NFL insider feels ‘there are doubts about’ Mac Jones

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NFL insider feels 'there are doubts about' Mac Jones
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Jones ranks bottom among eligible quarterbacks in a pair of key stats.

Mac Jones was upset a lot in his second season.

Mac Jones’ second season in the NFL was not as successful as a rookie.

In six games, Jones completed 66.1% of his passes for 1,140 yards with four touchdowns and seven interceptions, missing three games due to a sprained ankle he suffered in Week 3. Jones will ranks among the worst in a pair of stats. His 76 passer rating is 33rd of the 35 quarterbacks that qualify and his 4.2 steal percentage is the worst among the 35 quarterbacks that qualify.

Of course, the Patriots are operating under a new offensive system this season as Matt Patricia and Joe Judge have taken over from Josh McDaniels, which has set back the entire offense. The unit ranks 26th in total yards this season.

Still, Jones’ play has been at the center of the offense’s woes, and it looks like the league is taking notice. Albert Breer, of Sports Illustrated and Monday Morning Quarterback, said he felt “there were doubts about” Jones in the league during the first half of the 2022 season.

“Last night, I asked around. I texted half a dozen executives and said, ‘Who would be the second quarterback to go into the 2021 draft if you draft them now?’ Four of them said [Justin] Fields, one said he’d stick with Trey Lance because he hasn’t seen him enough, and another said [Zach] Wilson, Breer said on NBC Sports Boston’s “Early Edition.” “None of them said Mac.”

Jones and Fields have pretty much swapped places in terms of play and perception between their rookie season and this season. After struggling in 2021 with a Bears team that was severely lacking in offensive talent, Fields has been a revelation in recent weeks. He threw for 1,192 yards with 10 touchdowns to three interceptions over the seven games. He also rushed for 654 yards and five touchdowns during that streak.

Breer acknowledged the flip-flop between Jones and Fields, saying of Jones that “everything was turned upside down on him and we see a lot of that was due to the environment.”

Luckily for Jones, he still has half of the regular season left to change the common view of his game so far in 2022. After being goodbye last week, Jones and the Patriots have a tough test ahead of them on Sunday. when they made the Jets 6-3, who also have the seventh-best total defense and fifth-best defense by weighted DVOA.

Jones had his ups and downs against the Jets in Week 8, which was his first full game after an ankle injury. He completed 24 of 35 passes for 194 yards with a touchdown and an interception and added 19 rushing yards. However, he threw a pick-6 which was negated by a rough passer penalty on the Jets which didn’t really affect the game. However, Jones did step in a few times to make big plays on the third and fourth tries that helped the Patriots win this game.

Breer thinks Jones and the Patriots offensive coaching staff need to work together to make the appropriate adjustments to see more positive plays in the second half of the season.

“One thing that some of these people who have rated him have told me consistently over this year is that he doesn’t seem to trust the offense,” Breer said. “When he comes out, he’s got the ball. You see a lot of that where he doesn’t seem to trust what he’s seeing, which is a different player to what we saw last year. So I think that the first thing to do is get him concepts he trusts in. Determine what he likes and focus on that.

“The other thing that I think can take him forward, and I think we saw a bit of that before the bye, some of the things that they were doing for Bailey Zappe. The easy money completions where you can get second and 4 and third and 1 more consistently, or throwing early downs when they don’t expect you to throw in. Getting him easy yardage is another way to get him rolling.

Sunday’s game against the Jets is just the first of many tough tests that await Jones and the Patriots. Five of New England’s eight remaining games are against teams that currently hold a playoff spot, and that doesn’t include its back-to-back West Coast games (Cardinals and Raiders) plus a matchup against the defending champions of the AFC (Bengals). Four of the Patriots’ last eight games are also against teams that rank in the top 10 in the DVOA weighted defensively (Jets, Bills twice and Bengals).

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