The Patriots claimed their first victory of the season on Sunday with plenty to remember – a rookie quarterback making weekly progress, a side game of ball hawking and a few reliable special teams all made it into the first formula, but there is still a long way to go and a lot of improvements that need to happen as the team progresses towards the start of the season.
Of course, Mac Jones and offense is a big part of the equation that will determine the heights reached by this New England team. While Jones has had a good start to his career and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has done a good job of keeping things manageable for the rookie, fans and pundits have limited patience while they wait for the touchdown bombs to start raining. .
While a conservative approach with a rookie quarterback makes sense and Jones looks good completing nearly 74% of his passes, when will he and the offense open things up a bit?
“It’s important to have the ability to throw the ball at all levels of defense and have them defend everything, which would definitely open up other things for you underneath,” McDaniels explained Tuesday morning. “But at the same time, I think there’s an important balance between just closing your eyes and lifting it deeply when it’s really not there.”
McDaniels has been methodical in his approach with the new quarterback, but doesn’t teach Mac to avoid down throws, but rather to be smart about them.
“I think there are a lot of things that go into every decision,” McDaniels said, “Protection is one of the discussions you need to be aware of. Blitz, is there a lot of pressure on you? weighs, can you hold the ball? you can do things with certain protections to save time in your pocket? he has to deal with all these same things, he has to weigh, what’s the cover? Does this give me a chance to do that at the same time maybe react to something in the pass race, or what have you got that forces the ball out of his hand a little faster?
“Believe me, there isn’t much we remember about him.”
As a game against the Saints looms on Sunday, Mac will continue to follow McDaniels’ lead. It’s already his third game in the NFL and as he composes, results and explosive games are expected to follow. But for now, Mac should stay the course.
“I want him to make smart decisions,” McDaniels said. “I want him to protect football and I want him to be aggressive when it’s time to be aggressive,” McDaniels said. “It’s just that there are certain times when it’s a good time to do it. And certain times when there aren’t. I have to keep working hard to try to provide our attack with opportunities. to do so if it arises.