New England Patriots GameDay: It’s time for Mac Jones to shine again

New England Patriots (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
New England Patriots (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /

In a few ways, New England Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones has proved he is the future of the organization.

He doesn’t have the arm of Trevor Lawrence or the legs of a Trey Lance or Justin Fields, but what Jones has is focus and the ability to make the right plays most of the time.  That is exactly why he was the perfect fit for the Patriots.  Or perhaps the Patriots were the perfect fit for him.

Through the first 16 games of his young career, Jones has gone through the ups and downs of the NFL season, particularly for a rookie.  No matter how much praise he has received for his maturity on the field, he has looked very much like a rookie with a lot to prove both to his supporters and those constant critics who jump on every mistake and forget the fact that he is just a rookie with a lot yet to learn.

As a young quarterback who has adapted to the Patriot Way by doing whatever the team asks him to do, the learning curve has been tremendous for Jones during his rookie season.  Not only has he grown with the team during their early struggles, but he has also rejoiced with the team during their seven-game winning streak.  After winning back-to-back games against the Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills, he is once again witnessing how quickly things can change in the NFL.

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So, how does he get his team back on track?

The answer to that question is immersed in the bigger question of how Mac Jones gets himself back on track.

"“I think sports, in general, are a learning experience,” Jones said earlier in the week, via “Sometimes, you win. Sometimes, you lose. The goal is obviously to have fun and to win. When you can do both, obviously, it makes it a lot more enjoyable. It’s not to look at the big picture or anything or anything like that. We’re just getting a chance to play each week. It’s really important to know that we have one game every week. We can’t control what happened two weeks ago. We can’t control what happened eight weeks ago. We can’t control what happens however many weeks down the line. I think it’s just to be where your feet are, understand that we’re guaranteed today, and that we have to come to work ready to go, regardless of how things went or how things might go.”"

Re-gaining focus is the obvious path to success for Jones and the New England Patriots over the next two weeks.  Jones must limit the mental mistakes and go back to making the right choices in critical situations.  In other words, he can’t hurt the team like he did two weeks ago in Indy where a red zone interception halted the team’s offensive momentum late in the first half.

Jones also most prove he can lead an offense that can still be productive when they fall behind early in games.  He somewhat proved that against the Colts and Bills, but what is obvious is that at this point in his career his needs the players around him to step up and make plays.

Whether that is Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne, Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith or any combination of those players, Jones needs playmakers he can depend on being at the right spot at the right time.  That is where the leadership of a quarterback becomes influential.  It is time for Mac Jones to make plays in this New England Patriots offense.

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It may be a bit much to ask of a rookie, but the Patriots’ offense has elevated Jones throughout the season.  Now, he must prove he can elevate the players around him.  It’s time for the Alabama product to shine again as the next chapter of his rookie season starts Sunday against Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars.