BOSTON (CBS) — Mac Jones will certainly feel some pressure ahead of his Patriots and NFL debut on Sunday afternoon. Then he will certainly feel some pressure during that game, with Brian Flores and his blitz-happy Miami Dolphins welcoming Jones into the league.
Jones didn’t see many blitzes during the preseason, but his first real experience against an NFL defense will come against a team that loves to apply pressure on the quarterback. With Xavien Howard and Brandon Jones providing some excellent coverage in the secondary, Flores is able to let his linebackers and defensive ends loose. The Miami defense blitzed on 40.8 percent of its plays in 2020, ranking second in the NFL behind only the Baltimore Ravens.READ MORE: Tom Brady Is Selling A Special T-Shirt For His Return To Foxboro
It was a pretty successful game plan, too, as Miami racked up 41 sacks during the 2020 season. They were led by a career-best nine sacks from defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, with linebacker Jerome Baker also setting a new career-high with seven sacks.
Opposing quarterbacks were pressured on 26 percent of their dropbacks against the Dolphins, and were knocked down 10 percent the time. Bill Belichick is not one to speak in absolutes, but he has little doubt that Jones is going to have defenders in his face for most of the day on Sunday.
“Since Coach Flores has been down there they’ve pressured quite a bit on defense,” Belichick said during his Wednesday press conference in Foxboro. “We’ve played them four times and we’ve seen quite a bit of what they do. I wouldn’t say that they showed a lot of drastic changes in preseason — they’ve made a few. A few things I’d say are a little bit different for them, but overall, it’s still pretty much what it is.READ MORE: Rob Gronkowski 'Likely' To Play Vs. Patriots, Despite Injury Scare On Sunday
“They have good corners, they don’t mind pressuring the line of scrimmage and letting those guys do their thing,” Belichick added on New England’s Week 1 performance. “And they’ve been pretty correct in doing it. I’m sure we’ll see both.”
The Dolphins got to then-Patriots quarterback Cam Newton five times over two games during the 2020 season. With a solid offensive line anchored by center David Andrews, ‘Big’ Mike Onwenu in his second year, and with an even bigger Trent Brown in the mix, New England should be able to give Jones some time in the pocket as the rookie finds his way in Week 1.
But the pocket won’t last long against a talented pass rushing team like the Dolphins, and the rookie is going to have to make some quick decisions in his very first NFL game. But Belichick knew this was going to be part of the equation when he threw Jones into the starting QB role, so he must be confident that Jones can handle the fire, and his offensive line can handle the oncoming onslaught from the Miami defense.MORE NEWS: The Patriots Need A Lot More Out Of Jonnu Smith -- And The Tight End Knows It
Tune in to Patriots-Dolphins on Sunday, Sept. 12 on WBZ-TV — the flagship station of the New England Patriots! Coverage begins Wednesday night with Patriots 1st Down at 10:30 p.m. on TV38 and continues Friday night with Patriots All Access at 7 p.m. on WBZ! Our opening day coverage begins with Patriots GameDay at 11:30 a.m., the Patriots and the Dolphins kick off at 4:25 p.m., and after the game switch over to TV38 for full reaction and analysis on Patriots 5th Quarter!