Mac Jones’ beautiful mind has Patriots throwing everything at him in 2022

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Mac Jones' beautiful mind has Patriots throwing everything at him in 2022

When the Patriots picked Mac Jones as the 15th overall pick last April, it was an announcement that he would become THE GUY. He would be their leader, their big toe, the player the rest of the offense would pull off and drag along.

Ideally, he would be able to shoulder the lead and the workload and at the same time, you know, be good at playing the position.

Being a Patriot who is “good” at playing quarterback isn’t just “big arm/takes all the throws.” It means being able to think the position. pre snap. During the drip. With option-route variables and all kinds of situationally important information coursing through the brain. Do that. Then throw a ball right at some of the fastest humans on the planet, who are being marked by equally fast humans. Meanwhile, the tallest people on the planet are trying to crush you.

Jones did all of that, beating a former NFL MVP in Cam Newton to win the job at camp and then playing well enough to lead the Patriots to the playoffs and get to the Pro Bowl.

“Mac Jones as a rookie, they put everything on him,” NBC Sports analyst Chris Simms said as he unveiled his 2022 quarterback rankings. “It was as much pressure as a system, a team, a city and a fan base can stand on a quarterback.

“… [He’s] maybe the best rookie decider I’ve ever seen.”

The dominant offseason story for the Patriots was how Bill Belichick was selected to replace longtime offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Joe Judge, who has never coached quarterbacks, is the team’s quarterbacks coach. Matt Patricia, who has never been an offensive playcaller or coordinated attack, seems on track to do both.

How can the Patriots place the fate of the frail sophomore Mac in the hands of coaches who, to put it simply, didn’t act as offense coaches? Maybe it’s because they think Jones can handle it. Because until now he has taken care of everything else.

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During the Patriots’ two mini-camp drills this week, Jones’ absurd accuracy was revealed. Not just on easy pitch-and-catch shots, but repeatedly on contested shots downfield into tiny windows.

Virtually every player makes a jump in their second season. He’s settled in. His diet has improved. expectations are understood. The jump Jones will make comes from a higher platform. He has already shown amazing mastery of the most difficult things.

Simms, who has Jones at number 18, wonders about Mac’s sanity.

“He had to play a real system without being managed or massaged,” Simms said. “[The requirement was]’You really have to be a pro quarterback in Week 1. You have to be able to run two minutes and we have to rely on you on the third and fourth to throw a pinpoint pass for five yards. Brady did it in Year 15.’ That’s basically what he was asked to do, with no threats to scare people.

“As I went back and watched, it was better than I could even remember. Incredible accuracy. Incredible touch. Incredible anticipation. Do I wish his arm was a little stronger and more explosive? Sure. But as I went back and watched all his throws, I went, “Hmmm. His arm is better than I ever imagined.” Had made a lot of big throws on the field with not necessarily great players Had a lot of big throws and dropped balls where you go, “Man, the ball’s on the f – —– Money here… and they didn’t make the game to help him.

Teammates take note of Mac Jones’ lead ahead of season two

Simms ranked Jones just ahead of Carson Wentz and two ahead of Brady’s potential successor, Jimmy Garoppolo. Jones was the top-ranked quarterback for the 2021 class, followed by the Jets’ Zach Wilson at 22, and Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence right behind. Tua Tagovailoa, Jared Goff and Trey Lance were 29, 30 and 31 years old.

For example, Simms allowed Lawrence to get better and skip Jones. But Simms added, “I think this guy is going to get better too. This guy is smart. I hear what he says. He realizes he needs to throw the ball with a little more power and strength and be a little more explosive. Don’t be shocked if we didn’t see a jump like Joe Burrow from (Year 1 to Year 2).

I asked Bill Belichick this week about Jones’ role in shaping the Patriots’ newly streamlined offense. Is Jones an employee to some degree?

“We’re going to do everything we can to make it the best we can for him β€” he’s our quarterback. A lot of components to that, I don’t know,” Belichick said.

It will be interesting to see how the Patriots’ offense develops this year. Jones is moving from McDaniels, the league’s most experienced and accomplished offensive coordinator, to two coaches who β€” despite their ages β€” have never been as immersed in offense at the NFL level as Jones is in 2021.

When the Patriots clinched Jones for 15th place, it was clear they would one day hitch him with their cart. That has already happened. And now he’s in tow mode. The Pats are unlikely to be defense driven in 2022. They don’t have outstanding players in the skill positions. They will go as far as Jones’ precise arm and beautiful mind can take. And they seem very comfortable with it.

Curran on Jones’ burden in 2022

McDaniels empowered Jones to drive fast and take risks. Which Simms still stunned.

“The Patriots trusted Mac Jones more than the 49ers trusted Garoppolo or the Colts trusted Wentz,” Simms said. “There’s no doubt about that. The way they announced plays in certain situations. The games that called them in those situations just told me they trust Mac Jones.

“Too many times with Garoppolo they’ve had two shaky games in a row and then just said, ‘It’s third and fifth, let’s just throw an F—— screen and if we get it, great. If we don’t, we throw it away.’ Same with Wentz: ‘Let’s just block it and send someone down and have them throw them over there.’

“And then it’s Mac Jones,” Simms continued. “Third-and-4, and they’re like, ‘Let’s call this F—— play where we fake a slope on the left and the guy goes back and a guy runs out route over the top. Tell him to read this. And if he doesn’t like it, he can come back in the middle of the field and we’ve got two or three more guys that come in a tight area there and we want him to make that throw.

“That, to me, is the difference between him and Wentz,” Simms said. “His talent isn’t as good as Wentz at the moment, but he’s a lot more reliable with the ball, he’s more accurate. With Garoppolo, I think he’s already more talented and smarter.”

When the Patriots clinched Jones for 15th place, it was clear they would one day hitch him with their cart. That has already happened. And now he’s in tow mode. The Patriots likely won’t be driven by defense in 2022. They don’t have outstanding players in the skill positions. They will go as far as Jones’ precise arm and beautiful mind can take. And they seem very comfortable with it.

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