According to Hale Hentges, his National Champion Alabama teammate and former tight end, we’re only scratching the surface of his greatness — and the numbers bear it out.
Though the NFL world at large is prepped and ready to tear down Jones’ momentum, especially considering he’s now down one offensive coordinator in Josh McDaniels, Hentges welcomes the doubters.
After all, he’s already seen Jones out-work his teammates at the collegiate level and enhance his seamless transition to the pros with above-and-beyond preparation. And if you think the loss of McDaniels is going to derail him, just wait until you hear about all the staff transition Jones had to survive at his alma mater.
Loss of Josh McDaniels won’t hurt Patriots’ Mac Jones, per Hale Hentges
“We had a handful of different offensive coordinators in the Bama days. I’m a little older than Mac, but we had Lane Kiffin, Steve Sarkisian, Brian Daboll, Mike Locksley…” Hentges explained. “And one of the things our quarterbacks did well — especially Mac — was adjusting to that difference, finding the commonalities, and assessing, ‘Here’s what we did last year, here’s what we’re going to do this year,’ and capitalizing on that.
“Having someone at the helm like Coach Saban or Coach Belichick is going to do a good job instilling the Crimson Tide Way or the Patriot Way. Next year will be a very similar transition to what he experienced at the collegiate level.”
When you put it that way … the worries about McDaniels’ control over Jones’ system feel extremely overblown. After all, Jones isn’t the type of QB who only thrives when he’s a pawn in a playbook.
Jones’ Year 1 was even more special than you might’ve realized, and according to Zebra Sports’ Next Gen Stats, the playbook for unlocking his next level seems clear. The ‘Bama product finished 2021 tied for the seventh-highest completion percentage over expectation at 1.2% — and highest of all rookies in 2021. This makes it clear he’s going to take calculated risks and make tough throws. Even if a DB has a WR/TE blanketed, the Patriots gunslinger might still be taking a shot.
Additionally, Jones tied for the ninth-highest intended air yard average at 8.1 air yards, with America’s Darling Joe Burrow at 8.3. The numbers prove Jones is a dynamic quarterback who does a great job of moving the ball downfield, and whoever’s in charge of coordinating his offense in 2022 shouldn’t be afraid to unleash him as if he’s got more experience under his belt.
Hale Hentges spoke with Musket Fire courtesy of Zebra Sports