The New England Patriots‘ Mac Jones didn’t have his best game on Sunday in the team’s 28-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints. However, from an intangible standpoint, he continues to display the kind of accountability and leadership that you want from your starting quarterback.
As tough of a day that Jones had, it paled in comparison to tight end Jonnu Smith who was a bit of train wreck.
Smith, who signed a lucrative free-agent deal in the offseason, had at least 3 drops on Sunday as well as some poor effort in during pass-blocking assignments. Smith’s most egregious error came on a pass that hit him in the hands, but popped into the air where veteran safety Malcom Jenkins picked it off and ran it in for a score.
This ball wasn’t thrown perfectly, but it is still a catch Smith needs to make.
Nevertheless, Jones came to his tight end’s defense when asked about the veteran’s miscues during the post-game presser.
Mac Jones Defends Jonnu Smith After Tough Day
Here is what Jones had to say after he was asked a question about Smith’s drops on Sunday.
I think Jonnu [Smith] has done everything right. He’s out there running. He’s out there blocking, doing what he’s supposed to do. Me and him, we’re not always going to have perfect days. Nobody is. I think it’s more about just getting that connection in practice and the timing. That comes with reps. We’ve kind of been together for a few weeks now, and we’ve just got to keep growing and turn the page on some of the bad things we did but also learn from them. There’s always good conversations that come out of bad plays or bad days or bad games. You just have to talk through it and look at it through a positive lens. That applies with everybody on the team, so I think that’s what we’ll do.
This sort of mature take is what further endears Jones to his teammates and Patriots fans. We heard similar things from Cam Newton last year as he defended underachieving Patriots pass catchers while taking the brunt of the criticism.
It comes with the territory, but in totality, a quarterback’s willingness to carry the load doesn’t take Smith completely off the hook.
Bottom Line: Jonnu Smith Needs to Be Better Moving Forward
It is commendable of Jones to come to the defense of his teammate, but it doesn’t change the fact that Smith has to be better if he’s going to help the Patriots win games.
There has been an outcry for Smith to get more opportunities this season, but after performances like the one he delivered in Week 3, I’d expect that to calm a bit.
Despite having 6 targets in the game, he finished the contest with just 1 reception for 4 yards. Jones and the rest of the offense deserves more.
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