Sunday, September 25, 2022

Mac Jones gets an accurate comparison with the former Patriots rival

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New England Patriots’ Mac Jones is no Tom Brady, but if he’s more like a former AFC East Division rival, is that okay?

Ahead of the Patriots’ Week 3 home game against the Baltimore Ravens, two different NFL insiders compared Jones to former Miami Dolphins and New York Jets quarterback Chad Pennington.

Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer shot down an anti-Jones commentator for posing a scathing question for the second-year QB. He asked if Bill Belichick would consider benching Jones in favor of rookie backup QB Bailey Zappe.

Breer replied, “Do I have any reservations about Mac Jones? I do think that he is physically handicapped to a certain extent. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think he can be a really good player. And I think the comp I got ahead of the 2021 draft is very fitting — Jones looks like Chad Pennington to me after 20 NFL starts. Some took that as an opportunity when I brought it up in the spring of its design year. I promise you it’s not. I really liked Pennington as a player and his resume can get you where you need to go.

The second Pennington Comp came from the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin, although the latter wasn’t as optimistic as Breer.

“I didn’t think I would be wondering if I needed to recalibrate my expectations for Mac Jones two games into his sophomore NFL season,” Volin admitted. “But I am I wonder if I haven’t completely recalibrated myself yet.”

Jones has looked less than stellar in the first two weeks of the NFL season. He threw 2 TD passes and two picks. The latter number could have been higher if a safe interception hadn’t been dropped against the Steelers in Week 2 and if Nelson Agholor hadn’t pulled off an acrobatic aggressive catch to snatch another potential pick from a defender. Jones’ eyesight was poor and his decision making wasn’t much better.

“The frustrating thing about Jones is that he doesn’t do well the things he’s supposed to do well,” Volin continued. “Now we know he doesn’t have a missile/laser arm by NFL quarterback standards. He reminds me of Chad Pennington. He also reminds me that Tom Brady could throw rockets if he had to. Maybe Jones is building arm strength. Brady certainly did. But there is only limited improvement that can be made to his fastball.”

The Patriots could do worse than finding a version of Pennington who stays sane. However, arguably Pennington’s greatest trait was his decision making and throwing accuracy. For Volin, that part of Jones’ game seems to be slipping.

The Patriots have their home game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday afternoon. The latter suffered a disappointing Week 2 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

The Ravens held a 21-point lead towards the end of the game, but wiped out the advantage as they struggled to contain the Dolphins’ fast receivers. Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa threw for 462 yards and 6 TD passes. Given the poor performance of the Ravens’ defense in the second half, the Patriots and Jones need to think big.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Patriots need to find a way to stop Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson from playing a crazy all-around game.

Bill Belichick is almost always fairly flattering about an opposing team’s star player, and this year was no exception when the future Hall of Famer gushed about the former NFL MVP.

Belichick revealed that Jackson visited the Patriots just before the Ravens drafted him in 2018. The Patriots twice passed Jackson to select Isaiah Wynn as an offensive tackle and Sony Michel as a running back, which they took one place ahead of Jackson in 31st overall. How different would the NFL landscape be if the Patriots had drafted Jackson as an understudy and eventual successor to Tom Brady? We will never know.

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