Will there be pressure to bring Mac Jones back too soon? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
As the New England Patriots prepare for Week 4 at Lambeau Field, the conversation surrounding the team isn't so much focused on the Green Bay Packers. Rather, it's all about second-year quarterback Mac Jones' ankle injury.
Jones went down with a "severe" high-ankle sprain during Sunday's loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The 24-year-old reportedly will seek a second opinion as he weighs whether or not to undergo surgery. As of Tuesday, his return timeline remains in question.
Veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer will replace Jones in the meantime, but will there be pressure to rush Jones back onto the field? How should we expect Jones and the Patriots to compromise on how to proceed with his recovery? Former NFL lineman Pete Kendall joined Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry on a new episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast and shared his thoughts.
"I'm sure Mac is gonna want to get out there and play as soon as he can. But he has to consider his long-term health," Kendall said. "He can't put himself at further risk beyond the risk that everybody takes when they go play. His agent, I'm almost certain, is telling him we'll take as much time as it needs to heal, then when you're ready to go back we'll know, and that's when you'll go back.
"I don't know how they're going to operate down there from Bill (Belichick)'s perspective, but of course he's going to want his starting quarterback out there as soon as possible. That's just the nature of the game, the nature of the beast."
Kendall doesn't believe there will be any friction between Jones and the Patriots as they figure out how to proceed with his injury timeline.
"I think that their interests are so aligned. The organization's, Bill's, and Mac's. They're all pretty much pointed in the same direction," he said. "They made a commitment to Mac. It looks like he's going to be the guy here long-term and I don't think it's in anyone's interest to risk something in the near term to risk putting him back on the field a week or two early. I think the bigger picture is that he's going to be here awhile and they want him to be as healthy and productive as he can be when he goes out to play.
"And so, I really don't think this is going to be one of those things where the player and the team are on wildly different pages. I think they'll support Mac in whatever he decides to do, and I think Mac will understand that they'd like to see him go back and play whenever it is that he's ready. Hopefully that's sooner rather than later."
Also discussed in the episode: Is Mac Jones getting the support he needs? How critical is this juncture of Mac’s career? How does the offense change with Brian Hoyer at QB? And is Phil Perry encouraged or discouraged by the offensive progress?