Mac Jones is already drawing comparisons to arguably the greatest NFL quarterback of all time.
Well, sort of.
The New England Patriots rookie quarterback is reminiscent of the Tom Brady who was tasked with taking over for Drew Bledsoe in 2001. Not the seven-time Super Bowl champion, but the inexperienced "game manager" who played relatively mistake-free football while leaning heavily on his defense and running game.
It isn't the "Greatest Show On Turf," but it's still a formula that can help you win games in January and February. Few understand that more than former St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner, who was beaten by Brady and the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI.
As Jones prepares for his first NFL playoff appearance, Warner joined Phil Perry on the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast to explain how the rookie is comparable to a young Tom Brady.
Warner remembers the Rams overlooking Brady while they prepped for Super Bowl XXXVI. He believes teams will look at Jones the same way when they prepare for the Patriots in these playoffs.
"I played against Tom Brady in his first Super Bowl. This was very much what Tom Brady was," Warner said. "Maybe we could flip it and say Tom Brady was maybe more a big throw guy down the field, but didn't do that much in terms of creating plays for his offense. In our Super Bowl, I think he threw for 150 yards.
"As we went into that game, we were not worried about Tom Brady, which is almost unbelievable to say now, but at that time in his career we weren't worried about him. They were built on running and defense, and their quarterback was a complementary piece.
"Mac has done as well as you could expect him to do as a rookie. It's just, does he try to do more in the playoffs because they're gonna need more, or are they able to win the way that they won during that stretch? But again, I don't think you're gonna beat teams in the playoffs by double-digits, by 20 points, by playing good defense and running the football, and your quarterback kind of managing things.
"It'll be interesting to see how he'll play out in these playoffs, but more importantly, how quickly he can become more like Tom Brady. Starting his career this way and then can he become a guy that can carry this team? With everything else they got, if he can become that guy or if they can get some pieces on the outside, then it'll be fun to watch what this team can do over the next decade or so."
Also discussed in this episode: Why Warner would like to see Jones more aggressive. How Buffalo will play man-to-man and force Jones to make throws. Whether or not Warner believes in the "rookie wall." And is Warner confident Jones can make the transition to better decision-making and learning from his mistakes?