FOXBORO (CBS) — Mac Jones has just one touchdown pass in his first two NFL games, but he’s been incredibly solid for the New England Patriots. The rookie has completed 74 percent of his attempts, none of which have gone to the other team, and he’s taken advantage of whatever opposing defenses have given to him.
The Patriots are 1-1 on the season, and are a fumble away from potentially being the only 2-0 team in the AFC East. “What If’s” don’t get you much in the NFL though, and there are a lot of folks clamoring for the Patriots to open things up on offense and giving Jones a chance to take more shots down field. It doesn’t help that the Patriots haven’t scored many touchdowns over the first two weeks, finding the end zone just three times. Only one of those touchdowns has come through the air.READ MORE: Is The Moderna Booster More Effective Than Others? Dr. Mallika Marshall Answers Your Questions
If Jones has heard those criticisms — and shares that opinion — the 23-year-old isn’t showing it. He understands that this is a learning process, one that will continue for quite some time. And over the first two games, Jones has done a solid job spreading the ball out and finding whichever guy is open, which is exactly what Josh McDaniels wants him to do at the moment.
Jones feels comfortable in the offense, and more importantly, he looks comfortable in the offense. He isn’t about to go hunting for big plays just to hunt for big plays.
“I think it’s just trial and error. Just trying to, first of all, run the play correctly,” Jones told reporters at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday. “Like get it to the first read if he’s open or whatever and just stick to my reads, and plays will come. You can’t chase plays that aren’t there or you think might be there, and sometimes in the game, as a quarterback, you see one thing, but everyone else saw it differently or whatever. So whatever you’re doing, if you’re a receiver and you tried this stem or this route, and it didn’t really work or whatever, but they thought it was going to work based on what they saw at that moment, you kind of just have the in-moment instinct just to react and play. So that’s important because when you’re overthinking stuff, you might not play as fast or as good as you can, so you just got to go out there and play football like you’re playing in the backyard.READ MORE: Hunter Renfroe Named Finalist For Gold Glove Award
“But at the same time, you got to do it the right way and how the coaches are teaching us,” he added. “And that’s going to be great because they’ve put us in a position to have really good plays, and I know exactly what I’m supposed to do on each play. … I think there’s definitely times when I watch the film and I wish I threw the ball down the field more, but at the same time, I’m just going to continue to do what I do and take what [defenses] give me.”
Nerves are always part of the equation for young players, but Jones’ comfort level is rising with every snap he takes, whether they are in practice or game action.
“You’re going to be nervous and as you do something, whatever you’re doing, whatever job you have, whether it’s a football player, as you do things more, you get more comfortable,” he said. “That’s just how life works, and you try to put yourself in a position to be super comfortable early on, and obviously NFL quarterbacking is hard, and you just got to find ways to get better each week, and I think the guys around me have done that. I think there’s positive energy at practice, which is something that we were trying to work on, and obviously executing the plays and fixing some of the things we wanted to fix from the game, and we did that today. Definitely just had the right energy. I feel like, obviously, some of the plays or throws, I get it. I’m better, but we are moving in the right direction.”MORE NEWS: 'It's Been Tough': Rockland, Pembroke Residents Still Without Power After Nor'easter
Jones and the Patriots will look to continue to move in the right direction Sunday afternoon when they host the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium.