Podcast: How the Patriots’ cautious approach with Mac Jones backfired

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The New England Patriots did what they could to keep the ball out of Mac Jones’ hands at the outset of their 17-16 loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 1.

The quarterback threw the ball just once with two dropbacks on his seven-play opening drive. By the end of the first quarter, the Patriots ran the ball 10 times and threw it five times. New England was winning time of possession (8:40), but was losing, 7-0.

Jones didn’t have a passing play that went for more than 20 yards until 26 minutes into the game. That was, in part, because Jones is a cautious player, who likes to avoid turnovers and get comfortable with check-downs. That much was clear in training camp. But it’s also likely he was following the team’s game plan, which was clearly meant to emphasize the running game.

That emphasis proved too conservative, with the team making a number of mental errors (4 fumbles and eight penalities) that burnt the Patriots. It’s worth wondering whether they could have put more on their young quarterback’s plate. Would they have won if they’d simply allowed Jones more chances to throw at the outset of the game — and in the red zone? All that — and so much more — in this week’s Patriots Wire podcast.

List

Winners and losers from Patriots' disappointing defeat vs. the Dolphins in Week 1