Josh McDaniels Must Expand Offense for Mac Jones to Win Rookie of the Year

Mac Jones has led the Patriots to a 1-1 start.
Mac Jones has led the Patriots to a 1-1 start. / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones is the favorite at WynnBET Sportsbook to win the league’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award at +275 odds, but there’s still a long way to go in the NFL season. 

Trevor Lawrence (+550) and Zach Wilson (+1000) have both struggled mightily with turnovers out of the gate, but Jones and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels have taken a more conservative approach to start the season. 

"When you look at turnover statistics, the team that turns the ball over less usually wins," Jones said during a Monday appearance on WEEI's Merloni And Fauria Show. "I don't know what it is, but it's pretty high percentage-wise. We had less turnovers than the other team and (Sunday) we definitely could have capitalized more on the turnovers we got, but as long as you're ending every possession with a kick, then things will be moving in the right direction."

The Patriots are afforded that luxury, as they have a better roster than the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets, and one can expect them to open up the playbook more for Jones as he gets more comfortable at the NFL level. 

However, if that doesn’t happen and another rookie like Justin Fields, Lawrence or Ja’Marr Chase (just to name a few) starts to impress, Jones may lose some ground in the Offensive Rookie of the Year race.

McDaniels has been extremely careful with allowing his rookie quarterback to move the ball downfield, as Jones is averaging just 3.1 air yards per attempt and 2.2 completed air yards per attempt this season. 

"Certainly you want to be able to attack all areas of the field and force the defense to defend everything," McDaniels said Tuesday. "We'll work hard to try to continue to do that. I know I can do more in that area to give us chances. I think there's also the balance of the timing of the game, the score, the situation, you're weighing risk or reward.”

Jones has thrown for 467 yards and one score in his first two starts, with the Patriots going 1-1. Those numbers are fine, especially since the team has been competitive, but Jones OROY bettors certainly would like to see him get more opportunities to push the ball down the field as the season goes on. 

McDaniels revealed that the team isn’t holding much back from the rookie, but you can expect the Patriots to open up the offense at some point across the course of a long 17-game campaign. 

"I trust him completely," McDaniels said. "Believe me, there's not a whole lot we're holding back for him.

"You want to be able to test those areas of the field as we go forward, but I also want him to make smart decisions, I want him to protect the football, and I want him to be aggressive when there are times to be aggressive."

Jones’ ball security and consistent play has given him an early lead on the rest of the rookie class, bettors will want to see him put up stronger numbers as the season goes on if he wants to hold onto that advantage. 

Who’s your pick for OROY? Get in the action at WynnBET.