Monday, October 3, 2022

Patriots QB Mac Jones called out for inexcusable performance

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Criticism of Mac Jones has reached a new high, and unless the quarterback plays better in his sophomore year, the record will rise again next week.

While the New England Patriots clinched their first win of the season away from the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2, Jones’ performance in the 17-14 win left a lot to be desired. There seems to be a belief that the Patriots didn’t win because of Jones, but rather despite his mistakes and potential game-changing errors.

Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard offered a detailed breakdown of what he described as inexcusable mistakes by Jones that don’t match the performances you’ll see from “good” NFL quarterbacks.

“Could you excuse Jones’ performance due to the pressure factor,” Bedard asked in recognition of the Steelers’ ability to pressure the Patriots QB. Jones wasn’t sacked, but there was constant pressure throughout the game. “Absolutely. Do I think the back problems he suffered against Miami contributed to that and is he involved in something? Yes I do (and for him and the team I hope that’s the guess because it means he can and will be better in the future).”

In the first two games of the season, Jones completed 64.6% of his passes for 465 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs. These numbers are decent but not overly impressive. Bedard’s hiring makes a little more sense considering the games he missed and some of the near-disastrous decisions he made and got away with.

“But at the end of the day, I don’t think Jones’ performance in this game can be excused,” Bedard continued. “Here we lay out eight plays that a good NFL quarterback must make, aided by the coach’s film. In that game, more than any other, Jones cringed under the pressure as he threw early and/or backfoot and didn’t see or expect wide open receivers. If this team is to do anything this season, Jones needs to step in and be tougher in the bag.

Bedard detailed the eight games in which Jones fell short of the standard. There is one case where Bedard accused Jones of “folding out” a game that could have been a first down or perhaps a TD on a third-and-13 by the Steelers 20.

There is also interception on the 50-50 ball. It was a play-action pass, and Jones wanted to get the ball to DeVante Parker. That pass should have been thrown if Parker had a one-on-one situation. The 50-50 pass is understandable in this situation. Unfortunately, Jones didn’t recognize Minkah Fitzpatrick, who lingers deep, and the Steelers’ elite safety takes the ball easily.

There’s also an instance of Jones missing a wide-open Lil’Jordan Humphrey running to the middle of the field. Instead, Jones gets lucky feet in the pocket, moves and throws an inaccurate check-down throw to Rhamondre Stevenson, which he fails to get a hold of.

There are several other similar cases of Bedard’s breakdowns.

Not everyone hit Jones for his game against the Steelers. Former Patriots QB and current NBC Boston analyst Matt Cassel took it easy on Jones.

When asked to share his takeaways from Jones’ Week 2 performance, Cassel said:

“I thought he had offensive control all day,” Cassel said on NBC Sports Boston’s “Postgame Live.” “Look, it wasn’t perfect. There will be some shots he misses, notably the one where he was flushed left and panicked and threw the ball straight to a defender. Luckily it wasn’t intercepted. But at the end of the day, the two things that really stood out to me at the end of the game are – it’s the final drive and we talked about the running game and how that ended this game. But part of that was Mac Jones.”

Jones had way too much panic in Week 2 and needs to sort that out before moving on to the Week 3 home opener.

The Patriots host the Baltimore Ravens in their Week 3 matchup. Both teams are tied 1-1 after the Patriots win, and the Ravens lost a 21-point lead over the Miami Dolphins at home.

Tua Tagovailoa and the speedy Dolphins wreaked havoc on the Ravens’ secondary school. Tagovailoa threw for 6 TD passes and 469 yards. Tagovailoa has more guns than Jones, but you have to believe the Patriots can get some momentum this week throwing the ball.

If Jones doesn’t shine in week 3, expect the temperature to rise around this time next week.

Tua Tagovailoa and the speedy Dolphins wreaked havoc on the Ravens’ secondary school. Tagovailoa threw for 6 TD passes and 469 yards. Tagovailoa has more guns than Jones, but you have to believe the Patriots can get some momentum this week throwing the ball.

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