AFC Coach Refutes Common Mac Jones Criticism, But Worries About Patriots

'He is more athletic than you all give him credit for'

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Mac Jones isn’t a Lamar Jackson-level athlete, but that doesn’t mean the Patriots quarterback is as slow as Tom Brady.

Mike Giardi of NFL Media recently spoke with an AFC defensive coach who pushed back against a common criticism of Jones. However, the coach also expressed concerns over how New England is handling its offensive coaching staff.

“Had a long conversation with a defensive coach in the AFC,” Giardi tweeted Wednesday morning. “On Mac Jones, ‘He is more athletic than you all give him credit for. He can make some plays with his legs. He’s not this statue.’ (The coach) loves his pocket presence. ‘He feels the game and sees the game as well as any young QB.’ “

Giardi continued: “Is he concerned about the coaching plan in NE? ‘Yes. Not so much as a play-caller. More about who helps him solve problems in-game. Of the many things Josh (McDaniels) brought to the table, that was huge. That kid was prepped for the game and adaptable as the game played out.'”

The coach also commented on Jones’ commitment to trimming fat and improving his overall strength this offseason.

“I saw he said he’s been working on his arm,” the coach told Giardi. “That’s important. He lollipops a few too many throws. He knows that won’t play long-term, especially late in the year. If he can add a little more zip, it’ll open up a few more things in whatever playbook they’re using.”

Jones and the Patriots held OTA practices Monday and Wednesday and will do so again Thursday on the practice field outside Gillette Stadium. Monday’s session offered a clear look at a slimmed-down Jones, and also offered potential insight into what Bill Belichick is thinking on offense.

Whether Jones’ improved fitness will lead to more athletic, on-the-move plays this season remains to be seen. But as Brady has proven over the last two decades, being fleet of foot in the pocket often is more important than being able to run around like Jackson or Patrick Mahomes.

Jones already is capable of doing just that, and only should improve with more experience.

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