The New England Patriots‘ Mac Jones played well on Sunday night in his team’s 19-17 loss in Foxboro to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but did some commentators and analysts go a little overboard with their praise?
Perhaps. Several people pointed the finger at NBC Sports’ Cris Collinsworth accusing him of overhyping Jones’ performance.
Writer Slams Cris Collinsworth for Overhyping Mac Jones
The Slate’s Alex Kirshner brought the heat when he called Cris Collinsworth out for his “gushing” over Mac Jones. Kirshner wrote:
At first glance, someone may see Mac Jones’ stat line from Sunday night and think, “Hey, this is pretty good.” The New England Patriots’ rookie quarterback, working opposite Tom Brady in his return to Foxborough with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, completed 31 of 40 passes for 275 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception against the defending Super Bowl winners. Those figures were more prolific than Brady’s 22-of-43 for 269 yards, no touchdowns, and no picks. Another reason one might think Jones thrived is that Cris Collinsworth, the booth analyst on NBC, was deeply infatuated with Jones all night. He gushed about him throwing a short completion over the middle to a running back out of the backfield. He raved about Jones’ processing of the defensive coverage before throwing an inaccurate, short incompletion: “From rookie quarterbacks, you don’t see that a whole lot.” He mentioned Jones’ 4.0 college GPA more times than I will count in the course of the evening, which ended with Brady winning his homecoming in dramatic fashion, 19–17. In truth, Jones was not good on Sunday night. His effort against the Bucs was an almost perfect illustration of how looking at QB performance in more detail than traditional stats allow can make clear that a passer’s actual effect on his team can be a lot different than completion percentage or raw yardage totals reveal.
Kirshner wasn’t alone in calling out Collinsworth. Deadspin’s Chuck Modi called Collinsworth “insufferable” as he took aim at the NFL analyst on Twitter on Monday.
In Defense of Mac Jones, He’s Not Playing Poorly
It’s a shame Jones is seemingly caught in the crossfire between Cam Newton supporters and Patriots fans who were happy to see him replaced by the rookie quarterback. Newton support doesn’t always have to equate to Jones slander.
Jones is doing everything that has been asked of him. He’s taking great care of the football through four games. Could he stand to take a few more chances with the football? Yes, but you’d rather have an overly cautious young quarterback than one that is costing his team games with reckless throws.
Patience is going to be a big thing for the Patriots and their fanbase while they get acclimated to a young quarterback who is still feeling his way. As it stands, Jones still looks like the best rookie signal-caller in the NFL. Despite the team’s 1-3 record, I’d still give Jones the edge over Trevor Lawrence, Trey Lance, Zach Wilson and Justin Fields. ESPN ranked Jones ahead of every rookie QB.
That’s saying something considering Jones was the 15th overall selection.