The Patriots surprised the football world this week when reports surfaced that Cam Newton was being released and that Mac Jones would be the week one starter. In choosing Jones, the Patriots believe that he is both the present and the future. For a team that spent a quarter of a billion dollars in free agency, the ceiling for this season looks to be high. The key question is: what to expect from Jones?
Jones may be a rookie, but he is no stranger to big moments or high-pressure games after winning a National Championship at Alabama last season. The NFL itself will be harder for Jones, but he benefits from playing in a pro style offense (with NFL talent) at Alabama. Jones is an accurate passer with a strong arm who also played against some of the best defenses in the country last season including Ohio State in the National Championship Game. In that game, he shredded the Buckeyes for 464 yards and 5 touchdowns.
At Alabama, Jones threw for a total of 56 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Most of his production came in 2020, when he had 41 touchdowns and 4 interceptions to go along with 4500 yards passing. The Alabama offense involved a mix of screens, intermediate passes and down the field shots. This is similar to the Patriots offense, who are routinely one of the better screen teams in the NFL and heavily use the intermediate passing game.
Patriots fans need to look no further than Jones’ first touchdown pass of the preseason for his ability to fit the ball in a window and lead his receiver to the right spot.
The best part about Jones’ situation is the talent around him. The Patriots boast a top five offensive line, strong running back group, two great tight ends and a revamped receiving corps that is, though not great, much better than it was last year. He also benefits from playing for the best head coach and offensive coordinator in the NFL.
Given Jones’ own talent as well as the pieces around him, he should be a contender for Rookie of the Year. A Rookie of the Year caliber season from Jones will help vault the Patriots to double digit wins and a deep playoff run.