It may are only one meaningless preseason game, but Mac Jones provided a glimpse of why the New England Patriots are investing their future within the young quarterback. The stat line wasn’t impressive; actually, it’s rather routine. The 22-year-old quarterback went 13-of-19 for 87 yards in his NFL debut against the Washington eleven. He actually didn’t lead New England on one touchdown drive. In fact, he led the team to only a complete of six points.
But one thing is sure — Jones looked tons more impressive than did Newton within the preseason opener. Newton started the sport for brand spanking new England — maintaining with Bill Belichick’s claim that the veteran quarterback is that the starter — and played two drives. With 55 seconds left within the half-moon, Jones took over — to the roar of the Patriots home crowd — and played the following five drives until the top of the third quarter.
Dropped passes by Patriots receivers negated Jones from showing off his potential on the stat sheet. One nifty intermediate completion to Jakobi Meyers — a rather under-thrown ball — was negated by a nasty call, as you’ll see here. the most important play from Jones was erased after a dropped expire deep throw by Kristian Wilkerson within the end zone. this is often a defining play of Jones’ potential — a 34-yard lob within the corner of the top zone. But the foremost important traits that Jones showed off in his NFL debut was that he took care of the football, he made accurate throws and he took what the defense gave him.
Now nobody is comparing Jones to Tom Brady, but who does that remind you of? Those are the precise qualities that Belichick looks for in any of his quarterbacks. In five drives, Jones led the Patriots to scores on two possessions — including a near-touchdown on the throw to Wilkerson — and demonstrated quick decision-making on play-action sequences. Considering the Patriots’ penchant for running the football — they ran the ball on 53.3 percent of their plays last season, second-most within the NFL — this is often a pivotal trait moving forward.
Now, it wasn’t an ideal performance by any stretch of the imagination. Things became a touch stagnant in New England’s final two offensive drives, with the Patriots mustering minus-five offensive yards, including Jones taking a sack on his final play of the sport . This is something Jones will obviously need to learn — to not take sacks and to urge obviate the ball rather than putting his team in a worse field position. But that comes with time.
While it’s just one preseason game, Newton displayed more of an equivalent of what we saw last year. The former NFL MVP went 4-of-7 for 49 yards, had an unproductive first drive with no first downs then led the Patriots to a field goal in his final drive of the sport . Nothing bad, but nothing great. And that’s exactly what we’re talking about here. we all know what to expect out of Newton, and it’s not championship-level football. This is Jones’ job to win or lose.
Newton is steady and won’t do anything egregious to place the team during a bad position. He also won’t do anything spectacular to prove that he’s deserving of the starting quarterback job. However, his advantage lies in his experience overall and his experience within the system as he enters his second season in New England. He also has the added advantage of possessing a dimension to his game — mobility — that Jones can never replicate. But the Patriots are trying to find their next Tom Brady — and Newton isn’t that quarterback. Jones might not be TB12, but he certainly can a minimum of replicate the traits that Brady delivered to New England for 20 years. He showed that skill set at the University of Alabama and it had been on display here in his NFL debut.
The jury is out on who is going to be the Patriots’ starting quarterback come Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins. With multiple training camp practices and two preseason games to travel, this quarterback battle is way from over. But this game — as meaningless because it is within the grand scheme of things — displayed what the Patriots are often with Jones because the team’s starting quarterback. It may not be immediate, but it’s only a matter of your time before Belichick entrusts the offense — and therefore the franchise — in his rookie quarterback.