two preseason games, the calls for Jones to start have only gotten louder.
While Newton completed eight of his nine passes and threw a touchdown in arguably the most lopsided preseason game of all time against the Philadelphia Eagles, Jones looked equally as impressive, completing 13 of his 19 passes for 146 yards.
After a similarly encouraging performance against Washington, the Jones hype is getting stronger.
Jones came into the NFL with questions about both his pocket maneuverability and doubts about whether he could sustain his elite production posted with the Crimson Tide’s parade of 5-star wide receivers. So far, Jones appears to be passing the test.
Jones has looked further along in his development than anyone could have imagined, as his quick decision-making, arm strength, and accuracy have all been rightfully praised. What grade does he get after slicing up the Eagles?
How did Patriots QB Mac Jones play against the Eagles?
We know that Jones has an NFL caliber arm, so the two main objectives that he needed to accomplish were showing better pocket mobility and play under pressure. The throw above goes to show that he is making strides in both areas without sacrificing his accuracy or ability to throw with anticipation.
The lopsided score provided very few situations to play situational football within the context of a close game, but plays like a third and 13 conversion deep in his own territory show that Jones isn’t just stat-padding or benefitting from dump-offs.
Rather, he’s making strikes down the field no matter the situation. That’s the aggressiveness you want to see.
The only reason Jones doesn’t earn an A+ is because of something out of his control. The Eagles looked so inept and lethargic on both sides that it’s almost difficult to grade how the Patriots players performed.
When you win by 35 points and shut the other team out despite playing mostly backups, it becomes clear that the Eagles’ depth chart isn’t littered with tons of pro players. From both a schematic and personnel point of view, Philadelphia looks below average, so it makes sense that someone with Jones’ talent was able to dominate.
Patriots fans should feel very pleased with what they saw out of Jones, who looked like he is in complete control of the offense and not at all overwhelmed by the speed of the game. However, that Eagles defense looked so putrid last night that Mac was rarely challenged, so it’s hard to give him top marks.