Patriots

Next Pats podcast: Why Mac Jones hasn’t pushed the ball downfield yet

Patriots

One of the most vocal criticisms of Mac Jones and the New England Patriots offense through two games is they haven't taken too many shots down the field in the passing attack.

The playcalling has been pretty conservative so far. Although, this approach does makes some sense given the fact that Jones is a rookie quarterback and has limited experience against NFL defenses. 

What are the reasons why the Patriots look conservative on offense? Former NFL quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan joined Phil Perry on NBC Sports Boston's "Next Pats Podcast" to discuss that topic and much more.

"Probably a number of factors. For me, I think it was fair to look at the film from the first week and say there were potentially plays he could've gotten more aggressive with down the field," O'Sullivan explained. "Whether it's a timing thing, a game-speed thing or all of the above, I think all of them probably played a factor the first week."

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O'Sullivan saw a bit of a different scenario after watching the film of the Patriots' Week 2 win over the New York Jets.

"The second week, I found less evidence on the film and more evidence of how the playcalling is being structured. So, to me, in watching that game from the All-22 angle, there's a significant amount of what I would consider really well-orchestrated plays to create space on the perimeter," O'Sullivan said.

 

"They're throwing a lot of screens. They're throwing a lot of fake screens. They're pumping one way and throwing a screen the other way. That's not Mac Jones checking the ball down. That play is called to be a screen. If I was a rookie quarterback, I'd love plays like that to get into a rhythm. It's like making a layup or a free throw. You just want to see it go through a couple times and then as you get more confident and you get a better understanding of what you're seeing on the back end with the timing and the protection, those chunk plays will come because the league is set up for quarterbacks and wide receivers to be successful  and protected and you get a little bit more of an opportunity to stretch the field vertically. 

"I didn't necessarily put that second week quite as much on Mac Jones as far as maybe shying away from some throws that I thought might've been there on the film."

It'll be interesting to see if offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels opens up the playbook a bit and lets Jones air it out Sunday when the Patriots host the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium.

Also discussed in this episode: McDaniels discusses the lack of deep throws from Jones (from a press conference earlier in the week), O’Sullivan talks about Jones being a seamless fit for the Patriots and more.

Check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network, or watch on YouTube.