Misuse and Regression of Mac Jones and How to Fix

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DropKickFlutie

DropKickFlutie

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Last year Mac ran play action 26% of the time. This season only 11%.

Completely different from the plays Zappe runs. A quarter play action. And more screens. Mostly plays under center. Mac is being asked to run crappy shotgun.

The playbook is different and for some reason Mac Jones is running the stupid 50-50 ball vertical chuck it deep offense plays that are much worse. Watch the clips, Zappe’s throws are often in max protect

Mac Jones is a Field General, being woefully misused as a vertical passer.
 
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“There's a clear distinction between how the Patriots call the game for Mac compared to rookie Bailey Zappe on first and second down. On the surface, Zappe gets a higher rate of play-action and more drop-backs from under center. But it ran even deeper than that with a side-by-side comparison on Monday night (pun intended).”

[Goes into a half dozen clearly different plays for Mac and Zappe]


We could do this all day long, with Jones quarterbacking a vertical passing offense while Zappe runs double slant-flat for easy completions and drive starters on first and second down.
Only the coaching staff and the second-year quarterback can explain why the Patriots channel their inner Bruce Arians with Mac at the helm rather than running the stuff that works.”

Excellent article by Evan Lazar:
 
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Related to how Mac Jones is regressing and is being ruined by a terrible QB coach:

“Under Joe Judge’s tutelage, the Giants finished dead last in points per game, yards per game, yards per play, and red zone offense over the past two seasons.”

 

vertigho

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Yeah, Judge shouldn't be anywhere near the QBs. I'll be pretty disheartened if he stays in that role next season. There are other places I think the assistant coaching is lacking, too. They could afford to reevaluate their staff and see about bringing in external coaches to complement and expand upon what they're doing.

As far as the offensive play-calling, Patricia has been pretty good this season. I doubt he's becoming an entirely different coordinator under Zappe, which would seem to suggest he's intentionally sabotaging Jones by calling the bad/low-percentage plays only when Jones is in the game, and then immediately figures it out once Zappe steps in and calls the "good" plays.

It seems much more likely that the play-calling is being made with the input of, and at the behest of the QB. Jones probably prefers less pre-snap motion, doesn't like turning his back on the defense with play-action, likes the downfield concepts that mirror what he did at Alabama. Zappe, on the other hand, ran an air raid offense in college and naturally will be more comfortable with shallow-crossers, stick concepts, so forth. And it's not like Zappe hasn't thrown the ball downfield - he has, and he's done it pretty good job at it.
 

chevss454

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I thought the coaches would give Mac the same efficient play calls they did for Zappe. The Bears stuffed our runs on the first 2 series so that thought was quickly abandoned, unfortunately.
 

mooseontheloose

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Not sure if it's a case of the coaches expecting Mac to be able to handle more than a rookie, or if Mac actually prefers the vertical approach. Whatever it is, the Zappe offense is miles better than the Mac offense in their current forms.
 

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Just as many of us thought going back to TC, the offensive coaching is a poop show.
 
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DropKickFlutie

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Yeah, Judge shouldn't be anywhere near the QBs. I'll be pretty disheartened if he stays in that role next season. There are other places I think the assistant coaching is lacking, too. They could afford to reevaluate their staff and see about bringing in external coaches to complement and expand upon what they're doing.

As far as the offensive play-calling, Patricia has been pretty good this season. I doubt he's becoming an entirely different coordinator under Zappe, which would seem to suggest he's intentionally sabotaging Jones by calling the bad/low-percentage plays only when Jones is in the game, and then immediately figures it out once Zappe steps in and calls the "good" plays.

It seems much more likely that the play-calling is being made with the input of, and at the behest of the QB. Jones probably prefers less pre-snap motion, doesn't like turning his back on the defense with play-action, likes the downfield concepts that mirror what he did at Alabama. Zappe, on the other hand, ran an air raid offense in college and naturally will be more comfortable with shallow-crossers, stick concepts, so forth. And it's not like Zappe hasn't thrown the ball downfield - he has, and he's done it pretty good job at it.

We’ve seen Mac uneasy in press conferences and media alluding to changes to the playbook or Mac not pleased with changes. I doubt Mac asked for the vertical offense. These were crappy changes going back to last December. It was wrong even then when people were criticizing his depth of throws and asking to force it vertically. Was wrong then too.

Give Mac the short timing patterns and multiple quick ways to beat a blitz. Not the minimum protection verticle offense he clearly isn’t good at. Give Mac the Zappe plays
 
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The Patriots shotgun offense flat out sucks. The last couple Zappe series were also mostly shotgun and Zappe was also atrocious at it, could not complete anything. Keep both QBs under center. Throw out the crappy vertical playbook and keep Mac under center. Only 11% play action for Mac right now and almost all of Mac’s passing plays are out of crappy shotgun. Ditch shotgun, it does not work. Go power run 2TE under center, not spread shotgun
 
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“According to Pro Football Focus, Zappe has yet to hit a "big-time throw" downfield. He's also averaging just 6.7 air yards per pass attempt, and 31.6% of Zappe’s drop-backs involve play-action.”


The biggest difference between the Zappe system and the Mac playbook is how often the offense has been under center and how frequently the Patriots have used play-action passes.
In the first three weeks of the season with Mac, Jones only had 11 drop-backs from under center (ten percent), and the Patriots only dialed up play-action on 10.8 percent of his throws. With Zappe, the rookie was under center on over 21% of his drop-backs with a play-action rate of 31.6. Overall, Zappe has been under-center on 48.8% of all plays, including runs, while Jones was only under center on 28.1% of his snaps including running plays.”

 
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At Alabama Mac Jones was elite at play action, RPO’s and screens. 60% of Mac’s college plays were play action, RPO, or screens. Not the vertical offense. The Pats barely call any of what Mac is good at now.

 
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Going back since preseason, Mac was openly hinting at how he did NOT like the crappy changes to the offense or for crappy vertical spread shotgun.

Boston Herald, August 2022

FOXBORO — Listening to Mac Jones week-to-week for the past month, it’s like he’s been through the five stages of grief.

What was he mourning?

The old offense.”


Fire Matt Patricia, Evan Rothstein, and Joe Judge. Bring back Bill O’Brien next year.
 
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Mac Jones 2021 NextGen passing chart. Mac is elite passing it under 10 yards. Mac is a field general not a strong armed vertical passer. The moronic offensive staff keeps pushing for spread shotgun 20+ vertical throws when Mac Jones is not good at it. Keep throws short and quick, with a heavy emphasis to throws under 10 yards
 
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Article and source:

Pats had the least play action calls for Mac in the entire league after the first couple Sept games

Meanwhile…

With shorter throws and more play-action, Bailey Zappe is looking a lot like last year’s Mac Jones

 
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