By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots won on Sunday afternoon, but before the plane even landed back in Providence, it was already next week.
That’s because the Patriots have precious little time to prepare for their Week 6 opponent, as the New York Giants will be visiting Foxboro for Thursday Night Football.
Working in the Patriots’ favor is the fact that rookie quarterback Daniel Jones will be under center for the Giants. Rookie quarterbacks are 0-12 when starting in Foxboro against Bill Belichick’s Patriots, which doesn’t bode well for the visitors on Thursday night. Considering the Patriots currently boast a historic defense, the task stands rather tall in front of the 22-year-old signal caller.
Still, there’s a flip side to that, as the lack of NFL tape on Jones leads to some potential unknowns that could show up on the field on Thursday night. Belichick was asked Monday how he prepares for a quarterback like Jones, whom he doesn’t know very well.
“We saw him in the preseason and in the preseason games that he played in, so we had a little bit of a background there,” Belichick answered. “We did some work on him in the spring as well. He visited here and spent some time with us. He’s a very impressive young man and I’ve gotten the chance to see him play in the last few weeks here.”
Belichick then offered up a bit of a scouting report on Jones — which consisted solely of compliments, as is the norm whenever Belichick talks about an opponent.
“So he’s a smart kid, has a good football background, very athletic, runs well. He’s fast, he can get out of the pocket and he’s a hard guy to catch,” Belichick said of the sixth overall pick from April’s draft. “And so, similar to – maybe we saw a little bit with [Colt] McCoy. When he was out of the pocket yesterday, he was able to outrun us and pick up some yards or buy some extra time to throw. He’s in a very good offensive system that Coach [Pat] Shurmur runs, the West Coast system, and so the timing and being able to see the field and utilize all the receivers and multiple combinations in both short, intermediate, and deep routes, and play action, misdirection, all that. It’s a very diverse offense, and it looks like Jones has handled it very well. He does all of the things that they do, including the RPO’s and so forth that it looks like have been included in the offense, have been added in the last couple years.
“So, he has a pretty complete playbook for his level of experience and he handles all of those things well. He’s an accurate thrower at all three levels. He’s shown a lot of poise in the pocket. He’s taken some hits and had people around him back in the pocket, but he has a lot of poise and toughness and just stands in there.”
Belichick made sure to note that the Patriots may end up seeing Eli Manning, too, and the head coach even offered up some self-deprecating commentary when it came to the veteran QB.
“And you’ve got Eli too, so I mean, you’ve got two very good quarterbacks there. Whichever one’s in there, we’ll have our hands full. We’re sure of that,” Belichick said. “He’s had a great career and certainly had great games against us. So, he’s a class kid. I’ve known Eli … I have a lot of respect for him. Having coached at the Giants for over a decade, I know some of the things that go with being the quarterback in that franchise. I certainly saw it during my time there, and I think he’s handled a lot of things both on and off the field very professionally. The high character person that he is and with class and professionalism, but at the same time with a high level of competitiveness and a high level of performance. So, I have a ton of respect for Eli and all that he’s done.
“I wish he’d done a little bit less in a couple games against us,” Belichick added, nodding to a pair of painful Super Bowls. “But I have a lot of respect for Eli.”
That’s certainly high praise, but Manning is currently firmly stuck to the sidelines, as the Giants have handed the reins over to Jones. Here’s the recent history Jones will be looking to overcome when it comes to rookie QBs starting in Foxboro over the past few years.
Luke Falk (No. 199 overall pick)
12/22, 98 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 5 sacks, 47.2 rating
Sam Darnold (No. 3 overall pick)
16/28, 167 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 4 sacks, 74.6 rating
1 rush, 28 yards
Josh Allen (No. 7 overall pick)
20/41, 217 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 0 sacks, 52.6 rating
5 rushes, 30 yards
Deshaun Watson (No. 12 overall pick)
22/33, 301 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 2 sacks, 90.6 rating
8 rushes, 41 yards
Jared Goff (No. 1 overall pick)
14/32, 161 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 4 sacks, 43.9 rating
1 rush, -1 yards
Marcus Mariota (No. 2 overall pick)
3/6, 32 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 3 sacks (injured)
Derek Carr (No. 36 overall pick)
21/34, 174 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 0 sacks, 62.6 rating