How Mac Jones Assessed Panthers Defense Ahead Of Week 9 Clash

'This is definitely one of the top defenses of the NFL'

by

November 3, 2021

Mac Jones and the New England Patriots have a true test ahead of them in Week 9 of the NFL season, as they’ll face one of the top defenses in the league in the Carolina Panthers.

The Panthers have some uncertainties at quarterback, but their defense has been pretty impressive en route to a 4-4 record. They rank fourth in the NFL in passing yards allowed (1,511) and are tied for fourth in sacks with an impressive 21 takedowns.

The group is a bit less successful stopping the run, with 854 rushing yards allowed to rank 16th, but still good enough to hang on to a spot in the upper half of the league.

Speaking to the media Wednesday, Jones acknowledged that the Patriots will be in for a test when they head south Sunday.

“They have a bunch of talented players, and they do a good job with their scheme,” the rookie quarterback said, via a team-provided transcript. “They’re all hard-nose football players that, you know, come ready to work and you can see it on the film. They’re coming to hit and they’re doing their job, and they play together and they rally to the ball, so this is definitely one of the top defenses of the NFL. No doubt, and we got to be ready to go, and it should be a good experience to just go down there and have fun and go against a really good team.”

Jones, who is no stranger to the personnel in Carolina considering he worked with head coach Matt Rhule during the 2021 Senior Bowl, also praised the leadership within the Panthers’ defensive group.

“It’s a group effort, and you can tell that they have really good leadership on their team. They have some young guys and old guys, but the leadership is there, and they play together and they communicate really well.”

Individually, Haason Reddick is a player Jones will have to keep a close eye on. The fifth-year linebacker has 7.5 sacks this season (good for fifth in the NFL behind New England’s Matt Judon). And of course there’s Stephon Gilmore, who will put up a fight on the field — totally separate from the storylines as he goes against his former team.

For what it’s worth, the Panthers are preparing for Jones, too. Gilmore shared a ringing endorsement of the rookie quarterback in speaking to reporters Wednesday.

Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images
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