7-Things for Miami.


Patriots Game


A New Season.

By Tom Mahoney

1. Tennis Anyone- The toughest part of this game is that we dont know. We dont know who Mac Jones is yet. When I went down to Patriots Practice this summer, he was clearly the better thrower than Cam Newton in practice. No one watching the Practices could say different. Cam was the better scrambler. But Mac was one of the best Ive ever seen moving his feet in the pocket, and keeping his body in position to throw. When hes moving in the pocket, hes always perfectly ready to throw.

Hes smart. Hes not like your typical rookie quarterback coming in and making mistakes, Dolphin LB Jerome Baker said. Hes smart. Hes got a strong arm. Accurate. Hes a Patriots guy, I guess you can say. Weve got to come in there and bring our A-game. At the end of the day, hes a pro player just like the rest of us, no matter if its his first year or his fifth year. Youve got to come in there and really execute at the end of the day.

Macs not a sprinter. But hes an elite mover in the pocket. He has elite footwork in the pocket. His Dad was a big tennis guy, and Mac played tennis and football his whole life. You can really see his elite feet sliding in the pocket. He always has his body in perfect position to throw, like hes getting into position to hit the tennis ball. You can see the tennis player, sliding into position to return the ball with balance, fluidity, and body control, as he moves in the pocket to throw. Body position and poise for getting into position to hit the tennis ball is eerily similar, to QBs footwork in the pocket.

"Look, if he's earned the respect of Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels? Then he has my respect. He was a very good college player. He did a lot of great things there," Miami HC Brian Flores said. "I think one other thing I would say is this is not the Dolphins against Mac Jones. It's the Dolphins against the Patriots and they've got a good team. They've got good coaches. They've got a lot of good players. But specific to Mac Jones, I think he's a good, young talent and we'll have our hands full."

So as we all know, we just dont know who he is in the NFL yet. I saw just about every game he played in at Alabama. Thats why I had him going to the Pats in The Mother Of All Mock Drafts. He was the best QB in the FBS in the 2020-2021 Season, where he had the best statistical season of any Alabama QB, Ever! (4,500-yards and 41 TDs): His 77.4 percent completion rate tops the previous NCCA single-season best of 76.7 percent set by Texas Colt McCoy in 2008. Meanwhile, Jones 203.06 passer efficiency rating passed the NCAA single-season record of 201.96 set by LSUs Joe Burrow last year.

Lets not forget that it was not just one of the best statistical season ever, he led Alabama to the National Championship as well. And so much of that was his great tennis feet, getting his body into perfect position to hit the ball (or throw), and always slipping, sliding, and moving his body into perfect position to hit the ball (or throw). Thats his super power; Tennis: feet, balance, and body control in short spaces moving mostly side to side, or slipping and sliding forward and back.

2. Mac Vs. Tua- Isnt it ironic that Mac will be playing his first real game in the NFL against his buddy Tua. Those two went at each other for years at Alabama. One starting one week and the other the next. Tua was the man, but he kept getting hurt, and every time they to put Mac in? He played better. I kept writing about his deficiency throwing to his left. He listened. His senior year he threw more to his left (and DeVonta Smith) than his right. Making his worst weakness a strength.

Mac is fiercely competitive, Tua said. Mac is a put my head down, Im going to work and Im going to do whatever I can, no matter who is on the other side, Im going to do whatever I can to beat you guys.

The thing about Mac and Tua is that they are competitors, unyielding, and wont give up. They battled each other for years, and each became a better player, because of the relentless competition. They pushed and pushed each other until they both became NFL caliber Quarterbacks. While Tua kept getting hurt, Mac kept getting better. Until Tua became a Top Five Pick in the NFL Draft, and Mac became the better Alabama QB.

Mac wasnt having it, Mike Locksley, who was the Co-O-Coordinator when Mac and Tua were at Alabama, said. He was a thorn in the side of coach Saban, being a defensive guy on that field. I dont know how many times as coaches, wed be in staff meetings and wed hear him going off about Mac. And Mac would make our lives miserable because he would try to compete.

Macs story is so similar to Bradys as well. Neither was given a true chance to earn the starting QB role in College, because they had veterans QBs ahead of them. When they were finally started as Seniors, after years of improving and working diligently behind the scenes, they emerged as much better players than the QBs who started ahead of them, and took their teams to higher levels. Brady led Michigan to comeback win (big surprise;) in the Rose Bowl. While Mac went undefeated as a Senior and won the FBS Championship.

(The) Quarterback position? Tom (Brady)s here 20 years, Devin McCourty said. Theres so much hype outside of this building. But I think hes (Macs) done a good job just focusing on whats going on here day-to-day: What we need to do to be a good football team and trying to win games.

Nuff said.

3. The Cam Factor- The most difficult part of this game for the Dolphins is that they have been preparing all Preseason for Cam. And Cam and Jones are really opposite QBs. Mac wins with finesse, quick accurate throws, and perfectly thrown deep passes that allow the WR to run after the catch. He seemed to get more and more accurate all summer. Whether Belichick planned it or not, he played the Dolphins Coaches to a T here. Theyve been scrambling all week.

Just watching film from last year, I also thought Cam was going to be the starter coming into it, Dolphin CB Xavien Howard said. I was expecting him. I guess Ive got to watch film on somebody else, on Mac. Im just preparing for whoever (is) the starting (Pats) quarterback, and the receivers also. Like I said, its the business of it.

Cam is the opposite of Mac, he wins with brute force, power running, and throwing when he was forced too, with terrible accuracy. Cam seemed to get worse throwing the ball as the Summer moved along. And didnt seem to care. He also wasnt a team player enough to get Vaccinated for FREE, to help protect his teammates, his team, and his friends and family, even if he wasnt sure he wanted to protect himself.

Mac has a lot of strengths. But we're looking at a whole different level than what he was at (at Alabama). And so we'll see how it goes in the NFL, Belichick said. You always try to teach the players everything you can to help him in whatever position they play. That's our job. That's what we'll continue to do.

So now? The Dolphins are in a bind. They are prepared for a 1950s Option Offense. Not the modern Run and Shoot Offense, on the Road, without their heat and humidity advantage they have down in Miami. Now they have to prepare for an opposite Offense. I think the advantage is lessen significantly by the week of preparation theyve had since Cam split. But the Pats have some obvious advantages over Miami, to help offset the Rookie QB.

I think since Coach Flores has been down there (in Miami), they have pressured quite a bit on defense. We've played them four times, and we've seen quite a bit of what they do, Belichick said. I wouldn't say that they have shown a lot of drastic changes in preseason. A few things that I'd say are a little bit different for them, but overall, it's still pretty much what it is. They have good corners, and they don't mind pressuring the line of scrimmage, and letting those guys do their thing. They've been pretty productive doing it, so I'm sure we'll see both.

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