New England Patriots: Offseason to-do list for Mac Jones

Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots made the playoffs in 2021 before their beatdown by the much better team, the Buffalo Bills.

It’s clear that soon-to-be second-year quarterback Mac Jones has a lot of work to do in the offseason if the results are to be different in 2022.

Jones had a very good rookie season. It could have been great. He started out tremendously but fell off later in the season. It didn’t help his team at all that he did.

He finished with 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while completing 67.6 percent of his passes. Those were solid numbers but they should have been even better.

New England Patriots Mac Jones 2022 offseason to-do list

The Patriots made the playoffs and Jones was a key factor before he and the team fell back to earth with a loud thud. If Jones is to take the Patriots to the next level, he needs to get to work on several key areas.

It’s been suggested by one of Boston’s top Patriots beat writers, and a personal favorite of mine, Tom E. Curran, that Jones hit the proverbial “rookie wall” late in the season. He’s probably right. Here’s part of what Curran had to say:

"But that doesn’t change the reality that Jones nosedived down the stretch. My suspicion is that he slammed into the proverbial rookie wall."

It suggests that Jones was a rookie and likely neither physically nor mentally prepared for the rigors of a grueling NFL schedule. That’s the reality, though some observers (hand raised here) thought he was already there.

What does he have to do to make a major jump in year two? The first imperative is purely physical. Jones has to get into tremendous shape, “Patriots shape”. That means an all-out commitment.

That process should begin soon after the Patriots go home from the playoffs. As Tom Brady did 20 years ago, Jones has to get bigger, stronger, faster, and increase his physical stamina.

Contrary to some observers’ opinions, Jones is not a physical slug. He can run, and if gets into tip-top shape, rollouts and play-action passes can become an important facet of the Patriots’ offense in 2022.

If Jones wants to emulate Brady’s meteoric rise to greatness, it’s mandatory. That means a commitment to dedicated training year-round.

Camp starts in five months. Jones should be in the best condition of his life when they do. It will demonstrate his commitment to his teammates better than anything else.

The New England Patriots need Mac Jones to improve in several other areas

After strengthening, getting faster, and bulking up some, Jones has other imperatives. One suggestion here is that he immediately look at Brady’s fitness regimen.

Whatever the popular opinion, this regimen has helped Brady avoid serious injuries into his age 44 season. Flexibility seems to be a key, and maybe diet too.

Brady can play until he’s 50 easily if he wants to. He’s just a phenomenon. Jones should take note and at least evaluate Brady’s regimen if nothing else. It can’t hurt. It may be a key to future greatness.

Another benefit might be that Brady will take the young quarterback under his wing so to speak. Brady might be around the Patriots at some point if he ever decides to retire. Jones could have a worse advisor. Seek out the all-time best, ask his advice, and do what he suggests.

Jones should also emulate Brady, and other NFL quarterbacks, by seeking out Tom House, the former major league pitcher who tutors quarterbacks (and pitchers) on throwing.

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Jones has a decent arm, but maybe House can increase his arm strength. He might also help his release times. Jones’ release time is good. Why not try to make it great? Getting the ball out quickly is a key to success.

Those are a few imperatives for Mac Jones this offseason. He has five months to improve both his physical conditioning and his arm strength and technique. The New England Patriots need him to be better, much better.

That will take work and lots of it. If Mac Jones wants to be the best he can be and become a playoff winner, he should get to work on these objectives now. There’s no time to lose.