Discussing the things the Patriots should do to ensure the success of Mac Jones this year as we push on towards the start of the NFL playoffs.
After a great win against the lowly, yet better than ever New York Jets last week, the Patriots have strongarmed their way back into a possible playoff run, looking to ride this mid-season crazy train of momentum into a playoff berth over the remaining nine games of this NFL regular season.
Macaroni Jones is the man for the job here in New England, despite the thousands of fans who would rather see Bailey Zappe under center. Should Mac Jones play terribly over the remainder of the season, Zappe stans may get their wish and see Bailey Zappe as the next starter for the Patriots. Still, for now, It’s Mac Jones time, and anybody who so much as mentions Bailey is essentially rooting against the success of this current Patriots team.
It will benefit nobody to keep talks of a QB controversy alive; it will only divide us and provide distraction during a time when focus is more important than ever. If Mac Jones manages to throw this season away (which he won’t, once everyone is behind him fully, he’s awesome), he’d likely be replaced with Zappe come next season; when the Patriots can dedicate an entire offseason towards building and practicing with Zappe as the centerpiece instead of Mac.
Anyone saying we should bring Zappe in this year isn’t really seeing the bigger picture. Just calm down, let Mac work his magic, and if he happens to get injured, we have one of the best backup QBs in the league ready to go.
In order to get the most out of Mac Jones this year, the Patriots will obviously have to do everything they can in order to play towards his specific tendencies and put him in every position possible to ensure smooth sailing. The majority of this game-planning is going to be decided upon by a combination of Bill Belichick, Matt Patricia, and likely a few other random minds within the coaching ranks. Mac Jones himself is more than happy to play within the system provided to him and do whatever he’s told by the coaches. Which will probably include the following:
Establish The Running Game
Rhamondre Stevenson is having himself a year and a half, and you could easily argue that he’s the team’s backbone this season. He’s currently ranked as the sixth-best running back on PFF and ranks top ten in most of the running back sub-categories. His work as a receiver in the passing game has recently seemed to improve greatly, and teammate Kendrick Bourne was quoted as saying that Stevenson reminded him of James White earlier this week.
“That’s what we need to be able to be versatile, having a pass-catcher out of the backfield is so big… reminding me of James White. Just to keep that kind of third-down threat with all our other wideouts and threats, it kind of makes it hard to stop us in a sense. Proud of that dude.” Kendrick Bourne on Rhamondre Stevenson
Stevenson, when notified of what Bourne had said, added the following quote:
“We could be here all night with that, James White, he just — he coached me up a lot, on and off the field. So, just him being there for me and just telling me how to read defenses, the right way to run routes, just the whole thing. Yeah, he’s very instrumental with what’s going on now.” Rhamondre Stevenson
With Rhamondre Stevenson suddenly looking like one of the best dual-threat running backs in the league, a ton of possibilities are opened up for this Patriots offense, and there’s no reason Mac Jones won’t be able to get back into rhythm in the immediate future and stay there. Another thing that will definitely help Mac Jones succeed is if the Patriots:
Call More Play-Action Passes
It was easily noticeable that Bailey Zappe was involved in a much higher percentage of play-action passing plays than Mac Jones was during their respective time under center. Many people pointed to Jones’s lack of play-action passes as an obvious problem, and Patricia was even asked a question about it during a press conference about a week ago. He gave no clear answer on the matter and just stated that the team had different offensive game plans for different match-ups and that it didn’t have anything to do with the QBs. Sure, Matt, thanks.
Whatever the actual reason is, it’s clear to most of us that Mac Jones should be getting a few more play-action calls each game from now on. With Rhamondre Stevenson looking like a prime Ricky Williams or [Name A Player], the play-action passes should theoretically be working better than ever and could really add some much-needed big-play capability to a sometimes stagnant offense. Honestly, though, maybe the first thing the Patriots should do is:
Give Mac Jones His Ice Cream Back
Mac Jones likes to eat ice cream. However, he is quoted as having stated that he has significantly cut back on his ice cream intake since he joined the team and that he’s made a concerted effort to eat healthier. I think this is a great sentiment and all, but I’m pretty sure in this specific scenario, concerning Mac Jones, ice cream was the only vice he really had.
NFL legend George Blanda smoked cigarettes on the sidelines during some/most games. Josh Gordon, Ricky Williams, and Marshawn Lynch had their “thing” that they did (along with a plethora of other players, I’m sure). Eli Manning is infamously quoted as saying he had a guy at every opponent’s stadium specifically to bring him a 12-pack of Bud Light after every away game he played. Every football player needs their thing/vice, even if it’s a little unhealthy.
There’s no way Mac Jones is going to eat so much ice cream that it becomes problematic. If he managed to do that somehow, it would be really, really funny anyways, so why not just let Mac go nuts?
If not, somebody should at least get him some cigarettes… or another cigar.
If Mac Jones can manage to avoid mistakes, and Rhamondre Stevenson stays healthy, this team should be solid while making a late-season push, hopefully, one that leads to a playoff berth. So long as Belichick’s got his hands on this team, I would argue we always stand a chance. Go Pats!
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