New England Patriots: Mac Jones doesn’t need to be the next Tom Brady

Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Sunday begins the Mac Jones era in Foxboro and it marks an exciting chapter in New England Patriots history.  Since the days of Drew Bledsoe, the No. 15 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft will be the highest draft pick to start an NFL game for the six-time Super Bowl champions.

Sunday vs the Miami Dolphins will also be the first time Patriots fans have witnessed a quarterback other than Tom Brady in person since 2001.  That is exactly 20 years, so the expectations are high, especially given the quarterback play in 2020 when Cam Newton manned the ship.

After a strong preseason, Jones has shown similarities to Brady in the way that he runs the offense.  Unlike Newton, he throws the ball with accuracy which gives the Patriots’ offense a familiar flow.  How will he handle the pressure of being that next guy in New England?  He’s definitely a rookie Patriots fans can’t wait to see, and he also made NFL.Com analyst Bucky Brooks’ list of NFL rookies he can’t wait to watch in Week 1.

New England Patriots rookie Mac Jones brings a new element of excitement to Foxboro

On a list that includes top draft choice Trevor Lawrence, former Alabama teammate Najee Harris and defensive stud Kwity Paye, Jones made the list because of the Brady void he is filling.

In his article, Brooks writes:

"“All eyes are on No. 10 to see if he can step in and fill the void at QB1 created by Tom Brady’s departure in 2020. Jones has demonstrated impressive poise, confidence and leadership skills for a rookie starter. Moreover, he has displayed the football IQ to operate the Patriots’ offense at a high level, whether running the two-minute drill or operating in “turtle” mode (slowing it down) in preseason games. With the speed and intensity expected to rev up in the regular season, Jones must prove to the skeptics that he is capable of getting the Patriots back on track as a playoff contender.”"

It’s more the football IQ that has both fans and NFL pundits comparing Mac Jones to Tom Brady.  The problem is one is in his 22nd season in the NFL and has one 7 Super Bowls.  The other is entering his first NFL game as a rookie and just trying to establish himself on a team that is set up for him to succeed.

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With the coaching and leadership from Bill Belichick and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Mac Jones will be put in positions where he can succeed.  He won’t have a lot of pressure on him other than to not make mistakes and learn from those mistakes when he does make him.

He is also playing behind a great offensive line led by center David Andrews and massive left tackle Trent Brown.  So, the protection he needs should be there.  Another benefit for Jones is the running game of the New England Patriots.

With Damien Harris leading the way, the offense is expected to be run heavy.  If fourth-round pick Rhamondre Stevenson and J.J. Taylor show the flashes they showed in the preseason, Jones will be able to learn on the run game.  That also creates some play action for the rookie quarterback, which should open up areas of the field for the tight end duo of Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith and top wide receiver targets Nelson Agholor and Jakobi Meyers.

The Patriots also have an intriguing defense on paper that should keep the team in games even at times when the defense struggles.  So, while there are high expectations for the kid, he does not have to be Tom Brady for this team to succeed in 2021 or the future.  He has to just be Mac Jones in the same way Brady didn’t have to be Drew Bledsoe.

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In a league filled with talent, what sets the truly elite in the game from everyone else is the way they prepare game-to-game.  Although no one did it better as a quarterback than Brady, Patriots fans shouldn’t be anticipating a replica of greatness, they should be out to embrace a difference kind of greatness, but at the same time have the patience while it develops.

It’s a new era, a new time, and a new hope in New England.  It starts this Sunday.