Mac Jones’ chances of becoming a better quarterback will be helped by his “nice chemistry” with the New England Patriots’ best breakout candidate.
Mike Gesicki is a potential “matchup nightmare for opponents,” according to Chad Graff of The Athletic. Graff also noted how the former Miami Dolphins tight end established a rapport with Jones “during the spring drills.”
Gesicki’s arrival was part of the Pats’ plan to replace previous high-priced free-agency flop Jonnu Smith. Ideally, New England’s offense will be underpinned by a two-pronged threat at tight end featuring Gesicki and incumbent Hunter Henry.
The latter is more of a traditional proponent of his position, a solid blocker and an efficient target in the red zone. By contrast, Gesicki can add a more expansive threat to New England’s pedestrian, Jones-led passing game.
Former Division Rival Set to Be Key Weapon
Gesicki is more of a roving target for Jones to aim for, provided the Patriots use him the way he was deployed during his best outings with the Dolphins. Most of those games came during the 2021 season when he made 73 receptions for 780 yards.
As ESPN’s Field Yates detailed, Gesicki lined up all over the field during his banner campaign.
Gesicki’s numbers were down in 2022, even though he appeared in all 17 games, but started just one. Miami head coach Mike McDaniel acknowledged he’d been guilty of “a failure to some degree” for not making Gesicki a bigger feature of the offense, per Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post.
Even though he played fewer snaps, Gesicki still showed off his versatility by playing 146 snaps in the slot, according to Player Profiler. He was also targeted on deep routes just seven times, despite possessing a genuine vertical threat.
Gesicki’s ability to stretch the field was highlighted by Underdog Fantasy’s Josh Norris.
As Norris pointed out, Gesicki does his best work on “wide snaps.” It’s a role similar to the one the Patriots expected Smith to perform, but the 27-year-old made a mere 55 grabs during two seasons before joining the Atlanta Falcons.
The onus is now on Gesicki to be the big-play threat Jones needs from the position, but not everybody is convinced the Pats improved their options at tight end.
Patriots Still Have Question Marks at Key Position
A Gesicki and Henry double act should help Jones improve his efficiency, but Doug Kyed of AtoZ Sports thinks the Patriots still lack a “true blocking inline tight end.”
Lil’Jordan Humphrey is no longer on the roster, so the onus will be on Henry to add some oomph to his blocking, unless somebody like 6-foot-6, 268-pound rookie Johnny Lumpkin can pick up the slack. Perhaps veteran Anthony Firkser could step into the role, but the 28-year-old can revive the fullback position in head coach Bill Belichick’s offense.
Gesicki won’t become a physical force in the trenches, but that needn’t matter to Belichick and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. They don’t need to see Gesicki mauling defensive ends and linebackers.
What the Patriots, specifically Jones, really need is for Gesicki to be a chain-mover from the slot and a big-play threat on the outside. Both of those things can help mitigate the ongoing lack of marquee options at wide receiver.