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How Mac Jones and the Patriots offense will be forced to confront their biggest weakness Sunday – Boston Herald


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The NFL challenged no quarterback last season quite like it challenged Mac Jones.

Jones faced the highest rate of man-to-man coverage among starters, according to Sports Info. Solutions; a stat that screams one thing: prove it.

Prove you’re as accurate as advertised, kid. To his receivers, prove you can separate. And to the Pats offense as a whole, prove you can win 1-on-1. No tricks, no deception, no special schemes.

Line up and play good old fashioned, man-on-man football.

Despite fielding a top-10 scoring offense last year, the Patriots largely failed that test.

Against man coverage, Jones’ completion percentage dropped 10 points, and his passer rating sunk to 79.2, good for 19th among the 27 quarterbacks who attempted at least 100 passes versus man-to-man. Jones was also pressured on 34.8% of his dropbacks, as opponents blitzed him like he was playing on a bum wheel with one eye closed.

Defensive coordinators were happy to apply pressure, too. The Colts, who finished with one of the NFL’s lowest blitz rates last year at 20.2%, sent extra rushers on almost one-third of Jones’ dropbacks in a late-season win. Then the zone-heavy Bills ditched their preferred coverage formula to pound Jones and Co. the next week and later in January. Sandwiched between those Buffalo defeats was another division blow dealt by the Dolphins, who won the regular-season finale, 33-24.


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