Well it’s happening Patriots fans. Mac Jones is officially a New England Patriot. The Patriots needed a quarterback and they went out and got one. Mac Jones was who New England wanted all along. Ironically, this is where Mac Jones was hoping to go. It makes sense considering that Jones is coming from Alabama where coach Nick Saban runs a similar system to Patriots coach Bill Belichick. But, how did New England determine that Jones was worth the 15th overall selection? What kind of career did he have at Alabama?
Jones’ career didn’t truly begin until week 8 against Arkansas. Jones was given the start for the first time in his career and he excelled. In his first career start, he went 18 for 22 with 235 yards and three touchdowns. That’s a great way to start off his career. The following week, Jones sat and watched his team suffer a heartbreaking loss to Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers. That game against LSU would be the last time Jones wouldn’t play.
In the second quarter against Mississippi State, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa took a shot to the hip which would result in a season ending injury for Tua. Jones would come in and give Alabama the win 38-7. Jones would only throw for 98 yards. At the time, this was concerning but Jones would silence all his doubters. The following week Alabama faced Western Carolina in a game where the Crimson Tide were heavily favored. Jones and company won this game with ease with a final score of 66-3.
Jones’ first real test came against the Auburn Tigers in the Iron Bowl. Entering this game, Auburn was 15th in the nation and looking to break the hearts of the Crimson Tide. Jones lived up to expectations despite Auburn beating Alabama. Jones went 26 for 39, threw for 335 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. To wrap up the season, Jones would carry Alabama to a Citrus Bowl win against Michigan.
The 2020-2021 season was just all around historic and entertaining for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Mac Jones was named the starting quarterback and he was the perfect choice. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, this season wasn’t normal, just like everything else when it comes to the Pandemic. The SEC announced that there would be no non-conference games. So that meant that if Alabama wanted to go the distance and be champions, they would have to face SEC teams only, which isn’t easy. But, of course the Crimson Tide made it look easy.
In week two, Jones exploded throwing for a regular season high 435 yards against Texas A&M. Jones didn’t hold back and he sent a message to the rest of college football showing that he’s legit. On top of the 435 yards, he also threw four touchdowns and one interception. This was a near perfect game.
Week four presented a challenge on paper. Alabama faced third ranked Georgia. This was a rare early season two vs three matchup. On this day, Jones and the Crimson Tide got the best of Georgia to improve to 4-0 on the season. Jones went 24-32, throwing for 417 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. That interception was Jones’ second of the season. After this game, Jones’ touchdown total was 12. To have 12 touchdowns and only two interceptions, not a bad way to start the season.
Iron Bowl revenge
Coming into this game, Alabama is undefeated at 7-0. Mac Jones has had his way with just about every defense in the SEC and Alabama looks unstoppable. Unstoppable is the correct word to describe Jones and the Crimson Tide in the Iron Bowl. They looked for revenge against 22nd ranked Auburn who had beat them in the previous season. Jones had his way with the Auburn secondary as he went 18 for 26,. throwing for 302 yards and five touchdowns. It looked like the Heisman trophy was going to come down to Jones versus his teammate DeVonta Smith.
The Semi-Final Playoff
Alabama would finish the regular season undefeated. Jones’ final stats in the regular season were 250-327 throwing for 32 touchdowns, four interceptions and 3,739 yards. That’s the statline Jones brought with him to the College Football Playoff Semi-Final against Notre Dame. Alabama won this with flying colors with a final score of 31-14. Jones went 25-30 throwing for 297 yards and four touchdowns.
Going out with a bang
In his final game wearing the Alabama uniform, Jones put on a show. Alabama trounced Ohio State. Jones threw for a career high 464 yards. He went 36 for 45 throwing for five touchdowns. Alabama would complete an undefeated season with a championship and be crowned one of the best college football teams to ever play. His final stat line for the 2020-2021 season was going 311 for 402, throwing for 4,500 yards with 41 touchdowns and four interceptions. He would finish third for the Heisman Trophy.
What to expect in New England
Mac Jones will start as the backup to Cam Newton. Yes, the backup, not the starter, the backup. The only way Jones is named the week one starter is if and only if he completely outshines Cam Newton in training camp. IF (yes IF) Newton struggles early again, expect to see Jones. Jones is the most system ready quarterback in the draft and he is also being considered the smartest. Only time will tell if Jones was the correct pick for New England.
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-Matt Burnett (@mattthew_jordan on Twitter)