In Saturday night's game at Green Bay, Mac Jones put together a stat line that was decent enough, though not something you'll be telling your grandkids about decades from now while taking a break from teaching them how to properly pledge allegiance to our AI robot overlords:
Dropbacks: 12. Attempts: 9. Completions: 6. Yards: 53. YPA: 5.8. TDs: 0. INTs: 0. Passer rating: 81.7.
This despite getting pressured on four of those dropbacks, being sacked twice including a strip sack, and having just 2.29 seconds per throw behind a slapped-together, MacGyvered offensive line.
Still, you'll have to forgive Patriots fans - OK, me - if they're walking on sunshine and don't it feel good right now. Because there's more ways to measure success than just preseason stat lines. Way more important is how Jones got to those numbers:
Patriots.com - [Bill] O'Brien incorporated three run-pass options (two completions for 15 yards), one under-center play-action pass attempt, two of Jones's drop-backs were in empty formations, and the Pats utilized motion/shifts on half of Jones's passing snaps under center. It was only step one in the preseason, but there was still decent variety in O'Brien's play-calling.
Even more important than that though, is how Mac Jones is feeling about working with the one guy walking the planet today who has not only run the offense he operated under Josh McDaniels, but also the one he operated under Nick Saban. And he's over the frickin' moon about it. While calling O'Brien's offense "a nice melting pot" of those two systems, he added:
Source - “He’s super real. He’s a straight-up guy, not only as a coach but as a person. He’s going to let you know, ‘Hey, you’re not doing this right. Hey, you’re doing this really well.’ Some coaches will tell you, but then they don’t give you a plan to fix it. I think the coolest part is he gives you the plan, and then from there, you got to go out and execute it. Something might pop up in OTAs where I did something wrong. He’s like, ‘Well, do this throw instead of that throw.’ Next thing you know, it comes up today at practice
“It’s just little things like that. … I think the unit, most importantly, feels the same way as I do in that we have a lot of trust in him to work things out throughout the season. …
“Yeah, for sure, there was a lot of crossover. We speak the same language. He used to coach for Belichick and Saban, and I played for Belichick and Saban. We understand that it’s a tough place to play. In practice, everything’s going to be hard. You’ve got defensive head coaches, so they’re trying to make it hard on you.
“We love the challenge. We speak the same terminology. Sometimes I’ll bring up an old play, and everyone’s like, ‘What’s that?’ And O’B’s like, ‘It’s this.’ We’re talking the same language. It’s fun.”
And if you take any of that stuff about "Some coaches will tell you, but then they don't have a plan to fix it," and the talk about trust and speaking the same language as subtle digs at Matt Patricia, you're not alone. Though I'd drop the word "subtle. Because it seems pretty clear that everyone here last year remembers what a goatfuck it was and can't help noticing the difference. Even some of the guys who weren't here last year:
Um … shots fired? I think it's fair to say yes. Yes they were:
Whether it's intentional or unintentional, everyone involved in the Patriots offense under O'Brien is feeling it. They understand the concepts. They're prepared both in practice and when breaking the huddle in a game that there's a thought process involved with every play call and the secondary call they can check to if the first one is a bad option for the look they're getting. That there's a plan in place to generate and exploit mismatches. To emphasize what's working and eliminate what isn't. And to keep opposing defenses off balance, which was in short supply last year:
Using the classic Belichickian mantra: To put players in the best position to win. And in Jones' case, that means to take advantage of his greatest strength, which is his ability to process information and make good decisions. Which O'Brien has been since he was coordinating and quarterbacks coaching the best offense in the land here as far back as the 2000s.
Like I said since long before Belichick brought him back here from Alabama, O'Brien and Jones are the perfect matchup of coach and quarterback. Like O'Brien says, it's not rocket science. And like Jones says, it is fun. Kick the ball off already.