FOXBORO — In April, the Patriots secured the services of former Miami Dolphins’ receiver DeVante Parker, via a rare intra-divisional trade with their AFC East rivals. New England sent a third-round selection in the 2023 draft to the Dolphins, in exchange for Parker and a fifth-round selection in 2022.
While the addition of a player of Parker’s talent and experience immediately upgrades New England’s positional grouping, Patriots fandom became increasingly intrigued by the potential pairing of he and quarterback Mac Jones for 2022 and beyond.
Much to the delight of Patriots Nation, both the quarterback and the wideout seem to be finding their stride in Week 3.
While New England’s offense has been off to a slow start through two games of the season, the Patriots aerial attack returned to basics of timing-based, predicated on vertical routes and completions from quick, accurate throws against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
Having top wideout Jakobi Meyers out with a knee injury, Parker has been Jones’ top receiver against Baltimore.
Jones has connected with Parker on five catches for 156 yards, the longest of which going for a 40-yard completion. Their 25-yard third quarter collaboration nearly went for a touchdown.
During his time at Alabama, Jones was quite proficient at running this type of offense. With a strong supporting cast of playmakers around him, Jones was able to create plays by leading his receivers under the defense, releasing the ball quickly and delivering it accurately. This gave his playmakers the space they needed to catch and run with the football.
It is in this area where the Jones-Parker relationship may grow to be a beautiful friendship.
Parker is the type of receiver who can thrive in New England’s timing-based offense. He has the size and toughness to make contested catches, while giving Jones a viable red zone target at the receiver position. In addition, Parker is showing promise when gaining yards after the catch, a trait which Jones values in his receivers.
The new Pats wideout has averaged 14 yards-per-reception throughout his career. In fact, he has never averaged fewer than 11 yards-per-reception in any of his seven seasons in the league. He is showing that ability on Sunday.
Through just under three quarters of play in Week 3, the DeVante-Mac connection is exciting fans in Foxboro; despite a third-quarter interception in which Jones tried to find Parker, and ended up connecting with Ravens defensive back Josh Bynes instead.
Unfortunately, the Pats and Ravens are locked in a battle in Foxboro. The Ravens hold a 28-20 lead after quarterback Lamar Jackson connected with receiver Devin Duvernay on a back-end-zone strike with 4:41 left to play in the third quarter. A 56-yard field goal from Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker extended Baltimore’s lead to 31-20, off the Jones interception to Bynes.
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