Three games into his pro career, Patriots quarterback Mac Jones hasn’t quite lived up to the hype. The potential heir to Tom Brady’s throne in New England has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in his first few starts. On 98.5 The Sports Hub Tuesday, former Pro Bowl QB Matt Hasselbeck offered his analysis of Jones’ early performances.
“It’s not been great, to be honest,” Hasselbeck said. “But what do you expect? Rookie quarterbacks around the league — going into last week, I think it was one touchdown, eight interceptions for everybody.”
As Hasselbeck pointed out, Jones’ struggles should come as no surprise. Historically, very few rookie quarterbacks have thrived out of the gate. Hasselbeck articulated the schematic difficulty of transitioning to the NFL.
“Going from college to the NFL, the big thing is really understanding all the stuff that you have to do at the line of scrimmage, all the commands,” Hasselbeck said. “A lot of these coordinators, they love to call three plays in one huddle call, and you’ve got to be able to spit that out — and not only spit it out, but you’ve got to be able to then execute it.”
Jones tossed the first three interceptions of his career Sunday at New Orleans. The Saints stifled New England’s offense on their way to a 28-13 victory. Outside of the interceptions, Jones completed 30 of 51 passes for 270 yards and a touchdown.
“You can’t even find any rookie quarterbacks who are doing well,” Hasselbeck added. “So maybe that’s just part of the growing pains, but (Jones) looks uncomfortable to me. He looks like I felt early in my career.”
Despite his slow start, Jones leads his draft class in completion percentage (67.5). The top two picks in 2021, Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, have both thrown seven interceptions through Week 3.
Hopes for Jones’ future in New England remain sky high. But the Pats will need their rookie to step up his game for their Sunday night bout versus Brady and the defending champion Bucs. Brady returns to Foxborough at 8:20 ET.