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Realistic Expectations For Patriots With Mac Jones

Realistic Expectations For Patriots With Mac Jones

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Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots reacts against the Philadelphia Eagles in the second half of the preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on August 19, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Patriots defeated the Eagles 35-0.
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

 

The New England Patriots finally got their man at quarterback.

No offense to Cam Newton, but his style of play wasn’t going to cut it with New England’s system.

Once again, the team pulled off a draft day miracle.

This time, they did it by not doing anything at all.

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The Patriots floated the idea of trading up in the 2021 NFL Draft to get a young quarterback.

It was a wise idea considering that Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, and Mac Jones were available.

Instead, they held their ground, and Jones happened to be available for the No. 15 overall pick.

Initially, everyone expected the Alabama quarterback to learn the game from the sidelines.

But he took the starting job away from Newton.

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He showed poise in the pocket and command of the Patriots offense.

Jones was consistently impressive, be it at practice or during preseason games.

He made 36 completions for 389 yards, one touchdown, and zero interceptions throughout three preseason games.

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While his numbers are impressive, he did it during the preseason.

These are games wherein the starters take it easy while the reserves fight for roster spots.

The talent level he faced might not be the best that the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Football Team can offer.

Likewise, the regular season is a grueling marathon that can take a toll on his physical and mental fortitude.

Therefore, it’s best to set a rightful expectation for Jones’ first year in New England.

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The Team That Mister Kraft Bought

After going 7-9 last season with a roster that lacked firepower, the Patriots had a shopping spree during the first day of free agency.

They acquired wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne and tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith.

The Patriots spent $154 million in acquiring those four players alone.

It looks like an expensive investment, but not until they start to contribute on the field.

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Agholor and Bourne will help stretch the field with fellow receivers N’Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers, and Gunner Olszewski.

Meanwhile, New England loves its double tight-end sets for short-to-intermediate gains.

They can also use that formation to provide extra protection for their rookie quarterback.

Having an extra blocker will help him feel comfortable, especially when pressure comes from unexpected directions.

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Jones will not be working with an empty cupboard.

He has weapons to choose from, which will help him execute their offense with precision.

 

Patriots Schedule For 2021

Six of their 17 games will be against other AFC East teams, and they are no cakewalks.

The Buffalo Bills reached the AFC title game last season and still have Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, and Zack Moss as their core.

Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins nearly made the playoffs with 10 wins.

Expect Tua Tagovailoa, Jaylen Waddle, Myles Gaskin, and the Miami defense to put up a fight.

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The New York Jets may be on rebuild mode, but they have bright spots in Zach Wilson, Jamison Crowder, and Denzel Mims.

Given that they have a better roster than New York and can win at home against Miami and Buffalo, the Patriots can get four wins from their division rivals.

However, they will be facing other strong contenders throughout the season.

That matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 3 will get much attention.

They will also go up against last year’s playoff teams like the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, and Tennessee Titans.

Completing their schedule are games against the Los Angeles Chargers, Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers, and Houston Texans.

Based on their roster and the strength of their schedule, Jones and the Patriots can be a fringe playoff contender in 2021.

Jones can lead them to a winning record, but more in the nine or 10-win range.

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