2021-2022

7-Things for

Houston.

PatsDraft.Com

Patriots Game

Preview.

7-Things For Houston: Part I.

By Tom Mahoney

1. Mac Jones- Mac was truly great last week against Tampa. What you want to see from rookie QBs is improvement, not wins. Judging them like a Veteran QB, by wins, is like judging a member of the Republican Fascist Party by morals. They just don’t have any yet. You judge a rookie QB by the steps they take, and the improvement they make each week. You want those improves and steps up to grow every day. Last week Mac took his most significate steps up by far. 

“Just losing sucks. You just have to take it for what it's worth, more so in the beginning of the season, as a learning experience. Nobody on our team likes to lose. You can play well or play not well, but you just need to score one more point than the other team. When we do that, I think we'll feel good about it and feel good about the progress,” Mac said. “Obviously we've made progress. But you also can't outcome think and focus so much on winning or losing and you're not focusing on what your job is, so there's two parts to this story, and you've just got to focus on the next team we're playing, and we're excited and we've just got to attack each day with that mindset.”

I know a lot of you don’t obsessive watch College Football to study the NFL Draft each week. However, it is important to point out that last season Mac Jones was the most successful thrower to the 2nd and 3rd levels, in the passing game at Alabama, in the history of college football. This is not an opinion. This is a statistical fact. And, he wasn’t throwing to the best group of WRs ever: Jerry Jeudy. Jaylen Waddle, and Henry Ruggs. No! He only had DeVonta Smith left from the Alabama Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  

“I think the routine has been more consistent. Still adjusting some things. But just sticking to it and watching what I watch every day,” Mac said. “Then talking with the other quarterbacks or with Josh. And just taking his advice and what I'm supposed to do each day. So it's just as simple as that. But like I said, there's adjustments that you have to make in anything that you do. So that's part of it as well.”

Statistically speaking, what Mac Jones and DeVonta Smith did last season at Alabama was unprecedented. It was the Greatest Season by two Horsemen ever. Because they not only ate up the best pork-belly season ever? They won the whole enchilada. They didn’t just break SEC Passing Records? They devoured them. I know statistics rarely tell the whole story, but in this case they did. They put up the best statistical season ever by a QB and a WR. And… went undefeated. And… won the National Championship.

“There's always a big benefit to experience in general. But more importantly, experience in a system and experience working with those players that you mentioned. Whether it's the receivers and tight ends, or whether it's the quarterback and the timing of routes and so forth,” Belichick said. “But there's different distributions and meshes and releases. Things like that. That the receivers themselves are involved in, and there's the timing of the quarterbacks. Then there's the overall offensive system. I think that's continued to get better every week.

“We had a couple of weeks in the preseason where we didn't have everybody available, and we were working Cam and Mac both at quarterback. But as things have stabilized here in the last few weeks, I think that's definitely trending in the right direction. And the production has generally followed that, and we still have a long way to go, but I think that's moving in the right direction. Offensively, it takes all 11 guys. It's not just about a quarterback and a receiver. So just overall offensively, our production and execution can move to a higher level. So that includes everybody.”

They won every game last season, and had unprecedented production. DeVonta almost had a 2,000-yard receiving last season. Think about for a second: 117 catches, for 1856-yards! And 23 TDs, and averaged 142.8-yards per game. And all that production was from Mac Throwing him the ball. I never saw a QB and a WR more in-sync throwing to the 2nd, and especially the 3rd level. Ever. So we know that Mac can throw with precision and accuracy to the 2nd and 3rd levels, with unprecedented production: 402 throws, 422 competitions for 77.4%! for 4500-Yard, 11.2 Yards Per Attempt, 41 TDs! And 4 INTs! And a 203.1 QB Rating. Those were pretty much the top stats for all FBS QBs in a long while.

2. Stop The Stupid: Part I.- This is your last warning alleged Pats Fans. Mac Jones is having a great season… um… you know? For a rookie. He keeps improving every week. Which is what we want to see. What you don’t want to see is him winning every week. Yes! It hurts! It’s a punch in the nuts every Sunday. But what you want to see is the steady improvements each week from the rookie QB, without the wins. It is so near sightedly stupid to want wins.

“Well, there's a lot of areas that we can improve, and we can improve everywhere,” BB said. “And so we'll keep working on all of them: fundamentals, execution, timing, physicality, coaching. We need to do a better job in a lot areas in all three phases of the game."

Would you rather have 6 or 7 wins, without the slightest chance of winning the Division, or a Top Five Pick in the NFL Draft… every Round? We are not winning anything this season. Not even the slightest shot at the Division. The Buffalo Bills are so superior to all three of the other AFC East Team that it is ridiculous. They will go Six and oooohhh in the Division. Taking out all three of the other pathetic AFC East teams. There is zero chance of winning anything this season in the AFC East. That is why when you have a rookie QB? You want him to improve, as you get your franchise in position for a Top Five or Ten Pick, but not improve in the win column. The Pats are so clearly doing that right now.

“Well, I think we've made progress in the passing game. But there's still obviously, a lot more to do. And you know, we'll just continue to work on it and work harder on it and try to continue to improve it," BB said. “We got production really out of everybody in the passing game. Tight ends, receivers, backs. Mac spread the ball around. And we had good production from a lot of different people. But we still need to continue to work on: our timing, our execution, pass protection, blitz pick-up, situational football, Red Area, 3rd down. Like all those things are always important. And that's the key to the passing game; (It) is throwing the ball in those situations. We'll continue to work hard on those areas and try to improve.”  

3. It’s Time to Dance With The Devil In The Pale Moonlight, Part I- So winning a few more games this season could not just be entertaining? But also would be detrimental to the growth of the Franchise. When you have a rookie QB as a starter in the NFL, you need to see that development. But you also want to have that top Five or top Ten Pick in the NFL Draft. You want your rookie QB to win a game or two or three, but you don’t want him to take you out of the Draft Lottery just yet. You want to get that instant impact Defender, or the virtuoso WR or Left Tackle who can destroy the defense in a single bound.

"It's all mental for him," Stingley Sr. said. "It's just a matter of understanding 'you're gonna have some setbacks' but you have to come back from it. You can't dwell on it, can't feel like you let the team down because someone caught a five-yard pass on you. He was so used to having that success and he never really had that adversity. Know your strengths, know your weaknesses and get by."

You want your rookie QB to develop in every area. But you also want that top guy in the Draft. I’m not sure there is a top 10 pick at WR. Burks and Jahan Dotson are the two best WRs, but they’re still inconsistent. And Dotson, while more consistent, is a small guy. Then you have Metchie and the two Ohio State guys creeping up fast. Plus, will BB take a WR in the 1st. He doesn’t have a great track record in that area. An OT or a Defender is more in his bailiwick. That’s why I’m on Evan Neal. Who is a top five lock, and likely first offensive player drafted.

“He spent a lot of time getting his body right, because he used to be even bigger than he is now. But now he can sustain better. When you coach in the NFL, you see guys like that on occasion. And we had a few through the years. But Evan is very unique in terms of he has great size, and he’s got great athleticism.” Saban said about Neal getting down to 345. “But I think even most importantly, he’s a hard worker. He has a lot of goals and aspirations for how good he wants to be. What his expectation is. He’s a bit of a perfectionist in terms of how he goes about things. But he’s also got good intangibles. He plays with really good toughness. He’s got good mental toughness. He’s very assignment conscious. He doesn’t make a lot of mental errors. This guy does just about everything that you would like for the best players on your team to do, to set a good example for other players.”

If the Pats have more than five wins or so, with the QBs in this Draft? It could cost them Kayvon Thibodeaux, or God help Mac, Evan Neal!! Just think how much Jones’ old buddy at Alabama could change the Pats bad O-line for a decade. Or what about Kyle Hamilton!?! Or a Gilmore replacement, and an ex-Patriots’ Grandson (damn I’m old;) Derek Stingley Jr! CB, LSU!! This looks like a very top-heavy Defensive Draft. I’d rather see an Elite WR to help Mac, but I don’t think they’ll be a Top Ten WR in this Draft, or that BB would take a WR in the Top Ten. But there will be a plethora of Defenders (include a Patriots’ family friend who could replace Gilmore;) to choose from, or one giant Plug and Play Blindside Protector for Mac Jones.

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