Most of the media, and especially NBC’s Cris Collinsworth, is in love with Mac Jones.
The rookie QB has played well, but one NFL analyst believes New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick lacks trust in his rookie quarterback.
Belichick’s late-game decision in Week 4 to kick a 56-yard field goal with a hobbled Nick Folk rather than allowing Jones to try and convert a 4th-and-3 situation has been referenced as the proof in the legend’s limited faith in his first-year signal-caller.
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Belichick Called Out For a Lack of Faith in Jones
Adam H. Beasley of the Pro Football Network insists Belichick doesn’t trust Jones to win a game for him. Beasley wrote:
Belichick’s decision backfired when Folk clanked his attempt off the left upright, handing the Patriots their third loss in four games. Final score Sunday: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19, New England Patriots 17.
When asked Sunday if he had given any consideration to going for it on fourth down instead of attempting the low-percentage kick, Belichick responded: “I mean, not really.”
If that was indeed the case, it shows limits to the team’s confidence in Jones — the first-round pick had a solid bounce-back game after two poor outings. Jones completed 31 of 40 passes for 275 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. His arm accounted for all but 19 yards of the Patriots’ total offense Sunday. It’s a bit puzzling that, after all of that good work, his coach still would have rather had Folk try to win it from long distance.
It’s hard to argue with Beasley’s assessment. If Brady was still the Patriots’ starting quarterback, do we even have to wonder if Belichick would have given him the opportunity to convert the fourth down?
It seems certain he would have, but Jones isn’t Brady–or even a veteran–so Belichick leaned on his veteran kicker who couldn’t come through when the team needed it.
Jones Looked Strong, But He Still Has a Ways to Go
Jones completed 19 consecutive passes in the loss on Sunday night, October 3 — tying Brady for the franchise record and setting a new high mark by any rookie in the last 30 years.
Overall, the 23-year-old looked poised and had very few poorly thrown balls–despite the rainy conditions.
For the most part, Jones did just about all anyone could have asked of him. However, Jones still needs to work on stepping up in the pocket to buy himself a little more time to throw the ball. Jones has a few moves in this situation, but they are mostly twists and turns above the waist.
Brady and legends like Drew Brees became masters of the subtle movement back and forth to create more time and angles. Jones will likely get there, but he hasn’t arrived as of yet in this regard.
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