A High Level Study Of Mac Jones' Game

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Put together by Matt Waldman and Mark Schofield during the time Mac was reported to be going to the 9ers.
Waldman is a little dry to listen to but he knows his stuff. He's been doing this for many years.

Click the link to get his full scouting video, Cosell style.


Mark Schofield and Matt Waldman examine several plays from Mac Jones’ portfolio of work and begin to wonder if the more apt comparison for Jones isn’t Peyton Manning.

Mark Schofield has Jones as his fifth-ranked quarterback and I have him third on [my] board. Both have him graded as a player capable of starting in the NFL, but there was a point that I had Jones as my No.1 quarterback after two of his first three rounds of film study.

After reviewing close 20 minutes of plays that Mark and I compiled for this show—15 minutes of it 3rd-and-long and 4th-and-long situations—I left this episode with two prevailing thoughts:
  1. Is Jones really a high-functioning baker along the continuum of Tom Brady or more of a [high-functioning] chef like Peyton Manning?
  2. Is Jones actually underrated despite the consensus believing he’s being overrated as potentially the third quarterback taken in this rich class of passers?
Here’s what we discussed during this hour-long show that should help viewers getter a better feel for this rookie prospect who could go as high as third overall in the 2021 NFL Draft:
  • Jones consistently delivers passes with excellent placement against tight coverage despite the narrative that he rarely has to target tight coverage.
  • Jones’ pocket presence might be the best of the quarterbacks in this class.
    • He understands how to preempt pressure with his movement.
    • He maneuvers with the pocket with timeliness and efficiency.
    • He will take big hits to deliver an accurate throw.
  • Jones is more creative and quicker to adapt to unexpected events than he might be characterized.
  • Jones moves a lot like Manning has an aggressive demeanor as a field general.
  • He displays the hips and footwork to make accurate throws of third and fourth reads at the opposite side of the field.
  • Jones’ anticipation and placement make him the most dangerous red-zone thrower of this class.
  • His play-action and drop game make him an underrated player with misdirection concepts that mesh well with Kyle Shanahan’s schemes even if he’s not the most mobile passer.
  • He can work outside the pocket and keep his eyes downfield.
Most evaluators underrate quarterbacks like Jones because they lack the elite arm talent and physical upside that’s easier to project. Jones has more than enough arm strength for the league but it’s far more difficult to project whether his conceptual acumen is at its ceiling because he’s already showing a lot in this area.

I don’t think Jones has reached his ceiling. In fact, I wonder if he isn’t the best quarterback in this class. At the very least, I think he’s closer than most think.
 
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I watched this breakdown of game film by Kurt Warner.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFNLPM2o6E4


I really like how well Jones understands defenses and looks and can go through his progressions and I really like how he can use his brain to make good choices AND to do the subtle things a QB needs to to give his guys the edge. Stuff like moving his eyes/head to misdirect a safety, getting them to bite before he goes where he really wants to with the football. I'm no expert, but maybe Alabama's receivers were so wide open a lot of the time because Jones' actions helped give them that extra half step? If anyone with better knowledge on the subject can tell from this film please I'd love to know.

The only thing I don't like about Jones that I've seen so far are his mechanics. I got spoiled watching the 🐐 and his incredible mechanics. I'd like to see Jones keep his shoulders more aimed on his target when he throws, he has a tendency to be sort of halfway between that and outright facing his target when he throws, not allowing him to get a full follow-through and that extra little zip that makes a difference at NFL speed.

There are great videos on youtube about Tom and his mechanics.

 
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You should watch and listen to what Waldman has to say in the link in the OP
 

Mazz22

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Good stuff here. Thanks.

Lombardi thinks Jones will be red-shirted this year. Here are this thoughts which are interesting and probably correct.

When the Patriots selected Mac Jones with the No. 15 overall pick in the NFL Draft, they declared him their quarterback of the future.

But, when that actually will begin is still to be determined.

“Cam’s [Newton] our quarterback,” Bill Belichick said last Thursday night. “Whatever time Jarrett (Stidham) or Mac are ready to challenge him and compete, we’ll see how that goes. Right now, for Mac, he’s got a lot of learning in front of him, and I know he’s very anxious to get going with it and get started.”

This was classic Belichick. Jones was getting a ton of hype in the media and he wanted to calm the masses. At the same time, by doing so he took some of the pressure off Jones and stayed committed to Newton, who was re-signed to a one-year deal this offseason.

But when should we expect to see Jones take over as the starting quarterback?

According to Mike Lombardi, it won’t be until 2022.

“I think it is a year,” he said on The GM Shuffle podcast over the weekend. “Look, they are going to coach the [expletive] out of him. They are going to get him in there. He’s going to be smart as hell. Look, here is what you have to do to play quarterback for the Patriots: You have to have great intelligence. You have to have really great anticipation with the football. And you have to be deadly accurate. Those are the three things Mac Jones does. Now, Mac Jones can’t run the power out of shotgun. Mac Jones isn’t going to run the quarterback sweep. There’s going to be two different offenses here, but they are going to be the same passing game. This is what I think people disconnect a little bit here. The passing game will be the same for Cam and it will be the same for Mac Jones.

“… I think Mac Jones will take a redshirt year. He’s going to have to prove it. The one thing Belichick is not going to do, he’s not going to give anybody a job whether he picks them 15 or he picks them 1,500. They are going to have to earn it. Mac Jones is going to have to go in there and earn it. I think it will be a great quarterback room for them. I think they have great competition in the room and we’ll see what he can do. They will get a chance to really develop him and allow him to work on his craft, and really get him ready to play.”


This isn’t a popular opinion since it means another year of Newton as the Patriots’ starting quarterback and Jones was reportedly ready to start for San Francisco if it selected him No. 3 overall. But, the reality is this would make the most sense for the Patriots.

The Jones selection was made more so for the long-term than 2021. It’s about getting the most out of him and staying patient could maximize what that turns out to be since starting him too soon could potentially harm his development.

It would seem in almost every scenario Newton would start Week 1, as that’s how things go in the NFL. Unless a QB is a top three pick, more often than not they do not start right away. Just look at Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa last year. Both players ultimately took over as starters during the year, but that scenario may be tough to pull off in New England.

Having Newton as the starter is different than Miami having Ryan Fitzpatrick and Los Angeles having Tyrod Taylor. Newton is one of the more popular players in the league and is already putting in the time this offseason with his new teammates both with private workouts and attending the voluntary offseason workout program.

How would the locker room react to Newton being demoted in the middle of the season? It’s certainly worth asking as last year Belichick stuck with him all year and one of the reported reasons was how it would have been perceived in the locker room if he were to be benched.

And then why would a change take place if the team was say 6-1 and rolling? And at the same time, if the team was 2-5 turning things over to Jones would put a ton of pressure on the rookie to get things back on track. That probably wouldn't be worth it, either.

Making Jones the starter in the middle of the season just feels like a tough thing to pull off, which is why it makes sense to treat it like a redshirt year, as Lombardi suggested.

It wouldn’t be the first time a team has done it and it’s worked out.

The Chiefs did it in 2017 with Patrick Mahomes when Alex Smith was the starter. Sure, it was a little different considering Smith led Kansas City to the playoffs a year before, but it traded up for Mahomes at No. 10 overall and still didn’t feel pressured to make him the starter in Year 1.

The Patriots should look to that as a model for how to handle Jones in Year 1. Perhaps Belichick should get some intel from close friend Andy Reid on how he was able to get Mahomes the experience he needed on the practice field to develop chemistry with starters as the backup, as well as in the meeting rooms to be ready to start games the following year.

Jones could very well be ready to start games this season, but it’s better for his long-term future with the organization for him to be more than ready when he makes his first start. Last year with Newton it was clear the offense takes time to learn and that was with a former MVP who had nine years of NFL experience. It likely will be even harder for a rookie, so it makes sense to be as patient as possible and use the 2021 season to make sure Jones is as comfortable as can be.

And as it relates to the 2021 team, how much better would things really be with Jones over Newton? Is it the difference between getting to the playoffs and not? No, the team is built to get to the postseason even with Newton as the quarterback. It’s not like the Patriots are positioned to win the Super Bowl in 2021 and need Jones to get them over the top.

Holding Jones back in 2021 isn’t the worst thing for the organization to do.

Belichick has always had the motto of it’s better to get rid of a player a year early opposed to a year too late. Well, in the case of Jones it’s better to start a quarterback a year late opposed to a year too early.

 
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I suppose Lombardi could be right. But BB will play whichever QB is absorbing the play book & playing better in practice. That could be any one of the 3.
I'm not ready to toss JStidham away just yet either. The kid had a disadvantageous start. I want to see more.
No one can say right now with any certainty who will be starting when week 7 or week 17 gets here. The only thing we think we know is that Cam will be the
starter week 1 if he's healthy.
 

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I suppose Lombardi could be right. But BB will play whichever QB is absorbing the play book & playing better in practice. That could be any one of the 3.
I'm not ready to toss JStidham away just yet either. The kid had a disadvantageous start. I want to see more.
No one can say right now with any certainty who will be starting when week 7 or week 17 gets here. The only thing we think we know is that Cam will be the
starter week 1 if he's healthy.
I agree. Step one is for Jones to beat out Stidham which is not a small task. Stidham is entering his third year in the system which already puts him light years ahead of Jones. But if Jones can beat him out for #2 then I think that is good progression and then we see how the season plays out and if he can surpass Newton at some point.
 

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I can't stand Cam, but all I wanted from this offseason was a future, I wasn't looking to try to win right now (though I wouldn't be unhappy if we did obv)

Now that we have that future I'm perfectly fine being patient. There's a famous saying in the world of video games "A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad." I feel the same is true of quarterbacks in the NFL. A delayed QB is eventually good, but a rushed QB is forever bad.
 

Hawg73

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Ideally, almost all rookie QBs, particularly those like Mac who didn't start 3 or more full seasons, should never get thrown into the starting lineup right away. That is especially true with a system like ours that demands the QB be the Ringmaster for all the sight and route adjustments that take place prior to and during the play. It's a lot to ask of a first-year player.

A very big question is if Cam can play at a significantly higher level than he did last season. If he can't and Mac makes great progress with the playbook and passes every test along the way then I won't be shocked if Jones is given the nod at some point during the season, but, no, I don't expect that is plan A. I also think Mac will demonstrate an unusual early competency that will put put some heat on Newton. Yes, we will likely be having a QB controversy before long and Belichick's pressers are going to be epic.

Stidham is not out of the mix, either. Assuming he sticks on the roster, I wouldn't be shocked if he gets a chance. Just because he did not get a start last year, when everybody figured he would, doesn't mean Bill has crossed him off his list. I don't believe he would do that without seeing what he could do with practice reps and game plans designed around what he can do and that hasn't happened yet.
 
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Compare Matt Waldman's assessment of Mac Jones in the link above with Evan Lazar's study assessment. These 2 see the details that make him a great prospect.
There's a lot of things to like about him even though many pundits haven't caught the nuances in Jones' game that these 2 recognize and point out.
He's better than advertised - he's not just a product of the great weapons at Bama.

 

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Compare Matt Waldman's assessment of Mac Jones in the link above with Evan Lazar's study assessment. These 2 see the details that make him a great prospect.
There's a lot of things to like about him even though many pundits haven't caught the nuances in Jones' game that these 2 recognize and point out.
He's better than advertised - he's not just a product of the great weapons at Bama.


I think there is sort of a bias against Jones because he is not considered a premium athlete, but primarily because the things he does at an unusual level of excellence for a college QB are difficult or impossible to measure and quantify.

Scouts and personnel people are in the business of identifying future NFL players, but, first, they are primarily interested in keeping their jobs which is why, much like in Real Estate,
"comps" are necessary to make supportable value judgements. I keep hearing that game film is 70% of a prospects' evaluation, but I don't really buy that or Jones should never have been the 5th ranked guy. I feel like Mac is unusual enough that it's safer for people in that line of work to take a skeptical view of his chances based on his lack of timed speed or other numbers used to identify athletes. Many probably hope he's going to be a so-so player because it would be far more difficult to pound the table for a player like him than a great athlete "that can throw a 50 yard dime from his knees" -- not that anybody is ever going to be required to do that in a game.

As an aside, I keep hearing that his arm is weak, but I've seen him throw a ton of long, accurate passes that certainly appeared to have plenty of zip on them. Where is the metric that can tell me that I'm wrong? Has anybody seen radar data saying that his passes travel, say, 22MPH slower than Trey Lance? There is a lot of subjectivity that comes into play on that topic and I find the "weak arm" talk to be way off in his case.

I would've been rooting for Mac to make it big in the NFL even if we didn't draft him, but, since we did (I'm still on a high about that) I want him to change the paradigm that now exists. Maybe a few years down the road some kid will be compared to Jones for superior judgement, timing, anticipation and accuracy. It's believe that stuff is more relevant than how well a guy throws going to his left while wearing shorts.
 

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I want him to change the paradigm that now exists. Maybe a few years down the road some kid will be compared to Jones for superior judgement, timing, anticipation and accuracy. It's believe that stuff is more relevant than how well a guy throws going to his left while wearing shorts.
If Brady did not change it, no one will. Like you said, the traits that really matter are imperceptible to the naked eye. People actually watched Brady this past post-season win again and still believe they see a guy that is just not that talented. And this after 20 years! Of course Jones being selected at 15 is due to Brady given we drafted Jones because we do value those things. So maybe it has been broken somewhat by Brady.

I am certainly hoping Jones does break it more than Brady even did but it is seriously doubtful as today's NFL is going so athletic at the position and really at every position. It is all about dynamic playing and scoring because it drives viewership and ratings. I could care less as I enjoy winning more but style points matter the most in today's league. And if I am being honest, I do enjoy watching Mahomes play and Rodgers. And I think Zach Wilson is going to be dynamite too with his arm talent.
 
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I think there is sort of a bias against Jones because he is not considered a premium athlete, but primarily because the things he does at an unusual level of excellence for a college QB are difficult or impossible to measure and quantify.

Scouts and personnel people are in the business of identifying future NFL players, but, first, they are primarily interested in keeping their jobs which is why, much like in Real Estate,
"comps" are necessary to make supportable value judgements. I keep hearing that game film is 70% of a prospects' evaluation, but I don't really buy that or Jones should never have been the 5th ranked guy. I feel like Mac is unusual enough that it's safer for people in that line of work to take a skeptical view of his chances based on his lack of timed speed or other numbers used to identify athletes. Many probably hope he's going to be a so-so player because it would be far more difficult to pound the table for a player like him than a great athlete "that can throw a 50 yard dime from his knees" -- not that anybody is ever going to be required to do that in a game.

As an aside, I keep hearing that his arm is weak, but I've seen him throw a ton of long, accurate passes that certainly appeared to have plenty of zip on them. Where is the metric that can tell me that I'm wrong? Has anybody seen radar data saying that his passes travel, say, 22MPH slower than Trey Lance? There is a lot of subjectivity that comes into play on that topic and I find the "weak arm" talk to be way off in his case.

I would've been rooting for Mac to make it big in the NFL even if we didn't draft him, but, since we did (I'm still on a high about that) I want him to change the paradigm that now exists. Maybe a few years down the road some kid will be compared to Jones for superior judgement, timing, anticipation and accuracy. It's believe that stuff is more relevant than how well a guy throws going to his left while wearing shorts.
Yes, I agree.
I posted those 2 assessments bc some of the people here are non-believers and I wanted them to see the other side of Jones.
Smarts and judgement don't show up readily unless you're looking for it and even then you have to know what you're looking for to be able to recognize it.
My feeling all along is that he's the smartest and most NFL ready of all the QBs with Fields coming in a distant 2nd.
Jones is a smart guy and he's made himself football smart by studying a lot of film of Brady and Brees. He's also learned to recognize defenses. That's not new. He's been doing it since high school. That's why he hits me as being NFL ready. Now, when I say that I don't mean BB/Josh McD NFL ready; I don't mean to imply that bc their standards involve being proficient enough to face the NFL and not just ready.
My hope is that we will stop reading posts that claim he has a weak arm, can't throw off platform and he can't do this or that. It's bullshit. The kid can play the game effectively.
 

foobahl

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What TF is can't throw off platform. Is this some BS new age term used to describe qbs who can't move in the pocket? Call it off platform instead of saying the qb has no pocket awareness?
 
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What TF is can't throw off platform. Is this some BS new age term used to describe qbs who can't move in the pocket? Call it off platform instead of saying the qb has no pocket awareness?

In the olden days it was called scrambling. LOL
 

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What TF is can't throw off platform. Is this some BS new age term used to describe qbs who can't move in the pocket? Call it off platform instead of saying the qb has no pocket awareness?

Yeah, back in the day that was considered a flaw. Now it's considered a plus because the QB bails and shows his escapability. :rolleyes:
 

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What TF is can't throw off platform. Is this some BS new age term used to describe qbs who can't move in the pocket? Call it off platform instead of saying the qb has no pocket awareness?
We saw Patrick Mahomes make a lot of off-platform throws in the Super Bowl, trying to hit receivers who had broken off their routes and were scrambling to find open spots. Very athletic, very unpredictable, very exciting. Very inefficient.

In that same game we saw his opponent remain in the pocket and hit his receivers in stride while they were running their routes. Simple. Boring. Effective.
 

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After watching Lazar's video analysis, I can see why scout and analysts rated him downward. Not a single highlight reel throw in a 40-minute video! No super-tight window throws. To some it means receivers must be open for Jones to complete a pass. What Lazar described was manipulating the defense and doing quick reads and rapid decision making and throwing to the open man. And in a couple of the plays, throwing the man open.

Brady has been called a system QB and dink-and-dunk passe from the beginning. No one except Pats fans and a some analysts saw that decision making, accurate throws, and reading the defense, not 70-yards-in-the-air passes, was what made Brady so good, what is between his ears. That was the real basis of his success, and analysts aren't going to change their minds now. They still don't make the connection that Brady's biggest attribute was his brain.

Jones isn't likely to be the next Brady, but he has a better shot to be the next Patriots franchise QB than I thought, and I already thought very highly of him. Time will tell, and I hope he sits until 2022, but I have high hopes.
 

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We saw Patrick Mahomes make a lot of off-platform throws in the Super Bowl, trying to hit receivers who had broken off their routes and were scrambling to find open spots. Very athletic, very unpredictable, very exciting. Very inefficient.

In that same game we saw his opponent remain in the pocket and hit his receivers in stride while they were running their routes. Simple. Boring. Effective.
Football is always simplest when the QB can drop back, make the right read, and make an accurate throw. It is insanely difficult to do as consistently and clutch as Brady has done it but that is the best path to winning AND it also keeps the QB from getting hit/injured.
 

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What TF is can't throw off platform. Is this some BS new age term used to describe qbs who can't move in the pocket? Call it off platform instead of saying the qb has no pocket awareness?
Its the same as Brady is a baker and Peyton is a chef. :coffee: This is why I do not read this stuff. We will find out what he is when or if he plays just like all other players. He seems to have traits that are successful in the NFL, which is not throwing 60 yards from a knee or running a 4.4 40. He is a QB that pre reads snaps and defenses, gets rid of the ball quick and takes advantage of situations, now if he can do that consistently which is the key, then he will be the next great pats QB.
 
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