Patriots

Mac Jones shares a similar trait to Tom Brady, according to a Hall of Famer

"I think he possesses everything you need to win in the NFL."

Mac Jones is still drawing comparisons to Tom Brady. AP Photo/Ashley Landis

In the leadup to the 2021 NFL Draft, multiple analysts and scouts compared Mac Jones to Tom Brady.

With an NFL season under his belt, Jones is still drawing Brady comparisons — and not just because he also plays quarterback for the Patriots. Pro Football Hall of Famer and “Monday Night Football” analyst Troy Aikman told ESPN’s Mike Reiss that Jones has something in common with one of the game’s greatest of all time.

“I like Mac Jones; I really do. I think he possesses everything you need to win in the NFL. He’s a lot like Tom [Brady] that way, which has not been a surprise as to why he ended up in New England,” Aikman told Reiss.

Aikman’s quote to Reiss isn’t the first time that he’s heaped a tremendous amount of praise on Jones. In the midst of the Patriots’ seven-game winning during Jones’s rookie season, Aikman said during a game that he called between New England and Atlanta that Bill Belichick has his “new signal caller for the next, 15, 18 years.”

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“Yeah he does an excellent job for a young player of getting through his progressions,” Aikman said of Jones during the Fox broadcast of last November’s Patriots-Falcons game. “And a lot of times, you can fool a young quarterback and give some different looks and when you watch a young guy, there’s more than once in a ball game where you say, ‘I don’t know about that throw,’ but not with Mac Jones. I mean, he sees it very well.

“You can tell that he was really well-coached. I think we talked about it last week Joe [Buck]. Steve Sarkisian, who had been the coordinator there in Alabama prior to taking the head coaching job at the University of Texas, just did a really fine job with a lot of these receivers. And it’s obvious he did the same here with Mac Jones because he just plays beyond his years for it to be so early in his career.”

A big part of the coaching staff from Jones’s rookie season is no longer in New England. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels left his post with the Patriots to become the head coach of the Raiders. New England never named a replacement, with Matt Patricia appearing to be the offensive playcaller while Joe Judge was brought on to be the quarterbacks coach.

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Aikman expressed some concern for Jones and the Patriots to Reiss on the departure of McDaniels, but also gave confidence that Belichick could be the right person to steer the ship after losing an offensive coordinator.

“I will say, and Bill knows this, I think offensive coordinator is the hardest job in football,” Aikman said. “I think it’s the most demanding job. They’re hard to find. There’s not a lot of great ones. There’s a lot of them that have titles, but there’s not a lot of great offensive minds.

“I had a chance to play for a couple of the best who have done it [Ernie Zampese, Norv Turner]. Man, when you get that playcaller, and they’re in sync with the quarterback, it’s like being in step with a dance partner. It’s the greatest feeling in the world. So I do think they’re going to miss Josh. Maybe they already do. But if anyone can overcome that, obviously it’s Bill. He’s the best to have ever done it.”

The early returns haven’t been too promising for Jones and the Patriots’ offense in the post-McDaniels era. New England struggled to move the ball with its starters on the field going up against Carolina and Las Vegas’ backups in two preseason games, scoring just twice in seven drives. The Patriots also struggled on offense for much of training camp, too.

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Aikman acknowledged that the change could be uncomfortable for Jones.

“It seemed like him and Josh had a really great relationship,” Aikman told Reiss. “And that becomes hard because there’s so much that happens within a game, within a practice; there’s frustration, the quarterback’s taking the heat, they’re not doing this — to have a guy you can really confide in, there’s so much to that relationship that doesn’t show up on a stat sheet or even on game day. That’s going to be a hard position to fill, and a hard position for Mac to get comfortable.”

Jones was arguably the best rookie quarterback last season while working under McDaniels’s tutelage, throwing for 3,801 yards, 22 touchdowns, and a 92.5 passer rating — which were all the best among first-year quarterbacks.

Year 2 for Jones officially begins a week from Sunday when he and the Patriots head to South Beach to take on the Dolphins in the regular-season opener.

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