The Game Ball Thread: Wk. 2 at the Jets

wiffleballhero

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In the simulacrum
Despite it being the Dolphins in both games this is almost an apples to oranges comparison---we faced Miami with a rookie making their first ever start with a ton of new guys and in their second game the Fins lost their starting QB in the first quarter. If the upshot is that we aren't as good as Buffalo in week 2, I'm not sure anyone thought we would be.

And I'm not criticizing Mac or Josh. I'm saying I want to see more because he seems to be handling what he's been given really well.
This is fair, and FWIW, the Pats don't see Buffalo until December, so the head to head inside the division stuff, while revealing, in this case, is going to have a long time to develop. I'm going to wait to see where we are at Thanksgiving before getting anxious about how common opponents tell us things.
 

BaseballJones

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The Pats are a Harris fumble from being 2-0, and 2-0 in the division. Mac Jones is completing 74% of his passes and hasn't turned it over once in two games despite a ton of blitzing coming his way.

Compare Jones to the other rookie QBs so far:

Jones: 51-69, 73.9%, 6.8 y/a, 1 td, 0 int, 96.7 rating
Lawrence: 42-84, 50.0%, 5.4 y/a, 4 td, 5 int, 57.1 rating
Wilson: 39-70, 55.7%, 6.7 y/a, 2 td, 5 int, 56.1 rating
Lance: has thrown just one pass (but for a TD!)
Fields: 8-15, 53.3%, 4.7 y/a, 0 td, 1 int, 38.2 rating

Playing QB as a rookie is REALLY hard in the NFL. And Mac Jones is, so far, blowing away the other rookies in his performance. Simply taking care of the football alone has been crucially important, and I'm sure that BB has pounded it into his head that this is job #1 for a QB. And that's exactly what Mac has been doing. Take what the defense gives you, take care of the ball, kick field goals if you need to, but just don't turn it over.

He's had two games. The downfield stuff will come. And let's be honest...when he HAS gone downfield, the results have been there. He's made good throws.
 

Captaincoop

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The Pats are a Harris fumble from being 2-0, and 2-0 in the division. Mac Jones is completing 74% of his passes and hasn't turned it over once in two games despite a ton of blitzing coming his way.

Compare Jones to the other rookie QBs so far:

Jones: 51-69, 73.9%, 6.8 y/a, 1 td, 0 int, 96.7 rating
Lawrence: 42-84, 50.0%, 5.4 y/a, 4 td, 5 int, 57.1 rating
Wilson: 39-70, 55.7%, 6.7 y/a, 2 td, 5 int, 56.1 rating
Lance: has thrown just one pass (but for a TD!)
Fields: 8-15, 53.3%, 4.7 y/a, 0 td, 1 int, 38.2 rating

Playing QB as a rookie is REALLY hard in the NFL. And Mac Jones is, so far, blowing away the other rookies in his performance. Simply taking care of the football alone has been crucially important, and I'm sure that BB has pounded it into his head that this is job #1 for a QB. And that's exactly what Mac has been doing. Take what the defense gives you, take care of the ball, kick field goals if you need to, but just don't turn it over.

He's had two games. The downfield stuff will come. And let's be honest...when he HAS gone downfield, the results have been there. He's made good throws.
Let's be fair, though. He's playing for a functional team. Can we say that about Lawrence, Wilson, or Fields?
 

BaseballJones

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Let's be fair, though. He's playing for a functional team. Can we say that about Lawrence, Wilson, or Fields?
Well, Chicago was a playoff team last year so they SHOULD be functional. The other two, not so much. But this is the great advantage the Pats have, right? Solid team and a perfect place for a guy like Mac Jones to step in.

But still...put any of the other guys on this team and they probably still have a turnover or two. Mac? Zero.

The point is: I think he's doing just fine, and the team is doing just fine. A Harris fumble from being 2-0, with a +18 point differential so far.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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He had a big stop on the goal line, but did anyone watch Guy consistently this game? I believe I read some advanced stats before the season that he had fallen off a cliff last year. I was hoping for a bounceback, but interior defensive linemen tend to have a steep decline. I'm concerned that hes fallen off the cliff for good, and its going to take a full season of shit play before we move on.

Or not. Again, I wasnt really watching him, and have no idea how often he was on the field.
 

Over Guapo Grande

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Let's be fair, though. He's playing for a functional team. Can we say that about Lawrence, Wilson, or Fields?
I think that is a feature, not a bug - as the kiddos say.

Mac is doing what is required- what is required for the NEP is different than what is required for the JEST, the BEARS, the JAGS
 

Eddie Jurak

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The one time I noticed Guy was a good play. Wilson had rolled out and Guy was rushing him. It looked like it was going to be one of those plays where the lineman overpursues and the mobile QB runs for a big gain, but Guy managed to stay in front of Wilson and then nearly made a great tackle. Guy looked super awkward as he tried not to commit himself in a way that would let Wilson get around him easily, but he did what he had to do.
 

BlackJack

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But still...put any of the other guys on this team and they probably still have a turnover or two. Mac? Zero.
While both have been recovered by NE, he has fumbled twice. There has been some luck involved in Mac's favor on this point.
 

BlackJack

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True. But that's going to happen to other QBs too.
Absolutely and I am very excited about how Mac has looked so far! I'm just pointing out that the narrative would be different if one or both of those had been lost even though each recovery had essentially nothing to do with Mac's performance.
 

johnmd20

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Let's be fair, though. He's playing for a functional team. Can we say that about Lawrence, Wilson, or Fields?
I hate this shit right here. The gotcha guy!

Yes, the Pats are a better team. That doesn't change the fact that his numbers are WAY better than the other rookies. Again, it's just the numbers we are talking about. Do you deny those numbers that exist from the games that have actually been played?
 

Captaincoop

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I hate this shit right here. The gotcha guy!

Yes, the Pats are a better team. That doesn't change the fact that his numbers are WAY better than the other rookies. Again, it's just the numbers we are talking about. Do you deny those numbers that exist from the games that have actually been played?
What a post. Yes, I deny those numbers, it's all a hoax.
 

cornwalls@6

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I came out of yesterday a little more optimistic than some here have. Holding any NFL team to 6 points in 2021 is a good days work. And part of being a good D is being in position to capitalize on your opponents mistakes. So the Jet turnovers weren’t just gifts. Game ball to the D. Offensive line is a concern right now, but that’ll look better when Brown is back. Second game ball to Mac. He’s doing exactly what he’s being asked to, and doing it, for the most part, without glaring mistakes. Third ball to Harris. Loved his hard running all day, and obviously the beast mode TD was a thing of beauty. Props to him for not letting a fumble alter his aggressive style one bit.
 

richgedman'sghost

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Wilson gets the game ball. A competent QB on the other side of the field and this game looks a lot different. Pats have two weeks to get their heads out of their asses on both sides of the ball or they’re going to get completely dismantled. I felt a lot better about this team last week after the loss. Ugly win is still a W. Open up the offense. Figure out how to stop the run. Please.
How much of the play calling was conservative in nature due to the fact that Zack Wilson decided to open a bakery with all the turnovers? McDaniels probably figured with Jones only in his second game better to play ir close to the vest and not screw things up. The Pats did run a couple of trick plays early. I particularly liked the play where Jones threw a good block to lead to a nice gain.
The other thing to consider is Jones reluctance to take a drop off pass rather than make a risky throw downfield. On the flea flicker play, Trent Green said that Jones had an open receiver streaking towards the end zone but dropped it off for a 15 yard gain. I wish CBS could show the All 22 view so we could judge for ourselves
In conclusion, I think the offenses problems yesterday were a combination of McDaniels' conservative play calling and Jones being risk adverse by nature.
I actually didn't have a problem with yesterday's game plan and turning Jones into a game manager.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I'm just glad they won but sometimes in the NFL you have to try to throw the ball past the line to gain.
 

Super Nomario

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Basically, so long as the Patriots are ranking in that middle-area where the run defense is not dominant but isn't actually managing to give up positive value to opposing offenses as it did last year, I'm happy. The pass defense has been up against at least one, maybe two scrubs so far in Tua and Zack, but Tua was really bad in terms of production (and also, I think, bad in terms of pure play; he didn't get unlucky) and Wilson was a raging dumpster fire in both accounts, even worse than he was in week 1. Especially Gilmore theoretically coming back decently soon, I'm actually very happy with how the defense is projecting forward, with a potentially elite secondary and fairly quality pass rush (so long as Uche is actually allowed to play, at least) that will scare teams away from passing the ball and a somewhat weak run defense that will bait them into running it on early downs. And even then, without the context of the offense getting to choose which one to attack, overall the productive difference between a mediocre rush defense and a elite run defense is vastly smaller than the difference between a mediocre pass defense and an elite pass defense. I don't know if the Pats actually have an elite pass defense, but if they do have one (even without Gilmore) this largely how you would have expected them to perform over the course of their first two games.
Point taken on this, but I think it's worth distinguishing between run defense ability and run defense strategy. Belichick will make strategic decisions at times to emphasize pass defense at the expense of the run, whether that's playing two deep safeties, using a lighter front, playing extra defensive backs, etc. That was the strategy he used (as Giants DC) against the K-Gun Bills in the Super Bowl, and against Manning and Mahomes through the years. The Patriots seemed to be doing quite a bit of that yesterday (lot of nickel and dime, more snaps for Barmore / Wise vs Guy / Davis / Godchaux, etc.). On the other hand, there are times when the run is the biggest threat, and in those instances you want to have the ability to stop it; I'm thinking short yardage plays in Week 1 and the final drive where Miami ran out the clock. In that case, ability to stop the run was a problem.

The statistical results (as measured by EPA, or anything) are necessarily going to reflect both the ability to stop the run and the strategy in prioritizing run stopping vs pass defense. The ideal I think is to have the ability to stop the run but elect to prioritize stopping the pass for the most part. It's like the old Mark Twain line: “A gentleman is someone who knows how to play the banjo and doesn't.” An effective D might be a unit that can stop the run but chooses not to.
 

bakahump

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I wonder if the quick checkdowns are in part to protect Mac physically. "We have a (series of) shitty Right Tackle(s). So take the quick throws and make sure your not getting lit up in the pocket."

Even if the above is the case......I really took Bradys ability to avoid the rush, avoid the big hit and general toughness for granted. I watch some of the Jones hits so far and realize why its so hard for teams to have a QB start all 16/17. He has taken a few shots already that made me wince.

That maybe the biggest thing I am "learning about rooting for a rookie QB". Those guys simply have no idea how fast, strong and hard hitting NFL players are. Even Mac from Bama. Brady in the pros looked like how top tier College QBs look against top 50-70 college Defenses. He would fold and take the seat. Or side step and throw it away avoiding the big hit. Maybe only getting knocked down.
While those same top tier college Qbs come to the pros and get rocked and sandwhiched, with their head pinballing.

If you can survive long enough (Brady, Rodgers, Brees, Wilsons of the world) you end up getting a Knack for it. Or maybe you "earn the defense respect" and they cant all out blitz you like they can the New Macs and Zachs. Until then.....your life is in jeopardy.

Whatever it is.....Like a Lieutenant in a battlezone....I get why rookie Qbs often die on the vine.
 

Big McCorkle

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Point taken on this, but I think it's worth distinguishing between run defense ability and run defense strategy. Belichick will make strategic decisions at times to emphasize pass defense at the expense of the run, whether that's playing two deep safeties, using a lighter front, playing extra defensive backs, etc. That was the strategy he used (as Giants DC) against the K-Gun Bills in the Super Bowl, and against Manning and Mahomes through the years. The Patriots seemed to be doing quite a bit of that yesterday (lot of nickel and dime, more snaps for Barmore / Wise vs Guy / Davis / Godchaux, etc.). On the other hand, there are times when the run is the biggest threat, and in those instances you want to have the ability to stop it; I'm thinking short yardage plays in Week 1 and the final drive where Miami ran out the clock. In that case, ability to stop the run was a problem.

The statistical results (as measured by EPA, or anything) are necessarily going to reflect both the ability to stop the run and the strategy in prioritizing run stopping vs pass defense. The ideal I think is to have the ability to stop the run but elect to prioritize stopping the pass for the most part. It's like the old Mark Twain line: “A gentleman is someone who knows how to play the banjo and doesn't.” An effective D might be a unit that can stop the run but chooses not to.
Good point. On a related note, I'm anticipating that Lawrence Guy might quickly be finding his way to being benched. During camp, there was a reporter, I think it was Bedard, who noted that Guy was looking pretty terrible throughout, and both by my own eye test and by PFF grade he's been pretty horrendous through the first two weeks. Barmore hasn't really been any better against the run, but has already been productive as a pass rusher and is a rookie, so he can probably be expected to trend upwards as the season goes along. Davis has been solid in limited snaps, and so has Wise, I think, although he sort of plays a different position. If Guy's out there, is kind of looking like they don't have as much of a choice as to whether or not they want to stop the run.

Next week is really going to be a good test of the defense, especially since they'll have another week to gel, as it's probably a factor that something like 60% of the front seven snaps in week 1 came from guys who weren't playing here last season.
 

tims4wins

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Good point. On a related note, I'm anticipating that Lawrence Guy might quickly be finding his way to being benched. During camp, there was a reporter, I think it was Bedard, who noted that Guy was looking pretty terrible throughout, and both by my own eye test and by PFF grade he's been pretty horrendous through the first two weeks. Barmore hasn't really been any better against the run, but has already been productive as a pass rusher and is a rookie, so he can probably be expected to trend upwards as the season goes along. Davis has been solid in limited snaps, and so has Wise, I think, although he sort of plays a different position. If Guy's out there, is kind of looking like they don't have as much of a choice as to whether or not they want to stop the run.

Next week is really going to be a good test of the defense, especially since they'll have another week to gel, as it's probably a factor that something like 60% of the front seven snaps in week 1 came from guys who weren't playing here last season.
Game 1: Guy 54%; Bentley 72%; 23 carries for 74 yards
Game 2: Guy 38%; Bentley 93%; 31 carries for 152 yards

So Guy played less, Bentley played more, and the run D got worse. This could be (and likely is a case of) correlation does not equal causation. I have an irrational dislike of Bentley, and I think Guy has been one of the top 5-10 FA signings in the BB era. Hopefully Guy just needs to play himself into shape a little more and we're not looking at Alan Branch 2.0 here.
 

DJnVa

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I wonder if the quick checkdowns are in part to protect Mac physically. "We have a (series of) shitty Right Tackle(s). So take the quick throws and make sure your not getting lit up in the pocket."
My thought is more that the Pats may have told Mac that as soon as he has an open receiver, that's the throw. As he becomes comfortable, that can be expanded. Someone like Brady, when he goes through his progressions, is confident enough to bypass the first open guy he sees to see if there's something else and now he can come back to his first read.