7 New England Patriots players looking to shine vs Dolphins in Miami

New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)
New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

No. 2: New England Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones still with something to prove

The Miami dolphins defense will be a big challenge for New England Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones.

Coming off a nice performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars in which he threw for 227 yards and 3 touchdowns, Jones will face a different creature in Week 18 as Brian Flores will be aggressive against the rookie quarterback.

First, Jones must protect the ball and not be forced into mistakes.  Secondly, he must find a way to get his tight ends involved.  That is where getting Jonnu Smith going early could help the overall flow of the New England Patriots offense.

Furthermore, he must continue to gain confidence entering the playoffs.  While Jones is use to being on the big stage from his days at Alabama, the NFL playoffs will be completely different.  Both Belichick and McDaniels will try to protect him with the running game, but there is going to become moments where he will have to make a big play with his arm.

The Dolphins’ defense will be a good test for what he may see in the playoffs, so seeing how he performs in this Week 18 matchup will and should prepare him for his first career playoff experience a week from now.

If the Patriots can get another good week passing the ball from Mac Jones, it should fuel some confidence within the entire offense.

In all, they won’t need great quarterback play out of the rookie, but the New England Patriots will need Jones to play smart football and limit the mistakes in crucial moments.