New England Patriots

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

  • Part of the Year 2 jump for most NFL quarterbacks is having more agency and taking more control at the line of scrimmage pre-snap. With Mac Jones entering his second season, one of the biggest questions in training camp was whether or not the Patriots would give him those opportunities.

    Based on the talk coming out of Pittsburgh following Sunday’s 17-14 Patriots win, that appears to be the case. Linebacker Malik Reed, who was tasked with stepping in for the injured T.J. Watt on Sunday, praised Jones for his command at the line of scrimmage on the Patriots’ final drive – a 13-play, 56-yard march that took the final 6:33 off the clock.

  • “He was seeing what we were in. He is pretty smart,” Reed told reporters after the game via Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Once they had a feel for our adjustments, they were able to counteract those things.” Benz also noted that linebacker Alex Highsmith made similar comments after the game as well.

    Jones’ adjustments paid dividends in a big way, especially on that final drive. Excluding the three kneeldowns at the end, the Patriots averaged 5.5 yards per play on that final drive. Jones did a good job taking what the Steelers defense was willing to give up, throwing just one pass – an 11-yard completion to Lil’Jordan Humphrey on a 2nd & 13 – during that sequence. Why the Steelers were willing to concede the run in that situation is a question in and of itself, but Jones and the Patriots certainly took advantage.=

    On the day, Jones completed 21 of 35 passes for 252 yards with a touchdown and interception. In a bit of a milestone moment, he had a wide receiver go for over 100 yards receiving for the first time in his career, with Nelson Agholor picking up 110 yards on six catches.

    In addition to what he did throwing the ball the ball, Jones also ran four times for 15 yards, excluding kneeldowns. Two of those runs picked up first downs.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at