There’s hardly anyone more qualified than the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Stephon Gilmore, to give an honest assessment of New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones.
After leading the Patriots to the playoffs and earning a Pro Bowl nod as a rookie, things have been shaky for Jones in his second season. He has thrown seven interceptions and only four touchdown passes up to this point, and in six game appearances, he hasn’t finished any higher than a 54.2 QBR.
Gilmore was Jones’ teammate briefly last season before being traded by the Patriots. So he’s seen the young quarterback behind the scenes in practices, from the sidelines in games and actually on the field when facing him as a player for another team.
The most recent head-to-head meeting was the Patriots’ Week 9 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. When asked if he noticed any differences from Jones’ game now and as a rookie, Gilmore gave his honest opinion on the situation.
“Same,” Gilmore responded, via NESN’s Sean T. McGuire. “He’s a great player. (He’s) making plays, great decisions with the ball. They ran the ball, (he’s) managing the game. He’s a good player. He’s going to get better each and every year.”
Jones lost his offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, in his second season, which is a tough situation to go through for a young quarterback in his formative years. Coach Bill Belichick didn’t make things any easier by promoting in-house with former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia being handed the offensive play-calling duties.
And to top it all off, Jones suffered a high ankle sprain in the third week of the season that he was forced to overcome and work his way back from.
The jury is still out on him being the long-term answer in New England, but there’s clearly enough talent there to show a little patience and see it through.