Patriots

Chargers coach Brandon Staley praises Mac Jones’s decision-making, credits Bill Belichick for offensive coaching

The Patriots face the Chargers on Sunday.

Mitchell Leff
Bill Belichick and Mac Jones are 3-4 in their first seven games togehter.

A week after demolishing the Jets, 54-13, Mac Jones and the Patriots head west on Sunday for a much tougher matchup as they take on the Los Angeles Chargers.

Just like Jones in his rookie season, Chargers first-year coach Brandon Staley is off to an impressive start this season. Los Angeles is 4-2 through its first six games under Staley, who’s led his team to strong wins over the Chiefs, Raiders, and Browns and has the Chargers sitting among the top teams in the AFC.

As Staley’s received a lot of praise for the start of his NFL head coaching career, he’s dishing it out similar praise to Jones for how well the quarterback has played to start his career.

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“I see a guy that’s an outstanding decision-maker,” Staley told reporters Thursday. “I think his processing is at a premium for a young quarterback; you can really see that he can see the game. I know the way they play on offense, they ask a lot of that position. You can tell that he can process at a high level because of the type of plays they’re running. They’re running a lot of premium-type offensive plays that you would think a more experienced quarterback would have.

“He has that kind of command over their system, and I think he has really good anticipation as a thrower. I think that’s a big asset of him just as a pure passer — he has great anticipation and his ball placement is outstanding. He’s got real toughness for the position. You can see when he’s in tight pockets that he’s willing to hang tough and play the way you’re supposed to play.”

As Staley notes, Jones’s accuracy is among the best in the league. He’s fourth in the league in completion percentage at 70.4 percent. Jones does have six interceptions through seven games, but half of them came in the Patriots’ Week 3 loss to the Saints.

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In terms of anticipation, Jones is also one of the quickest quarterbacks in terms of how long it takes for him to throw the ball. Jones averages 2.64 seconds to throw the ball after the snap (excluding sacks), tied for the fifth-best in the league, per Next Gen Stats.

Staley believes Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is part of the reason for Jones’s early success. He also believes Belichick, who has a defensive background as a coach, doesn’t get as much shine as he should for how he coaches on the opposite side of the ball.

“He’s an outstanding offensive coach,” Staley said. “I think that’s something he doesn’t get enough credit for. He’s an outstanding offensive coach, defensive coach, and special teams coach. That’s why they’ve played the way they’ve played up there for so long; because he’s a complete coach. That’s something I’m trying to be. If I had to say the biggest takeaway from him, for me, is that he’s a complete coach.”

Staley is also a coach with a defensive background. He was the Rams’ defensive coordinator in 2020 and in the year prior, he was on the Broncos’ coaching staff as the outside linebackers coach.

Belichick showed his versatility as a coach in last season’s matchup between the Patriots and Chargers. New England dominated in all three facets of the game, including scoring two special teams touchdowns, en route to a 45-0 win.

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