Is Mac Jones still ‘the guy’? Here’s What Rob Ninkovich Thinks Originally Appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Is it too early to worry about the development of New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones?
After a promising rookie campaign, Jones has yet to show any progress in Year 2. He threw 465 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions in the first two weeks of the 2022 season. The Patriots’ attack yielded a total of 24 points.
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Sure, it’s only week 3, but Jones is under scrutiny in an increasingly competitive AFC East. MVP candidate Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills are the Super Bowl favorites, and the Miami Dolphins surrounded Tua Tagovailoa — who had 469 passing yards and six TDs on Sunday — with guns. Jones must take the next step if the Patriots are to reach the playoffs and make a run in a fraught conference.
It’s right to be concerned about Jones, but former Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich isn’t about to panic. He joined our Phil Perry on a new episode of the Next Pats Podcast to explain why he still believes Jones could be the future of the franchise.
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“I really believe he’s still the guy,” Ninkovich said. “I take everything I look at with a grain of salt as I don’t know if they necessarily put him in a great position this season. You have to understand that if you’re going from Josh McDaniels to a new staff or a new style, you’ve got Matty P (Matt Patricia), Joe Judge, Bill Belichick, those three guys are probably making the rounds trying to implement an offensive system that’s different. A new schedule, new terminology, new safeguards. All the things you have to do as a quarterback. you have to know what is to come, you have to know what the future holds.
“I don’t think they’re there anymore. I don’t think they’re there in the sense that they’re on the same page. Because what a quarterback really has to do, they have to be on the same page and the same wavelength of the OC (Offensive Coordinator “). You saw it with Tom (Brady) and Josh. You see it in the league with coordinators and their quarterbacks, but it takes time. You can’t just do that like ‘boom, we have chemistry.'” “They’re building that now, getting comfortable with each other. I really think you need to give them a little time.”
Ninkovich believes that rather than comparing Jones to the elite QBs across the league, we should focus on the encouraging attributes the 2021 first-rounder brings to the table.
“He is still a very young player and experiencing new things,” Ninkovich said. “The accuracy of the arm is there. The cleverness is there. So he’s got all those intangibles. I think what people don’t see is, you turn on the Eagles, you turn on the bills, you turn on the Ravens, you turn on some of these quarterbacks are so electric and dynamic with running and moving in the bag and throwing a 75-yard laser beam that you fall in love with it and that’s what you want, but it’s not necessarily what you’re looking for need this moment.
“You’ve got Mac Jones, a capable, smart quarterback who can put your team in the position to win football games. Would you like to see a little more spice on the pitches? Sure, why not. Like what I see and the way he puts himself wear.”
Also in the new episode: Thumbs up or down for RPOs? How can the patriots’ defense stop Lamar Jackson? And what are the necessary building blocks to make Mac Jones a more confident player?
Watch the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network, or watch it on YouTube below: