Former Alabama teammates Mac Jones and Tua Tagovailoa will face off Sunday when the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins kick off their seasons at Hard Rock Stadium.
Jones is looking to take a step forward after a promising rookie campaign in Foxboro. Tagovailoa, entering Year 3 with the Dolphins, will try to establish himself as Miami's franchise quarterback under first-year head coach Mike McDaniel.
Although Jones produced better numbers in 2021 than Tagovailoa did in either of his first two seasons, the Dolphins QB enters 2022 with more weapons at his disposal. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle have the potential to become one of the best wideout tandems in the NFL. The additions of Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert will bolster Miami's backfield.
Despite those improvements, our Phil Perry still likes Jones' odds of putting up bigger numbers than Tagovailoa when all is said and done. He likens Tagovailoa to a former Patriots QB who also once played under McDaniel in San Francisco.
"To me, Tua is lefty Jimmy Garoppolo. They are very similar in terms of their play styles. Going to be very similar offenses. Jimmy Garoppolo is surrounded by amazing weapons last year as Tua Tagovailoa is this year. Their strengths are similar. One is lefty, one isn't," Perry told NBC Sports Boston's "Camera Guys" and NBC 6's Ruthie Polinsky.
"I think Tua will end up with stats that are similar to Jimmy's were last year, which is around 3,800 yards, low-20s touchdowns, low-teens interceptions. A good year. It's essentially very similar to the year that Mac Jones had statistically last year. But the reason I take Mac Jones is I think even though the coaching staff situation is what it is, to me Mac Jones is going to be better and his numbers are going to be better.
"They're going to actually ask him to throw the ball a lot more this year than they did last year. They leaned on the run game so heavily last year at times. They can't do that anymore. They need to rely on Mac Jones to move the football. He's their best offensive player now. The reins have to be off. So, that's the logic. Mac Jones will be better than he was last year and I think Tua will have a Mac Jones 2021, Jimmy Garoppolo 2021 type of season here in 2022."
Jones will look to get a head start on his ex-teammate when Patriots vs. Dolphins kicks off Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.