New England Patriots rookie Mac Jones looked like a very good NFL quarterback in his first career start Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.
The 2021 first-round draft pick completed 29 of 39 passes for 281 yards with one touchdown and zero turnovers. He showed plenty of poise and was able to read Dolphins blitzes and deliver accurate throws, even on third downs.
One of the few negatives from his performance was the punishment he took. Some of it was the Patriots' poor pass protection, and another factor was the Dolphins' blitzes.
Either way, it's clear that the Patriots must protect Jones better if he's going to play a full season.
"They can't survive this way. Too many hits," Phil Perry said on the latest episode of NBC Sports Boston's "Patriots Talk Podcast." "Plain and simple -- too many hits on a guy that is the real deal. Who, in his first start as a professional, showed that he could continue to be accurate, he could continue to be poised, he could continue to deal with blitzes and understand where they're coming from, identify them and attack them appropriately. Even if they weren't always shots down the field -- we know that's not how this offense is going to look.
"But if you're going to be a short throwing offense, which is generally looking like what this might be -- Mac Jones averaged 6.6 yards per attempt through the air, and that's short in today's NFL. If that's who you're going to be, you can't also get hit and have those hits reach double figures. I haven't finished my charting of the game just yet -- the Dolphins were credited with nine QB hits but it felt like more than that. He was on the ground way too often for a young guy who's not that big.
"You gotta figure that out. It was a good performance from the quarterback, but you have to do more to help him. It's not just the execution -- the fumbles and penalties need to get cleaned up, obviously -- you need to clean up the pocket around the quarterback because if you don't protect him, he's not going to the last."
The Patriots' next opponent is the rival New York Jets on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium. It will be Jones' first road start with the Pats.
Also discussed in this episode: Curran and Perry assess the good and the bad from Sunday's game, Perry discusses his report card and they also touch on why Bill Belichick's former staff (Brian Flores, etc.) continue to enjoy success against the Patriots.