As Mac Jones takes his high ankle sprain “day by day,” he’s once against being measured against a bar set unrealistically high by his predecessor Tom Brady. This time it’s in the durability column.
It’s normal for quarterbacks to nurse injuries, to miss a week or two, and to seek second opinions.
What’s not normal is what Brady has done: played every single game in which he’s the team’s starting quarterback, with the exception of his 2008 ACL tear and 2016 four-game suspension.
And frankly, to expect Jones to live up to those stats is as silly as expecting him to replicate all of Brady’s other superhuman feats. While Patriots fans might wish for that in their hearts, they should use their brains to know Brady is a once-in-a-hundred years combination of talent and toughness.
Oh, and luck, too.
Jones isn’t the first quarterback to be compared to Brady in the missed-games category. It’s the stat that first dinged Jimmy Garroppolo after his dazzling start during Brady’s Deflategate suspension. Guy can’t stay on the field. Glass Jimmy.
In that case, given Garropolo’s spotty availability in San Francisco, hindsight is 20/20. He missed significant time in 2017, 2018, and 2020.
But it’s more likely that Jones, like other pocket passers in the NFL, will fall somewhere in the middle on this spectrum.
So what does that look like? If he takes care of his body the right way and throws behind a relatively strong offensive line, look at quarterbacks like Matthew Stafford, who only missed games early in his career in 2009 and 2010, and then in 2019. Or Matt Ryan, who only missed a game here or there in 2009 and 2020. I’ll give you Derek Carr, who missed one game in both 2016 and 2017.
When you run through the league, quarterbacks who live in the pocket tend to stay on the field more. That’s the positive with having a guy like Jones under center.
The sophomore quarterback did a commendable job bouncing back from 31 sacks in his rookie year. Some of the hits he took early on were wince-inducing.
So the guy is tough. But to expect him to play every game of his career, short of a suspension or torn major ligament? That’s just another untouchable Brady stat.