Patriots

ESPN NFL analyst says Mac Jones’s intangibles as a rookie might be ‘the greatest we’ve ever seen from a quarterback’

"From the neck up, I'm not sure if we've ever seen a rookie that is better."

Mac Jones and the Patriots won their fifth game in a row on Thursday. MATTHEW J LEE/GLOBE STAFF

The Patriots’ defense has been a dominating force over their last few games, but it’s someone on the offense that NFL analyst Ryan Clark is calling the “greatest.”

During a segment on ESPN’s “Get Up” on Friday, Clark stated how much he thinks Mac Jones is above his rookie contemporaries.

“You have a quarterback whose dang near not allowing the football to hit the ground,” Clark said. “It looks like when you’re playing flag football and the coach’s son is the quarterback. Mac Jones is playing at an extremely high level and he’s doing everything that you need to do to win football games.”

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Clark does have a point in talking about Jones’s ability to keep the football off the ground. Jones completed 22 of 26 passes, good for an 84.6 completion percentage, in the Patriots’ win over the Falcons. That gave Jones a new season-high, surpassing the season-high he set just four days earlier against the Browns, which was 82.6 percent.

Following his two stellar completion percentage performances, Jones now has the third-best completion percentage in the league at 70.2 percent.

From a turnovers standpoint, Jones is roughly in the middle of the pack. He’s thrown eight interceptions through 11 games, with his 2.3 interception percentage ranking 19th in the league. Jones has also lost a pair of fumbles this season.

Of course, the legitimacy of how much Jones was at fault for some of his turnovers could be argued (such as his interception that bounced off Jonnu Smith’s hands against the Saints). On the flip side, there might be throws that Jones made that should have resulted in interceptions. Either way, Clark really likes Jones’s intangibles.

“Mac Jones has some stuff in him, some intangibles, that I think are maybe the greatest we’ve ever seen from a quarterback,” Clark said. “Now, it doesn’t mean he has the strongest arm. It doesn’t mean he’s the fastest. But from the neck up, I’m not sure if we’ve ever seen a rookie that is better. And it’s showing every day that he takes snaps on the field.”

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The former Steeler also dished out praise to the Patriots defense, calling them “Super Bowl-caliber” while giving the Patriots an optimistic outlook for the rest of the season.

“When you watch Bill Belichick teams, what do we always see? They are a team that ascends as the season gets closer to the end – the New England Patriots become the team playing their best. We are watching this team evolve,” Clark said. “Over the next four weeks – they’ve got two games against the Bills, they got the Titans, they got the Colts – I believe we leave that stretch of football games saying that the Patriots are top-tier contenders to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

“I believe it with my heart. I don’t want to believe it with my mind, though, because I want to be able to find it but you just cannot. This Patriots team is playing too good and this is Bill Belichick’s best coaching job of his career.”

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