FOXBORO, MASS. — There was a lot that didn’t go right for the Patriots in their season-opening loss to the Dolphins. However, there were some positives that came out of the frustrating defeat at Gillette Stadium — Mac Jones chief among them.
New England’s rookie quarterback was poised, tough and accurate while completing 29 of 39 passes for 281 yards to go along with one touchdown pass. The first-round pick had some issues with batted balls, and his first dropback was kind of weird, but he nevertheless was very impressive against Miami.
During the postgame, Dolphins players and coaches were universal in their praise for the Patriots rookie.
“I thought he did a really nice job,” Dolphins head coach Brian Flores told reporters. “Got the ball out, was able to kind of move their offense, pick up first downs, drive them down field. Yeah, I thought he did a very nice job.”
Flores added: “He played well. He moved the ball. Made the throws he needed to make. Made good decisions.”
Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, whom Jones backed up at Alabama, clearly enjoyed facing his former teammate.
“Well, I was happy for him,” Tagovailoa said. “You know, it being his first real game with a crowd like this, I mean, I thought he made some really good throws. And their execution on third down I think was really good, and Mac looks like he fits perfectly into their offense and system. I was happy for him.”
But what about the players who actually had to play against Jones?
Dolphins cornerbacks Xavien Howard and (former Patriot) Jason McCourty also were impressed by Jones’s decision-making and demeanor under center.
“He was poised,” Howard, who basically won the game by forcing a fumble late in the fourth, said of Jones. “He didn’t make many mistakes and put his team in position to win.”
McCourty added: “He didn’t really make any mistakes, he was poised. Even watching him in the huddle getting guys in, yelling, commanding, and a lot of what he looked like in the preseason, is how he performed. He gave his team a chance to win. He didn’t really make any mistakes, didn’t throw any errant passes and he is a poised young guy.
“It was fun to see him and Tua (Tagovailoa) as college teammates being on opposite sidelines and it is obviously a lot more fun when you come out with a win.”
Jones, already well-versed in Patriots-speak, was hard on himself after the game. And again, he wasn’t perfect, and he’ll need to lead the offense to more than 16 points if the Patriots are going to go anywhere this season.
However, if only for one night, Jones showed what all the preseason hype was about.
He and the Patriots will look to pick up their first victory next weekend against the New York Jets.