With a matchup with Tom Brady a few weeks ahead, Patriots fans in Foxboro, MA showed up yesterday to get answers on the future.
The scoreline wasn’t exactly Tom Brady-esque, but there was more good to take out than bad from Mac Jones’ performance. Patrons at Gillette Stadium had plenty of time to “lube up” (as Brady once put it) with the 4:25pm local start for the Pats. Unfortunately their raucous behavior in a historically more quiet stadium didn’t make up for the seemingly lubricated ball Damien Harris had let fall to the turf in the closing minutes. Going 29/39 for 281 yards and a touchdown to Nelson Agholor seems like a great debut for a young quarterback, but in New England, expectations are off the charts.
There’s a lot of homer talk in New England, but a lot of it’s warranted. There was four quarterbacks taken above Jones in the 2021 draft, and although not all are starting, it’s not a crazy take to say Mac has looked much better than all of them. Trevor Lawrence was touted as a sure thing coming out of Clemson, the biggest since possibly Andrew Luck. Lawrence looked feeble in Urban Meyer’s college offense that looked like it had nothing thought out. He couldn’t even get it together enough to save face against the joke of a franchise that is the Houston Texans whose President of Football Operations is kind of “Cool man of the Cloth” who borders on cultural appropriation https://twitter.com/dtexanz/status/1357744076012060675?s=20.
Maybe Lawrence still ends up being the best QB to come out of this class, but on Sunday he didn’t seem like it. Zack Wilson impressed given his low expectations, Trey Lance and Justin Fields both contributed scores for their teams in limited roles. As of today, if you had to pick a rookie to win you a game with your life on the line, most NFL fans would have to take Mac Jones. On October 3rd, when Brady walks back in to Gillette Stadium, there may not be lives on the line, but there will be a lot of jobs, money, and happiness at stake. Mac Jones isn’t Tom Brady of course, but if he can beat Brady’s Bucs in a few weeks, there will be a lot of callers to talk radio in Boston saying he is.
Let them have it, sure they’ve experienced more winning than any other fans in existence, but it’s the dream of the Super Bowl that keeps Pats fans going. Nothing else matters. Mac has impressed early, but like many others in New England sports, he may end up learning what matters the hard way.