Patriots rookie Mac Jones draws a ‘ridiculous’ comparison to Dan Marino

New England Patriots (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
New England Patriots (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images) /

Did former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason just compare New England Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones to the great Dan Marino?

After leading the Patriots to a 36-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, the buzz surrounding the early success of Jones only got louder. With a 123.2 passing rating, the rookie looked anything but like a rookie in throwing for 310 yards on 23-of-32 passing with two touchdowns.

If it wasn’t for a wide-open miss throw to tight end Hunter Henry in the end zone, those numbers would be even greater, which is scary to think about considering much of the criticism of Jones has been his safe short yardage throws. But the Patriots offense is starting to let the rookie sling it a bit which has him looking more like a young Tom Brady than Marino, but Esiason’s comparison is more about his rookie success rather than arm strength or yardage.

Boomer Esiason compares the New England Patriots rookie success to Dan Marino

During his weekly appearance on The Greg Hill Show, Esiason marveled at the rookie success of Mac Jones who like Marino has his team with a winning record as a rookie. Its not quite the 7-2 start Marino had back in 1983, but 8-4 and a six-game winning streak is “ridiculous” according to the former quarterback who knows firsthand how hard it is to step into the NFL and be successful as a starting quarterback right away.

"“It’s ridiculous,” Esiason said as transcribed by WEEI. “My rookie year, I had no idea what I was doing. I really didn’t. When you hear guys like Sam Darnold say that he saw ghosts, I know exactly what he meant when he said that when he was playing against the Patriots. Sometimes as a rookie, you feel like there’s 15 guys on the field, and you can’t believe how fast people are and how things are moving.“Probably the hardest thing is that every single week, he has to go against another defense. That’s the hardest thing for quarterbacks to get used to, because it’s never the same.”"

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While all the rookie quarterbacks taken ahead of him in the 2021 NFL Draft have struggled, Mac Jones methodically eased himself into the conversation of NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year due to his growth, mental toughness and leadership as the games get harder for the Patriots.

Now, much of this shouldn’t be a surprise given the guidance of Bill Belichick and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, but even they couldn’t have envisioned the team with a rookie quarterback being in the position they are at this point of the season.

That is where this click bait title is not so “ridiculous”, because the comparison is point on when it comes to the cerebral readiness of Mac Jones. Like Marino, he is playing under a legendary coach with a solid defense and enough playmakers around him to fuel what he does best and that has been taking what the defense gives him and taking shots down the field at opportune times rather than forcing plays.

In other words, the New England Patriots are not winning despite their rookie quarterback, they are winning because of him.

"“I would say that [the Patriots] are winning in large part because of his performance, especially as the season has moved on,” Esiason continued. “You would think by now there would be some sort of mental fatigue that is taking over, and I don’t see any of that. I see more and more being offered to him in their game plans. He’s throwing down the field more. He’s getting more comfortable. He’s got a long way to go, but up to this point he is clearly the Offensive Rookie of the Year in the NFL.”"

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The next challenge ahead of Mac Jones is an AFC East showdown with the Buffalo Bills, but beyond that it is how he adapts to playing in cold weather and how he bounces back from adversity.  Those two challenges can present themselves on Monday Night Football.