Breer: ‘I Feel There Are Doubts’ About Mac Jones Around NFL originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The second season of Mac Jones was a disappointment to say the least.
The New England Patriots quarterback hasn’t been able to find his rhythm in the first nine games of the campaign. He looked like a different player from the one who was arguably the most impressive QB of the 2021 draft class last year.
There are a number of factors that have not worked in Jones’ favor. Most notably, he had to adapt to a Matt Patricia/Joe Judge coached offense after spending the 2021 season with veteran offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. He also suffered a high ankle sprain that forced him to miss three weeks of the season, sparking a brief quarterback controversy with rookie backup Bailey Zappe.
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It’s fair to say the jury is still out on Jones in New England, but how do people in the league see the product from Alabama? The MMQB’s Albert Breer shared insight into what he’s heard about Jones from NFL executives.
“I feel like there’s some doubt about the quarterback,” Breer said Thursday Early edition. “Last night I asked around. I texted half a dozen executives and said, ‘Who would be the second quarterback to go in the 2021 draft if you re-drafted them now?’ Four of them said (Justin) Fields, one said he’d hold Trey Lance because he hasn’t seen him enough, and another said (Zach) Wilson. None of them said Mac.”
After a tumultuous rookie season, Fields has hit his stride in 2022. The Chicago Bears QB has thrown for 12 touchdowns and rushed for another six. He has accumulated 749 yards over the ground in 10 games.
Breer notes that Fields’ success and Jones’ struggles can be directly related to their environment.
“Justin Fields was in a really bad situation last year. All the talent we’re seeing this year was there last year,” said Breer. “He was just in an unstable situation where the coach was about to be fired, with several play-callers, all this chaos around him. And now everything has calmed down for him. He knows who his play-caller is. They We play to his strengths and we see his talent.
“I think Mac is kind of the opposite of where he had an experienced offensive coordinator in his first year, they didn’t ask that much of him, and he played great. Now everything is turned upside down and we see a lot of that due to was to the environment.”
So, how can Jones overcome those hurdles and improve during the second half of the Patriots’ season? Breer shared his opinion.
“One thing some of these people who judged him have told me consistently over the course of this year is that it doesn’t look like he trusts the offense,” Breer said. “When he goes out, he holds the ball. You see a lot of things where it doesn’t seem like he trusts what he sees, which is a different player than what we saw last year. So I think the first thing is to get him concepts he trusts, find out what he likes and focus on that.
“The other thing I think can get him going, and I think we’ve seen a little bit of it before parting, some of the things they did for Bailey Zappe. -4 and third-and-1 more consistent, or throwing early downs when they don’t expect you to throw Getting him into easy range is another way to get him rolling.
After the bye week, Pats fans will be hoping to see Jones and the offense revived when New England hosts the New York Jets on Sunday.
You can watch the full Early Edition segment featuring Breer below: