Alabama in the Pros

Mac Jones looked impressive in starting debut for Patriots, despite a loss

Mac Jones in warmups during NFL preseason game for Patriots
Brian Fluharty - USA Today Sports

People talk about Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills, but the New England Patriots have its quarterback of the future.

The AFC East will be fun with Mac Jones pulling the trigger for Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels.

RELATED: Tua Tagovailoa edges out Mac Jones in Dolphins’ victory over Patriots

New England suffered a 16-17 defeat at the hands of Miami to open the season; however, Patriot fans were impressed with its rookie. Jones and Tua Tagovailoa were on the same roster at Alabama for three years. The two won a College Football Playoff National Championship in 2017, and Jones replaced an injured Tagovailoa two years later. Jones outplayed his former teammates in Sunday’s matchup inside Gillette Stadium. If not for two lost fumbles and eight penalties, the Patriots would have won.

As a native of Jacksonville, Fla., Jones was both accurate and efficient. 

He completed 29 of 39 passes (74.4 percent) for 281 yards and one touchdown. The 2020 national champion protected the football, especially on third down. Jones guided New England to 11 conversions on 16 attempts. He was in control of the game as the Patriots held the edge in first downs (24 to 16), total yards (393 to 259), and time of possession. Jones took the team on four scoring drives, including one touchdown drive in the second quarter. He finished the possession with a 7-yard strike to Nelson Agholor for the score. The 6-foot-3, 214-pounder targeted eight different receivers, including Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith.

Jones also turned in a passer rating of 102.6.

RELATED: DeVonta Smith catches his first career NFL touchdown from Jalen Hurts

His competitive nature from high school and Alabama football showed after his first career touchdown. One of his teammates tried to hand him the ball, but Jones did not want it. Residents of Boston loved him even more after that.

“Doesn’t matter. One touchdown,” Jones said after getting a question about why he did not take the ball after his first touchdown. “We gotta score more… We gotta do better in the red zone, get more touchdowns, and we will.”

He is the perfect example of Nick Saban’s process. Jones is not satisfied with scoring.

He wants to dominate his opponent. Despite how his journey started, the former three-star represents success comes with hard work. The loss will sting, but it will also propel Jones to make sure the Patriots get better. New England has its signal-caller, and now the focus should be surrounding him more weapons.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “watch” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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