While Bill Belichick is using a strong running game and an elite defense to help get the New England Patriots back into the postseason, the fantastic play of rookie quarterback Mac Jones can’t be discounted as one of the main reasons that this team has managed to get back on the right track.
Jones may not put up the gaudiest passing numbers you’ve ever seen, but by playing mistake-free football and delivering the ball accurately, Jones has helped this offense consistently churn out points irrespective of the competition.
Jones’ traditional stats are very impressive, as he is completing over 70% of his passes and posting a 2-to-1 touchdown/interception ratio. His PFF grade appears to be even more show-stopping, as it puts him in the same company as some of the best young quarterbacks in the AFC.
While Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is at the top of PFF’s AFC quarterback rankings this season, Jones slides in at a respectable No. 3. Even without the same box score stats as Burrow or second-place finisher Justin Herbert, Jones is clearly executing Josh McDaniels’ game plan well.
Mac Jones is getting it done for the Patriots.
During New England’s seven-game winning streak, Jones has thrown nine touchdown passes and just two interceptions. With most of his fellow rookies looking unable to sustain any sort of offensive consistency, the fact that Jones has been able to lead New England with such ruthless efficiency has been a joy to watch.
Anyone being critical of Jones for attempting just three passes in a win against the Bills is being reactionary. It was impossible to throw the ball down the field, Jones was playing on a road game in primetime, and the Patriots had the advantage at the line of scrimmage. That’s just exploiting a personnel advantage.
The next developmental milestone that Jones will need to hit in the next few weeks is being able to consistently hit his receivers down the field in cold and inclement weather. Based on everything that we’ve seen from him so far, he seems more than capable of accomplishing that particular goal.
Even though Belichick hasn’t drafted or developed a quarterback this highly in decades, he appears to be doing an amazing job helping Jones correct the flaws that he had at Alabama while also molding the offense to suit his needs.
If Jones keeps spraying the ball out to an armada of expensive free agent acquisitions, New England could be on their way to a deep postseason run.