New England Patriots bold predictions: Mac Jones will slip
Mac Jones had a rookie season that silenced a lot of doubters of both Jones and the Patriots as a whole. As we mentioned earlier, he threw for over 20 touchdowns in his rookie year.
There are some things that need to be cleaned up, though. En route to the 22 touchdowns, Jones was top-10 in the league in interceptions (13) and pick-sixes (3).
Jones was already top-10 in sack percentage last year, but the offensive line is somewhat questionable. New England saw two guards depart in the offseason. Ted Karras left in free agency, signing with the Bengals, and Shaq Mason was traded to Tampa Bay. Both of them had Pro Football Focus grades above 75.
The remaining offensive line and their Pro Football Focus grades from last season are as follows:
- LT: Trent Brown (79.3)
- LG: Cole Strange (NA, Rookie)
- C: David Andrews (78)
- RG: Mike Onwenu (87)
- RT: Isaiah Wynn (74.9)
In all honesty, the line overall doesn’t look bad on paper. But Jones was sacked plenty last year and the Patriots lost two good members of the line, backfilling left guard with an inexperienced rookie.
Wynn is rumored to be available via trade, so this could look a bit different in the coming weeks.
Some of the sacks fall on Jones for poor judgment — in fact, sack percentage is attributable more to quarterbacks than you might think — but the Patriots didn’t do him any favors with their personnel changes on the line.
Jones already was struggling in training camp this year with pressure. Here’s what Evan Lazar of Patriots.com wrote in early August:
"“The pressure on Mac Jones in the first few weeks of camp is making the second-year quarterback noticeably uncomfortable, and a new-look running game isn’t offering much help.”"
There have also been reports of improper routes run by receivers leading to pressure on Jones from the Pats’ defense. Youth across the offense can easily corrupt Jones’ ability to make plays happen, even if it’s no fault of his own.
It might be a tough second year for Mac Jones after an impressive rookie season.