Patriots

Boomer Esiason: Patriots’ Mac Jones will be ‘fine’ despite rough Week 3

The former NFL quarterback-turned-analyst said the three-interception game is "part of the maturation process" for the Patriots rookie.

Mac Jones Patriots
Mac Jones's ability to deal with pressure is a positive trait of his, according to Drew Brees. Matthew J Lee/Globe staff
Recent Links

If we’re being fair, Patriots quarterback Mac Jones didn’t get a ton of support from his offense in Sunday’s loss to the New Orleans Saints.

The rookie passer took a lot of hits against the aggressive Saints front, including seven in the first half before the Patriots altogether abandoned their run game. His tight ends and receivers dropped passes. His best skill player to this point, James White, got knocked out of the game in the second quarter with what could be a serious hip injury.

But Jones also tossed his first three interceptions of 2021, including one that got returned for a touchdown (though it wasn’t his fault), and seemed to take the loss extremely hard at the end of the game.

Advertisement:

Though he also threw his second touchdown pass of the year, things are (predictably) not going as smoothly for the No. 15 overall pick as they did when he dominated at Alabama last year.

However, former NFL quarterback and CBS analyst Boomer Esiason said there’s no reason for alarm where Jones is concerned.

“Everybody’s just gotta calm down,” the former Cincinnati Bengals star said of Jones. “I’m telling you, these rookie quarterbacks all through the league, every single one of them struggled yesterday. Some looked so bad and so lost that they really don’t have any business being on the field, because I don’t think they can protect themselves and I don’t think their teams are good enough to support them.”

Though Jones has come under some scrutiny of his hesitance at times to push the ball down the field — he did attempt 12 passes longer than 20 yards Sunday but only completed one — it’s not hard to argue he’s better off than most of the first-round quarterbacks that have played thus far.

Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, the first two picks in the 2021 draft, are vying for the league lead in interceptions with seven apiece.

Advertisement:

Justin Fields, who went four spots ahead of Jones in the draft, got pummeled by the Cleveland Browns in his first start with the Chicago Bears, who are almost certainly going to fire their coaching staff and general manager at least by the end of the year.

All three of those rookie quarterbacks are playing for bad teams. The Patriots, at least on paper, aren’t close to that bad. Esiason says he thinks New England can win between seven and 10 games, though he said Bill Belichick will have to “coach his ass off” to get to that best-case scenario.

Through it all, the analyst said he believes Jones will emerge stronger from games like this as the season goes on, even as he takes each loss with “a heavy heart.”

“He’ll be at the facility very early this morning, going over tape with Josh [McDaniels] and trying to figure out what he can do better next week,” the analyst said. “I know that Mac will put this one behind him and he’ll immediately turn his attention to the Tampa Bay Buccaneer defense. That’s just going to be the scope of what he has to learn.

Advertisement:

“He’s fine. He’s mentally tough enough to handle this. I can’t express enough just how difficult this is for these rookie quarterbacks with everything coming at them for the first time. Getting hit, dealing with the anxiety, picking yourself back up, learning from your losses, and trying to apply it to the next game. This is part of the maturation process of all young players, especially quarterbacks.”

Jump To Comments

Conversation

This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com