The 23-year-old set a number of Patriots rookie records and was named to the 2022 Pro Bowl as an alternate after completing 352 of his 521 pass attempts (67.6%) for 3,801 yards and 22 touchdowns. His TDs set a new franchise record for a rookie QB, while he led all NFL rookies in passer rating (92.5), TD-INT ratio (1.69), games with multiple passing TDs (seven) and wins (10).
Not bad for a young man just getting his feet wet.
Though Jones’ statistics from his first showing were solid, one anonymous NFL coach told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that Jones was “way too protected as the Patriots’ starter last year.” It’s a statement that Colin Cowherd wholeheartedly agrees with.
“Jones was accurate, but people would say, ‘Brady was protected for years,'” Cowherd stated Tuesday on “The Herd.” “That was 25 years ago. It was a different league.
“When you look at Mac Jones, there was a game this year that said it all. It was at Buffalo, there were 40 mph wind gusts. Here’s how the two teams felt about their quarterbacks: Josh Allen was 15-of-30 for 140 yards and a TD, Mac Jones threw the ball three times for 19 yards. That told you everything. They had bubble wrap on Mac Jones.”
Cowherd was adamant that a dink-and-dump style of offense is a recipe for failure in today’s NFL.
“The league average now for points is 23.5 per game,” he pointed out. “The Patriots and Mac Jones were 0-6 when they allowed 25 or more.
“So he has no shot to win a shootout. I know he’s a rookie, but they really bubble-wrapped it for him, and what’s more concerning is that Matt Patricia, as of this morning, will be calling plays. A defensive coach. You think he’s going to push the envelope, be super creative, and aggressive? Nope. You could argue he wasn’t that as a head coach or a defensive coach. You start looking at the last 10 Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks, it’s a lot of Brady, Manning, Flacco, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes. It’s big arms, playmakers, pushing the ball down the field. That’s not the kind of quarterback Mac Jones is.”
Jones heads into uncharted territory with the departure of former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to Las Vegas. In Cowherd’s mind, if the Pats doesn’t turn him loose, they’ll be chained to the bottom of the AFC East.
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