Why Julian Edelman Is Very High On Mac Jones, Patriots’ ‘Impressive’ QB

'I think he's going to be a pretty good quarterback'

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Mac Jones has the Julian Edelman stamp of approval.

During an appearance Friday on Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” podcast, the retired Patriots wide receiver explained how Jones has impressed him during the rookie’s first five games as New England’s starting quarterback.

“I think he’s doing well,” said Edelman, “I think he’s doing well. They’re not doing great. I mean, their red-area offense needs some help, and they need to create some more explosion plays. But as far as seeing a kid come in and retain the offense and see what plays they’re running and see his quarterback clock and his clicking ability from certain reads, it’s been impressive, and guys that I’ve talked to that are still there are impressed with him and how he’s been able to digest the playbook and the offensive scheme.

“So it’s exciting for him. He’s got that kind of even-keeled, cool, collect kind of attitude if you see him, and if he continues that, I think the big plays will come and he’ll learn how to play. There’s games within games that, once you get the offense down, you can start doing those things. If he continues to improve and believe in the system, I think he’s going to be a pretty good quarterback.”

As Edelman noted, the Patriots’ offense has scuffled through the first five games, ranking 26th in scoring, 31st in red-zone conversion rate and 24th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA. Jones has thrown five interceptions over the last three weeks and had a few other passes bounce off defenders’ hands during last Sunday’s win over the Houston Texans.

But Edelman, who retired shortly before Jones was drafted and who now works as an analyst for “Inside the NFL,” hasn’t seen the type of boneheaded, game-altering miscues that most first-year signal-callers are prone to.

“He hasn’t made real bad football plays,” the ex-wideout said. “He’s made a couple doy-doy plays, like the one where he threw it backward (in Week 1) … but we watch these other (rookie) quarterbacks — lot of doy-doys.”

The Patriots saw a plethora of “doy-doy” plays from New York Jets rookie QB Zach Wilson, who tossed four interceptions in a blowout loss to New England in Week 2.

“But also,” Edelman continued, “what I’m most impressed about with Mac is his ability to sidestep a guy in the pocket, step up, keep his eyes downfield and be able to deliver a ball that was, like, his fourth read — that he went from his first to his fourth because he saw it somehow. Those are things that you don’t see very often from younger quarterbacks — that calm, cool, collect (demeanor).

“And his pocket awareness. He’s not mobile by any means, but his ability to move in the pocket, step up when the D-end is running the hump, you step up in the pocket but you don’t get all flustered and stuff, you still stay in the read. He’s been doing that. He has a lot to improve on, but he’s got a good foundation going.”

In-pocket mobility is one of the hallmarks of former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s game.

“It’s like Tom,” Edelman added. “Tom’s the GOAT at that. It’s what Tom is really insane at — having a sixth sense of, ‘Oh, they’re going to get him,’ and he steps up in the pocket and slides to his right and he finds his guy.”

Edelman also believed Jones landed in the best situation of any 2021 rookie quarterback. The other two Week 1 starters (Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville and Wilson with the Jets) both were drafted by teams with new coaching staffs and long histories of losing.

“I definitely think his ecosystem was the best out of all the rookies that are entering the league this year,” Edelman said. “And I’m not biased, but that’s all I really know, because I was in that system. But also just how the team’s built and the money that they spent and the defense that they have and the coaches that they have — you know those guys are going to be there for a while. There’s stability there. Usually, when you get a fresh quarterback, you’re getting a fresh coach, a new play-caller. There’s a lot of variables.”

Jones ranks fifth in the NFL in completion percentage (71.1%). He’ll look to score the first home victory of his young NFL career when the 2-3 Patriots welcome the 4-1 Dallas Cowboys to Gillette Stadium on Sunday.

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