Is he the catalyst of the team’s resurgence, or is he a bust?
Initial performances portray mixed results.
The 0-3 New York Jets are the only team he defeated in his first three games, and he didn’t need much heavy lifting in that one.
Rookie quarterbacks this season are 1-10 in the #NFL and incredibly 1-10 at the line
The only rookie quarterback to win a game so far is Mac Jones when New England played the New York Jets.
A game where both teams had a rookie quarterback so one of them had to win! pic.twitter.com/xDMUErx6m8
— Nick Quinn (@Quinny_1) September 29, 2021
His fellow rookie, Zach Wilson, threw four interceptions which gave New England shorter drives to complete.
He finished that game with 22 completions for 186 yards and zero touchdown passes.
Meanwhile, he lost his NFL debut to the Miami Dolphins despite completing 29 passes for 281 yards and a touchdown.
The Patriots are also coming off a loss to the New Orleans Saints wherein Jones had 30 passes for 270 yards, a touchdown, and three interceptions.
Mac Jones was 1-of-8 for 17 Pass yards and an Int on throws 15+ yards downfield in the first half today.
He was 9-of-11 for 88 Pass yards on shorter throws.
Of the 7 deep incompletions, 4 were due to overthrows. pic.twitter.com/WjnzyoYjiI
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 26, 2021
His interception total is the best among rookie quarterbacks who started since Week 1.
However, his 6.1 yards per completion is 27th among all starting quarterbacks.
His longest completed pass went for 27 yards, a far cry from Trevor Lawrence‘s 41 yards and Wilson’s 40.
Putting the pieces together reveals a quarterback comfortable with the short to intermediate passes instead of stretching the field.
While Bill Belichick’s system prefers the methodical drive, it takes Jones more time to gain fewer yards.
Cam Newton, Weeks 1-3, 2020:
714 yards, 7.85 Y/A
2 TDs, 2 INTs
35 rushes, 149 yards 4 TDs
Mac Jones, Weeks 1-3, 2021:
737 yards, 6.1 Y/A
2 TDs, 3 INTs
6 rushes, 28 yards, 0 TDs pic.twitter.com/FFfvhTiT2x
— Michael Hurley (@michaelFhurley) September 27, 2021
In the spirit of fair judgment, Jones is yet to have a breakout game in the NFL.
That said, leading the Patriots to victory in Week 4 can be his breaking out party because the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming to Gillette Stadium.
In particular, Tom Brady will be returning to his old stomping grounds.
The master faces the student.
Jones Can Spoil Brady’s Comeback
The Foxborough crowd will cheer for the quarterback who gave them six Super Bowls in nine appearances.
But beyond the festivities, the 44-year-old quarterback will be there to compete against his old team.
He will be venting out his frustration to the Patriots after their humiliating loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
— NFL (@NFL) September 26, 2021
Rob Gronkowski may have a career game as well to prove a point.
Aside from having a deeper roster, Brady’s familiarity with New England’s schemes on both sides of the ball gives Tampa Bay a massive advantage.
He will likely guess New England’s defensive calls most of the time and adjust their plays accordingly.
Brady can also give his defense some tips on what to expect from Jones and the Patriots offense.
However, Belichick is a master of adjustments, and he will find a way to make it challenging for Tampa Bay.
Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, their pass defense is suspect, and that’s where Belichick will try to take advantage.
CLASSIC DESEAN JACKSON pic.twitter.com/puT2Skim7s
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) September 26, 2021
If that’s the case, Jones must prepare to convert long throws against the troubled Buccaneers secondary that will not have Sean Murphy-Bunting.
New England can also challenge new Buccaneer Richard Sherman, who will have three days to prepare for the game.
All the details in episode 1 of the Richard Sherman podcast here: https://t.co/NIWBpAyZEL
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) September 29, 2021
A win over Brady will change the perception of Jones for the better.
Headlines about his winning performance will dominate sports websites and newspapers.
Defeating the winningest quarterback of all time will boost his credentials for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
More importantly, Jones will become more confident that he is the man for the job.