By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — There are many ways to evaluate a player. Stats are merely one avenue for such analysis.

Yet when looking at the summer work of Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones, it’s important to look a bit deeper instead of relying solely on the stats page. Because drops have been costly for him in that department.

Drops continued to negatively impact Jones’ statistical output on Sunday evening, in the Patriots’ preseason finale against the Giants. In the second quarter, Jones threw to Gunner Olszewski, running a deep over route. The pass was perfect, dropped into the bread basket of the receiver, who didn’t have to break stride.

But Olszewski dropped it.

That play could have — and should have — gone for at least 15 yards but perhaps longer, potentially getting the Patriots near midfield. Instead, the drive ended a few plays later with a punt from the New England 18-yard line.

Later in the game, following his touchdown pass to Isaiah Zuber, Jones gave Zuber a perfect opportunity to haul in a second score. Jones lobbed a back-shoulder fade to Zuber in the end zone. Zuber played it well, spinning away from the defender to get his hands on the ball at the highest point, with plenty of room to spare to land his feet.

But Zuber lost it for another drop — this one taking a touchdown off the board for Jones.

The drops weren’t new for receivers trying to haul in passes from Jones.

In Week 1 of the preseason, Jones threw a beauty of a deep ball to Kristian Wilkerson, but the second-year receiver couldn’t complete the play.

Last week in Philadelphia, Jones let another deep ball fly, this one to N’Keal Harry. But Harry likewise couldn’t haul it in, instead opting to leave his feet. Harry came crashing to the ground and couldn’t hold on to the ball.

This is obviously an “if ifs and buts were candy nuts, then it’d be Christmas every day” situation, but still: Had those passes been hauled in, Jones would have had at least 100 more passing yards and two more passing touchdowns. Had Harry caught it and kept his feet, it might have been 10 more yards and another score.

But sports are sports, and things happen, so it doesn’t really matter. Preseason records don’t really matter, nor do preseason stats. (That is, in terms of football. If we want to dive in to debates about what really matters in this world overall, then we’ll likely need more time and space.)

Yet the stats will surely be considered in a number of ways in the coming days, weeks, and possibly even months. These four highlighted plays help illustrate what might be missing from such looks.