New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones is under immense pressure to follow in Tom Brady's footsteps and resemble a championship-caliber leader. So far, the rookie hasn't disappointed, as he's completed 73.9-percent of his passes and yet to commit a turnover through two games.
At this point in time, most of the comparisons between Jones and Brady are simply futile. But former ESPN host and current Pro Football Network analyst Trey Wingo believes that Jones' start is reminiscent of Brady's, back in 2001.
"He looks a lot like Brady did in his first couple of games with the Patriots," Wingo told The Zach Gelb Show on Wednesday. "And that's weird for people to hear, because they think of Brady as we know him now. But in 2001, the Brady we know now wasn't that Brady. He was a guy who Bill Belichick and the coaching staff brought along very slowly. They used a very conservative gameplan because they had a real good defense, lot of underneath throws...
"What they're doing with Jones is very similar to what they did with Brady. People will get really upset by that, 'How can you make that comparison?' I'm not making the comparison to Jones now and Brady now... The way Belichick and his staff are using Jones and trying to develop him a little slowly, it's very similar to the way they did it with Brady in the early years."
Last Sunday, Jones completed 22 of 30 passes for 186 yards in the Patriots' 25-6 road win over the New York Jets. He was far more active in his pro debut against the Miami Dolphins in Week 1, as he went 29 for 39 with 281 yards and a touchdown. Jones also set a record for the highest completion percentage of any rookie making his first NFL start (74.4-percent).
The Patriots' gameplan has been conservative, and reliant on Jones making short, effective passes. According to Next Gen Stats, Jones is averaging just 5.6 air yards per attempt -- the fifth-lowest mark in the league -- and has only 15 attempts on throws with 10-plus air yards. This approach has left some fans wondering whether the Patriots are comfortable with Jones' deep ball.
New England (1-1) will host the New Orleans Saints (1-1) in a Week 3 matchup on Sunday afternoon. According to FiveThirtyEight's projections, the Patriots have a 47-percent chance to reach the playoffs and a 21-percent chance to win the AFC East.
The entire NFL conversation between Wingo and Gelb can be accessed in the audio player above.