Pats Draft Rd.1/15: QB Michael McCorkle "Mac" Jones

Euclis20

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Other than that odd fumble on his first drop back (I think he got turned around and tried to just dump Smith's feet to avoid the sack), really no major mistakes today. He was certainly handled with kid gloves, but he consistently made the throws and decisions that he had to make. Other than a win, really couldn't have hoped for much more out of his debut.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Other than that odd fumble on his first drop back (I think he got turned around and tried to just dump Smith's feet to avoid the sack), really no major mistakes today. He was certainly handled with kid gloves, but he consistently made the throws and decisions that he had to make. Other than a win, really couldn't have hoped for much more out of his debut.
Too much kid gloves. It's not really "kid gloves" to make him throw out of third and long all day.
 

CaptainLaddie

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I couldnt watch every drive with as much attention as I wished I could have but holy shit, he looks better than advertised. He made some throws that wow’d me. I’m very excited.
 

Euclis20

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Too much kid gloves. It's not really "kid gloves" to make him throw out of third and long all day.
He threw a ton (on 3rd and long, which I'm sure wasn't planned) but he didn't seem to go downfield all that much. Just 7.2 yards per attempt, the same mark as Cam's 2020 season average (tied for 20th best last year). They definitely were as careful as they could be, I imagine the plan was for the running game to provide more help than it did (after the opening run by Harris, it was godawful).
 

SeoulSoxFan

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I forgot he was a rookie after the first series. I kept expecting him to make the plays to extend drives and he did, for most of the game.

I'm confident this loss will eat away at the young QB and drive him to with harder, if possible.

This is pretty exciting.
 

Gambler7

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I don't know what to say other than I am really excited we have this kid moving forward. Absolutely phenomenal first game all things considered. His movement in the pocket at the in his first game at the NFL level surprised me as well as his grasp of the offense already. Not afraid to stand in and take a hit, though would prefer to see less of that moving forward. Excited to watch him grow.
 

JokersWildJIMED

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I forgot he was a rookie after the first series. I kept expecting him to make the plays to extend drives and he did, for most of the game.

I'm confident this loss will eat away at the young QB and drive him to with harder, if possible.

This is pretty exciting.
He was much better than I expected, and I expected him to be great. His pocket awareness and movement was fantastic and he was going against a great secondary and great defensive coach. Didn’t see much of Nelson A in the second half and he just looked for other receivers. Terrific start.
 

Ed Hillel

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Yeah, I mean the two QBs he reminds me of are Brady and Manning. What has defined them more than anything is their ability to read the field, command the offense, and make the most of the protection they receive on any given play (move well in the pocket). And accuracy, which kid clearly has. He can do all of that…AND IT WAS HIS FIRST FREAKING GAME.

He’ll never be as accomplished as Tom, of course, but early signs are this is a Hall of Fame caliber player. I’ll say it now and eat my crow later :).
 

radsoxfan

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His first NFL throw was one of the strangest I have ever seen. A seemingly intentional backwards spike/fumble.

Nearly every play after was fantastic to watch. I tend to be "cautiously optimistic" after small sample sizes, even very good ones. But hard not to be extremely excited about his future, he truly ran the offense exactly like Brady would have. Same shifting around the pocket, same accuracy, same progressions. Almost eerie. Of course WAY to early to put him in that class, but impossible not to be excited to see that.

I hope to see them open up the downfield playbook a bit more soon. A few more explosive plays would really make a big difference.
 

Bongorific

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Yeah, I mean the two QBs he reminds me of are Brady and Manning. What has defined them more than anything is their ability to read the field, command the offense, and make the most of the protection they receive on any given play (move well in the pocket). And accuracy, which kid clearly has. He can do all of that…AND IT WAS HIS FIRST FREAKING GAME.

He’ll never be as accomplished as Tom, of course, but early signs are this is a Hall of Fame caliber player. I’ll say it now and eat my crow later :).
But for the late fumble, there’s a very good chance that we’re talking about how he led a game winning drive.
 
Aug 9, 2015
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I think Mac always had a high floor and he showed today that he’s capable of no worse than a top-15 QB in the league. And that’s awesome and a guy you can win a lot of games with, including a championship. His ceiling will to me be the most interesting thing. Maybe he’ll dominate with football IQ and just-good-enough physical skills (like someone else we know) or maybe those physical limitations will keep him just a tick below the top guys in the league. In any case he’s a unique competitor. The first touchdown ball thing and the way he reacted to Harris’s fumble are the seeds for a legend in this town.
 

rodderick

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What happened to Mac yesterday is something I see all the time with young QBs: in an effort to lighten their load and not put a lot on their plate, the team ends up requiring them to convert about 50 3rd and 4s to sustain drives. There's very little margin for error. That's how you go 11-16 on third down, have an extremely efficient day passing the ball, and still score 16 points. It's a perfectly fine approach for his first game, but I want to see more chunk plays against the Jets, especially off play action.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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I can't imagine how excited this board would be if he put up more than 16 points.
Get out of here with this disingenuous bullshit.

Drive 1 - Punt, penalty put them in 2nd & 23.

Drive 2 - fumble.

Drive 3 - FG, 2nd and 20 penalty stalls them in redzone. 14 play drive.

Drive 4 - Three and out. First down pass "dropped" by Agholor (hard catch in traffic).

Drive 5 - Touchdown, 63 yards.

Drive 6 - FG, 14 plays 67 yards. Faced a 1st & 15, 1st & 20 due to penalties. Four yard loss on Harris run helps stall drive outside of redzone with 2nd and 14.

Drive 7 - FG, 14 plays 57 yards. Low throw to Meyers ends drive.

Drive 8 - Fumble.

He had eight drives and only two ended with punts (one heavily influenced by a penalty). In fact, almost every drive contained a costly penalty or fumble. All three drives that ended with FGs were fourteen play drives. That's fucking insane.

That defense has a top corner combo. You remove a handful of the boneheaded penalties/fumbles, and this team scores 30 points yesterday. If you think people are overreacting to this game, then you didnt watch it.
 

rodderick

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Get out of here with this disingenuous bullshit.

Drive 1 - Punt, penalty put them in 2nd & 23.

Drive 2 - fumble.

Drive 3 - FG, 2nd and 20 penalty stalls them in redzone. 14 play drive.

Drive 4 - Three and out. First down pass "dropped" by Agholor (hard catch in traffic).

Drive 5 - Touchdown, 63 yards.

Drive 6 - FG, 14 plays 67 yards. Faced a 1st & 15, 1st & 20 due to penalties. Four yard loss on Harris run helps stall drive outside of redzone with 2nd and 14.

Drive 7 - FG, 14 plays 57 yards. Low throw to Meyers ends drive.

Drive 8 - Fumble.

He had eight drives and only two ended with punts (one heavily influenced by a penalty). In fact, almost every drive contained a costly penalty or fumble. All three drives that ended with FGs were fourteen play drives. That's fucking insane.

That defense has a top corner combo. You remove a handful of the boneheaded penalties/fumbles, and this team scores 30 points yesterday. If you think people are overreacting to this game, then you didnt watch it.
To say they score 30 you need to be a lot more confident in their ability to get in the endzone yesterday than I am, I guess. The TD drive was aided by an iffy roughing call too.
 

Ralphwiggum

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The "iffy" roughing penalty (which I'm sorry is a textbook call that gets made 10 times out of 10 these days) was preceded by Harris getting his helmet ripped off which is called more often than not, even if it wasn't intentional.

Meanwhile the Wynn holding penalty is a call you could make on any given play in the NFL and negated a run to the one yard line and a likely touchdown.

Mac looked great for a guy taking his first snaps ever in an NFL game. Stood in the pocket, went through his progressions, made some great throws into tight windows, and made very few mistakes. It was as good a debut as anyone could reasonably expect. He's going to have games where he plays much worse than this.
 

Harry Hooper

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Whn Mac threw the backwards pass on the first drive, what exactly happened there rules-wise? I thought I heard the officials blow the whistle (incorrectly) for an incomplete pass. A Patriot recovered the ball, but the whistle would have negated a Dolphin recovery? Still, the Pats took a big loss on the play, so they decided after the play was over that it really wasn't an incomplete pass and the Pats lost a big chunk of yards?
 
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jsinger121

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Whn Mac threw the backwards pass on the first drive, what exactly happened there rules-wise? I thought I heard the officials blow the whistle (incorrectly) for an incomplete pass. A Patriot recovered the ball, but the whistle would have negated a Dolphin recovery? Still, the Pats took a big loss on the play, so they decided after the play was over that it really wasn't a incomplete pass and the Pats lost a big chunk of yards?
It was ruled a backwards lateral so a live ball.
 

BaseballJones

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This screen shot is immediately after Smith recovered the backward pass by Jones and the refs blew the whistle. You see the official on the left signaling an incomplete pass. This is just a screen shot but trust me, if it's not clear to you from this still photo, the official was emphatic that it was an incomplete pass.

44242
 

Harry Hooper

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it was the first play for a lot of people.
Yes, the end result was just, but the officials pretended the whistle didn't happen. I don't think that squares with NFL regs, though.

If the Dolphins had snagged the ball, things could have gotten interesting, or if the Patriot had grabbed the ball and then ran forward for a 12-yard gain.
 
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Cellar-Door

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I thought he looked nervous the first 2 drives then settled. He was very good for a rookie. I'd need to see the numbers, but I think he probably held it too long a bunch, and they didn't exactly have him taking shots most of the game, but that's just good management of a rookie.

Lots of positives in his performance. Next step will be getting the ball out quicker, and making more red zone tight window throws.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Mostly fair @Kenny F'ing Powers but nitpicky point: the first drive was Mac's bizarre fumble that put them in 2nd and 23.

8 drives is super low. 16 points isn't terrible given that. (Also means the D played worse than the score.)
Right. Completely forgot. My bad.

I'd also say that, while the D probably played worse than the score indicated, the 8 drives was also a function of the dink and dunk style of offense they ran. You can call it kid gloves or whatever you want, but the Patriots had the ball for 37 minutes to the Dolphins 23. They had three drives of 14 plays, a drive of 9, and two drives of 7. If this is the offense they want to run - and I'm good with it, although I would have expected to see more screens in the second half as the Dolphins turned up the pressure on a rookie CB - then their margin for error on turnovers is magnified. An extra possession or two is literally the difference in winning or losing, as we saw yesterday.
 

Super Nomario

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Right. Completely forgot. My bad.

I'd also say that, while the D probably played worse than the score indicated, the 8 drives was also a function of the dink and dunk style of offense they ran. You can call it kid gloves or whatever you want, but the Patriots had the ball for 37 minutes to the Dolphins 23. They had three drives of 14 plays, a drive of 9, and two drives of 7. If this is the offense they want to run - and I'm good with it, although I would have expected to see more screens in the second half as the Dolphins turned up the pressure on a rookie CB - then their margin for error on turnovers is magnified. An extra possession or two is literally the difference in winning or losing, as we saw yesterday.
The margin for error is magnified in two ways, I think. One, as you note, if you only have 8 possessions, fucking one up is a lot worse than if you have 12. The other is, you're not getting those big chunk plays that can lead to scoring drives even if you're inconsistent. You have get first down after first down to score. If you run 14 plays a drive, eventually either the offense or the defense is going to make a bad mistake, and it was the Patriots offense making the mistake almost every time last night.

The offense has needed more chunk plays since the beginning of 2018 really, excepting however many games Josh Gordon played. Hopefully Agholor brings some of that when he's not facing an amazing CB tandem like Miami has. I wouldn't mind seeing the TEs work the seam more either.
 

rodderick

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The "iffy" roughing penalty (which I'm sorry is a textbook call that gets made 10 times out of 10 these days) was preceded by Harris getting his helmet ripped off which is called more often than not, even if it wasn't intentional.

Meanwhile the Wynn holding penalty is a call you could make on any given play in the NFL and negated a run to the one yard line and a likely touchdown.

Mac looked great for a guy taking his first snaps ever in an NFL game. Stood in the pocket, went through his progressions, made some great throws into tight windows, and made very few mistakes. It was as good a debut as anyone could reasonably expect. He's going to have games where he plays much worse than this.
Who's saying he didn't play great? I'm just arguing that extrapolating yesterday's offensive performance to 30 points with more drives is a stretch considering their only TD came after a key penalty and they didn't look all that great as the field shortened in other drives.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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The margin for error is magnified in two ways, I think. One, as you note, if you only have 8 possessions, fucking one up is a lot worse than if you have 12. The other is, you're not getting those big chunk plays that can lead to scoring drives even if you're inconsistent. You have get first down after first down to score. If you run 14 plays a drive, eventually either the offense or the defense is going to make a bad mistake, and it was the Patriots offense making the mistake almost every time last night.

The offense has needed more chunk plays since the beginning of 2018 really, excepting however many games Josh Gordon played. Hopefully Agholor brings some of that when he's not facing an amazing CB tandem like Miami has. I wouldn't mind seeing the TEs work the seam more either.
Again, we'll see when they decide to take the leash off of Mac, but it's interesting to me that theyve opted to build out an offense the last two years around short plays and ball control. BBs defensive philosophy has always been Bend but Dont Break, with the idea that the more plays you force an offense to run, the more plays they're forced to execute. At some point, someone fucks up on execution and commits a big penalty, turnover, missed block, etc.

So, for the Patriots to choose to build an offense around extended drives? It's just weird. Kind of the antithesis of BBs defensive philosophy. Maybe it's the "he can take his and beat yours, and take yours and beat his" idea, I dunno. Like, he figures if he focuses on the fundamentals and makes it an entire game about executing long drives in both sides, his team will be more prepared for it and the other team will eventually shoot itself in the foot.

Risky game to play with teams like KC, but probably a sound theory for most of the other teams built around risk and exciting plays.

Edit - I know this is how theyve operated on offense under Brady as well. I guess it's just jarring to see it being attempted under a rookie QB. If BB ends up winning another SB, theres no doubt his philosophy works (as if theres any already).
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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The margin for error is magnified in two ways, I think. One, as you note, if you only have 8 possessions, fucking one up is a lot worse than if you have 12. The other is, you're not getting those big chunk plays that can lead to scoring drives even if you're inconsistent. You have get first down after first down to score. If you run 14 plays a drive, eventually either the offense or the defense is going to make a bad mistake, and it was the Patriots offense making the mistake almost every time last night.

The offense has needed more chunk plays since the beginning of 2018 really, excepting however many games Josh Gordon played. Hopefully Agholor brings some of that when he's not facing an amazing CB tandem like Miami has. I wouldn't mind seeing the TEs work the seam more either.
I think this is right. Beyond the fumbles, poorly timed penalties really hurt the Patriots on offense and negated some of the few chunkier plays they did make. They would have had 1st and goal at the 1 after a 13 yard run on the third drive, but it was brought back by a Wynn hold. They had a 33 yard pass negated by the Herron hold on the fifth drive. On the sixth drive, first they lose their great starting field position with the Judon penalty on the kick, then next play they have a 17 yard pass negated by a Wynn blindside block penalty.

This play style magnifies these errors but I think there is reason to believe that a Bill Belichick coached team in the long run will make these kinds of mistakes (plus RB fumbles) relatively infrequently compared to the rest of the league. A team doing what the Patriots did otherwise but playing a relatively "clean" game on offense could easily have scored 27-30 yesterday on 8 possessions, which would have been a fantastic showing.
 

pokey_reese

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One game in, and I was very impressed by the way he handled himself and the offense. Against a good defense, in week 1 he was a top-10 QB by completion %, and QBR, threw no interceptions and only took one sack. Not sure what else I can hope for out of a rookie QB in the Pats offense, and I think it should be enough to build on moving forward.
 

Eddie Jurak

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I thought he looked nervous the first 2 drives then settled. He was very good for a rookie. I'd need to see the numbers, but I think he probably held it too long a bunch, and they didn't exactly have him taking shots most of the game, but that's just good management of a rookie.

Lots of positives in his performance. Next step will be getting the ball out quicker, and making more red zone tight window throws.
There was definitely some conservative play calling, but some of the “not taking shots” might have been Jones checking down. I personally have no idea how to know that either way beyond seeing what people who review the all 22 film think.
 

steveluck7

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I was very impressed overall but mostly by one thing i saw. Not sure if anyone else noticed but after Harris's fumble and the review, when they came back from commercial (or out of the replay), Mac was on the field trying to pump up the defense as they came onto the field. Not a major thing by any means but it kind of showed that he's very much "in" the game, if that makes any sense
 

Cellar-Door

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There was definitely some conservative play calling, but some of the “not taking shots” might have been Jones checking down. I personally have no idea how to know that either way beyond seeing what people who review the all 22 film think.
yeah, true. I meant generally it seemed like a very risk averse offense, but yeah we'll need the All-22 to see if that was mostly playcalling or a lot of it was Mac playing it safe.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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There was definitely some conservative play calling, but some of the “not taking shots” might have been Jones checking down. I personally have no idea how to know that either way beyond seeing what people who review the all 22 film think.
They might also have had some longer developing deeper pass play calls in the game plan but scratched them once Brown went down and Herron started doing his turnstyle impression.
 

lexrageorge

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What happened to Mac yesterday is something I see all the time with young QBs: in an effort to lighten their load and not put a lot on their plate, the team ends up requiring them to convert about 50 3rd and 4s to sustain drives. There's very little margin for error. That's how you go 11-16 on third down, have an extremely efficient day passing the ball, and still score 16 points. It's a perfectly fine approach for his first game, but I want to see more chunk plays against the Jets, especially off play action.
I decided to look at the 1st and 2nd down play calls when the Pats were on offense to see if the above was correct. Of course, 1st and 2nd down play calling is not the only indication of how conservative an offense is run, but I did want to see if the team was setting themselves up for an inordinate number of 3rd downs.

First down: 14 runs, 18 pass attempts (includes the sack/lateral/fumble/recovery play). Of those passes, only 2 attempts were long, but one was negated by an offensive holding penalty. Mac completed 13 of those 18, although 3 of the completions were negated by penalty (2 on the offense plus a defensive hold on a 1st-and-20 play), and one completion ended in a fumble by Stevenson.

Definitely conservative, although this team should definitely have been striving for some balance, so cannot really complain.

2nd down: I decided to break it to 2nd-and-short (4 yards or fewer) and 2nd-and-long (5 or more yards).

2nd-and-short: 5 runs. So no shots downfield on 2nd-and-short, which was a Brady speciality.

2nd-and-long: 7 runs, 12 passes. Of the runs, one was on a 2nd-and-23, but that was right after Mac threw that backward pass and got flattened for his trouble. Of the passes, 2 of them were deep, one of which was an incompletion, and another was a 21 yard pick up on 2nd-and-15. Overall, Mac went 9-12 on 2nd down with 1 TD.

As noted, it's unclear how many of those short pass plays were designed as the first option vs. check downs.
 

tims4wins

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I decided to look at the 1st and 2nd down play calls when the Pats were on offense to see if the above was correct. Of course, 1st and 2nd down play calling is not the only indication of how conservative an offense is run, but I did want to see if the team was setting themselves up for an inordinate number of 3rd downs.

First down: 14 runs, 18 pass attempts (includes the sack/lateral/fumble/recovery play). Of those passes, only 2 attempts were long, but one was negated by an offensive holding penalty. Mac completed 13 of those 18, although 3 of the completions were negated by penalty (2 on the offense plus a defensive hold on a 1st-and-20 play), and one completion ended in a fumble by Stevenson.

Definitely conservative, although this team should definitely have been striving for some balance, so cannot really complain.

2nd down: I decided to break it to 2nd-and-short (4 yards or fewer) and 2nd-and-long (5 or more yards).

2nd-and-short: 5 runs. So no shots downfield on 2nd-and-short, which was a Brady speciality.

2nd-and-long: 7 runs, 12 passes. Of the runs, one was on a 2nd-and-23, but that was right after Mac threw that backward pass and got flattened for his trouble. Of the passes, 2 of them were deep, one of which was an incompletion, and another was a 21 yard pick up on 2nd-and-15. Overall, Mac went 9-12 on 2nd down with 1 TD.

As noted, it's unclear how many of those short pass plays were designed as the first option vs. check downs.
Thanks for doing this. I’d say the 18-14 ratio was fine. Seems like 2nd down was the bigger issue (especially 2nd and short as you note; while I appreciate that they were trying to get into even shorter yardage situations to make things as easy as possible for Mac, there should have been more passes mixed in).
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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I was very impressed overall but mostly by one thing i saw. Not sure if anyone else noticed but after Harris's fumble and the review, when they came back from commercial (or out of the replay), Mac was on the field trying to pump up the defense as they came onto the field. Not a major thing by any means but it kind of showed that he's very much "in" the game, if that makes any sense
You know what stood out to me? I'm not sure if anyone else caught it, but at some point in the game - can't remember exactly when, but sometime in the middle of the game - Mac made some quick adjustments at the line and pointed out the Mike. At that point, Andrews started pointing at other defensive players for line assignments. There was 5 seconds left on the game clock, and Mac was having none of it. He wasn't in a rush, but the play was set up how he wanted. So, as Andrews was pointing, Mac gave him a quick "Hey, we're ready, shutup and snap the ball" slap on his lower back.

Andrews immediately stopped his callouts and snapped the ball.

I don't remember the outcome of the play or anything else. But it stood out to me just how much command Mac had over the entire offense, and how much respect he's already earned from the players. It seems minor, but its just such a veteran move from a young kid.