Former University of Alabama quarterback Mac Jones got some social-media support from an unlikely person this week, former LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu.
The Honey Badger called out the critics and naysayers who appear to have suddenly jumped on the Jones bandwagon after he helped lead the New England Patriots to a 45-7 dismantling of the Cleveland Browns.
Jones was 19-for-23 passing for 198 yards and three touchdowns.
“Mac Jones wasn’t trendy enough for y’all at first huh now y’all love him…Man, y’all funny!!!” Mathieu said. “Day in and day out!!! Y’all should be on Comedy Central.
“He don’t throw side arm or run fast so people knocked him,” the Chiefs’ do-it-all defender added. “Dude can play QB! Period.”
Mathieu probably couldn't help himself with the comment. If Jones continues to play like this, and the Patriots continue to win, the quarterback will probably be the main challenger to former LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase receiver for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
The Bengals standout, who has Joe Burrow throwing to him, has 44 catches, 835 yards and seven touchdowns.
Nevertheless, Jones has stood out among the five first-round quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft even though he was selected last among Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance (who went 1-2-3) and Justin Fields (11th).
Falling to the team that was probably perfect for him, Jones tops them all with 2,333 passing yards, 13 touchdown passes and an 94.1 passer rating. He's posted those numbers despite not throwing downfield much, and coaches bringing him along in a way that has clearly worked.
He's not making the transition from being comfortable running the offense, and is beginning to excel.
The real difference, though, is he has his team on pace to make the playoffs. Having won four straight, New England is on target to be the No. 6 seed in the AFC.
Even more impressive has been the way Jones has handled himself. If being a starting quarterback in the NFL didn't out enough pressure on him, being called the Second Coming of Tom Brady is something a lot of players couldn't handle.
Like with any rookie in the league there have been some growing pains, but if Jones has flinched it hasn't been obvious. Even when the Panthers took issue with the way he made a tackle two weeks ago, it obviously didn't affect him during his next game against the Browns.
“That's the NFL for all of us," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "We all deal with things every week and Mac has done a good job of it. So has everybody else. We all learn. As I said, there's different challenges every week from each and every team and every situation. So just do the best we can with them.
"Yeah, he's done a good job.”
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