Patriots hope Mac Jones can close the gap with Josh Allen sooner rather than later
Belief is a powerful tool. The Patriots know this from first-hand experience.
For two decades, they pretty much beat everyone in their way. They also owned the AFC East in part because the Bills, Jets and Dolphins weren’t very good. But also because they really believed that no matter who the opponent was they would win every time they stepped onto the pitch.
This belief was generated by the player below the center.
Tom brady made his teammates believe that they could overcome any situation in a game, any type of adversity. They were confident that with him in the driver’s seat, they would always win if someone got it wrong, or if they fell far behind, or even if the team on the other side had better players.
They believed, because Brady supported him.
He was that X factor. He had that intangible quality that first appeared in the last minute of Super Bowl XXXVI against the Rams, when the late great John madden suggested from the TV booth that the Patriots get on their knees and try their luck in overtime.
Bill belichick and Charlie weis had other ideas. And that’s where the legend began for No.12, a legend that continues to grow to this day.
He hopes to one day foster this kind of belief. At this point, he is still learning and building his resume. So it’s impossible for the Patriots to hitch all of their carts to the kid and believe he’ll get them out of every situation.
They could possibly, but it’s tough right now considering he’s a rookie who will only be making his 16th NFL start against the Jaguars.
But the Patriots aren’t alone when it comes to AFC East teams finding their way with young quarterbacks.
The Jets certainly aren’t full believers in the rookie. Zach Wilson just now. And, until he proves otherwise, Tua Tagovailoa does not generate any kind of intangible magic with Dolphins.
He’s the show in Buffalo. But more importantly, every Bills player in the locker room believes in him and thinks he will be up to the task, no matter what situation they face.
He may not have skin on the wall like Brady, or as many instances where he has had unlikely wins, but he’s done enough to make his teammates feel invincible, even when the Bills are in trouble. .
Defensive tackle Harrison phillips said to Athletic Tim graham After the Bills’ victory over the Patriots a week ago, the team have no doubts that they will win a game with Allen by their side.
“We all trust the ball in his hands every time the game is on the line,” said Phillips. “Whether we’re up or down, in number 17, we have confidence. I love this guy. ”
Having a quarterback advantage is so important in the NFL these days. And right now the Bills have a significant advantage over their AFC East counterparts in particular.
How long this lasts is up to guess.
Patriots Hall of Fame Rodney harrison, who has played with Brady and understands the dynamics, also sees the powerful bond between Allen and his teammates.
It’s a connection the Bills could use for many years to come.
“I just think in this division it’s their opportunity right now. I mean, this quarterback is pretty darn special, ”Harrison said of Allen and the Bills. “You saw the leadership on Sunday. When he came in he came in with a laser focus, like, “I’m going to resume this game.” I will do whatever it takes to win this football game.
“This is the type of leadership you need,” Harrison continued. “And Mac Jones is a good young leader, but he’s not Josh Allen. These guys really, really believe in Josh, and they feel like they’re going to do whatever it takes. Mac is not there yet. I think they’re still trying to figure it out.
The Patriots have wisely taken a cautious approach with Jones, and for the most part it has paid off. He’s been the league’s best rookie quarterback, and it’s not particularly tight.
But that doesn’t mean Jones has reached the threshold where everyone in the room thinks he can deliver under any circumstances.
Because even though Belichick’s strategy worked four weeks ago, the fact that Jones only pitched three times in the windswept game against the Bills in Buffalo raised some eyebrows.
If the coaches don’t trust Jones under these conditions, what impact does that have on the players, let alone the quarterback?
Maybe not. Perhaps the extreme circumstances with the wind were a sufficient explanation.
That, and Jones being a rookie.
Either way, Jones has shown tenacity and resilience throughout the season, and his teammates respect him. So, at the very least, it’s a good place to start building confidence and conviction.
“He never wavers. I think he does not back down in the face of adversity ”, tight end Hunter Henri said Wednesday when asked what he admires most about Jones. “He continues to move forward. Continue to strive to get better. To learn. And that’s the most important thing you have to ask.
“For a young man, a young quarterback in this league, you have to keep moving forward,” he continued. “It’s hard to win in this league. It is difficult to perform at a high level. And he did a good job with it. He continues to improve and learn, and his growth will only continue to increase. So I feel like he faced it head on and did a great job. ”
In the quarterback’s pecking order, Jones could actually be No.2 behind Allen, with Tagovailoa and Wilson after him. It’s just a matter of time for the gap between Allen and everyone else to narrow.
The Brady gap lasted two decades.
“I know a few times we could have been down, and we had no doubts,” Harrison said. “We had Brady so we knew we were good. As a defensive guy, when you know you have Tom Brady, mentally you don’t get discouraged, although things could turn out badly on the defensive end.
“With a rookie, you just don’t know. Maybe you think I should take this chance to create some revenue… so yeah, it’s a mindset, definitely.
Harrison said he has seen members of the Patriots’ defense attempt to overcompensate before, trying to prevent the game from relying on Jones bringing the team back.
With another season under his belt, Jones will likely change that narrative. He will gain more confidence in the ranks. And as he continues to improve, we’ll see if he can close the gap with Allen.
Because right now, it’s not close.
There’s Allen and everyone in the division. And it’s not just about talent, it’s about that intangible that it oozes.
“The scary thing about Buffalo is that they’re going to keep getting better,” Harrison said. “They’re going to work on their offensive line, they’re going to have a half-runner because their situation is rubbish. So they’re going to keep improving, and Josh is locked up for the next 10 or 15 years. And this kid is really special, he really is.
No argument here.
It’s time to refocus
Harrison isn’t ready to fire the Patriots, but things need to change. He was surprised by the lack of intensity against the Colts and Bills over the past two weeks after the Patriots’ week off.
“The thing that really stood out to me, the last few weeks, how can they not come out ready to play? The energy level was dropping, ”he said. “The fact that they’re still there in the playoff position is what they need to continue to focus on. With their attitudes.
Harrison then put the attitude adjustment into perspective.
“Look, the Patriots aren’t good enough to just come out and beat people,” he said. “They have to play really well, they have to play really well together and do all the little things because they just aren’t good enough. This is the most important point.
Edelman on Pats?
Excellent former Patriots Julien edelman doesn’t seem afraid to rub some feathers with some old friends, let alone his old team.
In the latest episode of “Inside the NFL,” Edelman first said he didn’t think Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would repeat themselves as Super Bowl champions.
Then, when asked if he thought there was an AFC team that could take out the Kansas City Chiefs, Edelman left the Patriots off the list altogether.
“I think the Indianapolis Colts – they have a great way to lead the ball. It’s a tough football team. Their defense is solid. They get take out left and right. And then also the Bills – I picked them to go to the Super Bowl on the first show of the season. I think they’re playing their best football right now, and that’s what we have to see.
File it under: To tell the truth.
This week’s game between the Titans and the Dolphins has a lot of implications in terms of several AFC races and generic places.
Ryan tannehill has a chance to put his former team out of the playoffs and do the Patriots a favor by making the final game moot, assuming the Pats (9-6) beat the Jaguars.
The Titans (10-5) have something on the line with a chance to win the AFC South Division title. They could potentially thwart the hopes of the Ends (8-7) before facing the Patriots in their game of Week 18 in Miami.
Brian FloresThe team is leading a seven-game winning streak after a 1-7 start and must end with a pair of wins to give themselves the best chance of qualifying for the playoffs. The Dolphins did it for the most part with defense, as they lead the league in sacks (45).
Tannehill, who traded to the Titans in 2019, said he had no resentment towards the Dolphins for making the move. He just wants to stay the course in Tennessee. But, knocking down the fins would be a bonus.
“We’ve done some good things here and are delighted to build on that,” Tannehill told reporters during the week. “It’s a huge game for us. They come in hot and play great football on both sides of the ball. It will be a challenge for us. We have a great opportunity this week and are so excited to be able to do it at home. ”