New England Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones had a stellar debut in Week 1 despite his team losing 17-16 to the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium.
Next up for Jones and the Patriots is a Week 2 game against the rival Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, and New York defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich knows his defense has a real challenge on its hands against New England's young QB.
“He's way better than I wanted him to be,” Ulbrich said during a press conference Thursday when asked about the scouting report on Jones. “You anticipate seeing a young, inexperienced quarterback making young, inexperienced quarterback-type of decisions. I didn’t see a whole lot of that."
"Part of that was he's got some real skill and poise. Obviously, he comes from a school where they get NFL-caliber coaching, so he's probably as NFL-ready as you can find from the quarterback position. They're working the scheme around him and giving him some clean reads and some easy progressions. He's got some good guys to throw to, too, so it's all those things."
Ulbrich also lauded Jones' toughness. The Patriots quarterback took a lot of punishment -- too much, in fact -- as the Dolphins blitzed him early and often in the season opener. Jones stood strong in the pocket and
“I think the film kind of tells the story. For a young guy, to me, (Jones has) really uncommon poise sitting in the pocket. You talk about being thrown in the fire, that’s Miami, because they’re not scared of zero blitzing. They came after him. They pressured him and they hit him.
"I think he got hit nine times, which is unheard of and he still sat there in the pocket and delivered throws and made a lot of really good throws down the stretch. He’s going to be a difficult challenge. He definitely does not look like a rookie.”
The Patriots have beaten the Jets 10 consecutive times dating back to 2016. Given the way Jones played against the Dolphins -- a superior team to the Jets, especially defensively -- the Patriots should be able to extend that win streak Sunday.