Thinking Out Loud: Cut Mac some slack

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Thinking out loud…while wondering if it’s better to be the smartest of all the stupid people, or the dumbest of all the smart people…

Does Mac Jones have a problem? He’s just takin’ it day by day.

Or do WE have a problem?

Jones has still played only 20 games in his professional career. He has the unfortunate task of following in the very large New England footprints of the GOAT at his position. He still led his team to the playoffs in his rookie season, too.

I say let’s cut him a little slack. Even TB12 struggled early in his tenure.

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Yes, Jones has made more mistakes than we’ve seen previously, even with a relatively small sample size. He’s forcing some passes, throwing some balls up for grabs or throwing them into well-covered areas, he’s getting picked off with a bit more frequency than last season…and even missing some open targets.

His problems are part of a team problem: 1) Coaching that appears to be inexperienced within his realm; 2) teammates who may not be as talented as first thought; 3) making too many unforced errors.

And now, he’s hurt. “Day by day,” is what BB tried to impart on all who inquired as to Mac’s status this week. But the hurt part came after the apparent on-field struggles, sure.

Is there a disconnect between Mac and the team, considering he sought a second opinion on his high ankle sprain? Having a hard time with that one.

Mac’s the second year QB. His coaches may have forgotten more football than he presently knows. He’s got an ‘old school’ feel to his game, and to his personality. He appears respectful.

He also appears to have attended the Bill Belichick school of answering media questions with short, curt responses. What took him so long?

In pro sports, while players can and often “respectfully” disagree with their coaches – and sometimes very publicly – that’s not Mac. Again, based on our small sample size. Maybe it’s nothing more than simple frustration with the way things have started this year?

And maybe we’re simply looking at this from OUR inflated viewpoint of where the Patriots should be, rather than what is more likely the truth. These Patriots continue to be, in every sense of the phrase, a work-in-progress…just like Mac Jones.

He’s taking it – we’re all taking it – day-by-day. Or did you not get the memo?

If Mac actually returns this week, or next, or even the one after that…can we ever question his toughness? And if he waits it out for 6-8 weeks instead, can we question it further?

Tweet of the Week, from @Edelman11: “Ball security is job security.”

How times have changed. From 2001-19, New England was 67-18 against NFC teams, including nine Super Bowl appearances. Since 2020, they’re a mere 3-6.

Here’s your ‘wow’ and ‘whoa’ moments of the week, all at once: Lamar Jackson, to this point, has accounted for more TDs than 30 other teams.

You know those funny-looking, oversized helmet caps that NFL players were wearing during training camp, and college teams were utilizing during summer workouts?

Early returns have concussions dropping 50% with their use compared to previous years without them.

If you’re like me, and you fear the worst for a sport like football in the future after we’re all pushing up daisies – this is one potential way to save it.

Unless the Dolphins and similar mindsets get in the way. Tua Tagovailoa’s concussion injury Thursday night came just four days after a previous potential concussion injury against Buffalo…that the team (and an NFL-approved doctor) sez wasn’t a concussion at all.

Not a good look at all. The NFLPA has requested an investigation…and they’ll get one.

Another way to save it: The Pro Bowl is no mo. About time. As useless as teats on a bull. Go Google that.

Flag football as a potential replacement? What’s next, two-hand touch? I DO like the fact they’re discussing a dodgeball game as part of the festivities and competitive games they’re planning.

As long as Patches O’Houlihan is coaching on the sidelines, I’ll watch.

On the local gridirons…2-2 URI is still ranked, 25th in the FCS Top 25 after giving FBS-ranked Pitt a good game last week. But Holy Cross? Undefeated and ranked 11th nationally in FCS.

The Crusaders are 4-0 after whipping Joe Castiglione’s alma mater (Colgate) 35-10 last week. Wins at Buffalo and against Yale loom large as HC plays at Harvard Saturday.

URI and Brown renew the rivalry for the Governors Cup Saturday night in Kingston. It’s the 106th meeting all time between the two programs, with the Rams winning the last three and four of the past five against the Bears. Could be a fun game to watch with those two offenses.

So, NASA hit an asteroid six million miles from us with a rocket this week. Didn’t these people watch Armageddon?

Don’t look now, but the first college basketball practices took place around the country this week, including locally in Providence, Smithfield, and Kingston. Who’s AMP’ed up?

That’s already gotten kinda old, hasn’t it?

On Ed Cooley’s debut radio show, the Friar coach mentioned his team has great individual talent, but their success will lie with how well they play together. Last year’s team set a pretty high bar on that standard.

On the schedule, Cooley reiterated the need for a team learning to play together needing games to play through issues before the grind of the Big East hits. And, that no one in a Power 6 league was willing to come to Providence…and the Friars weren’t willing to give up a home game.

PC will be due to jump back into the Gavitt Games next season, likely with a home game against someone from the Big 10. Michigan and Michigan State sound like good places to start, amiright?

Saw an interesting info graphic tweeted this week by Fox Sports – of the top 10 currently active coaches in career wins, three of them have direct ties to Providence:

Former coaches Rick Barnes (6th on the list with 754 wins) at Tennessee, Rick Pitino (10th on the list with 684 wins) at Iona, and ex-player Jim Larranaga at Miami (9th with 696 wins).

Not for nuthin’, but that’s pretty good swag right now for the Friars as a program – both from the past and in the present.

Mark your calendars, make your reservations. PC-URI game time for Dec. 3rd at the Ryan Center in Kingston is set – for 5:00 pm. It’s always five o’clock somewhere, amiright?

Rhody has been picked for smack-dab in the middle of the 15-team A-10 this season by The Field of 68. Dayton, VCU and Saint Louis are the top three, followed by newcomer Loyola-Chicago, Davidson, Richmond, and George Mason. UMass is ninth, right behind the Rams.

The Field of 68 also went this way with their Big East preseason poll: Creighton, Villanova, UConn, Xavier, PC, Seton Hall, Butler, St. John’s, Marquette, Georgetown, DePaul. The top six are considered NCAA Tournament-worthy teams, with Butler and SJU among the first teams out.

Wonder if this poll might change with the news this week of Xavier’s Zach Freemantle being suspended indefinitely from his team? Freemantle’s numbers dropped from two years ago to last season – but the 6-9 senior does have 57 career starts in 83 career games.

It’s one way to support a program, I guess. DePaul is instituting a $1 surcharge on any men’s basketball ticket, excluding season tickets, calling it a “women’s athletics advancement fee.”

The latest wave of popular college NIL deals are coming from fan-funded collectives, where alumni, boosters, donors, and everyday fans can be involved in supporting the Local U. PC’s Friar Family Collective is one such entity and support system in place for Providence athletes.

My buddy “Big E” sez he wishes there was a way to donate fat like you can donate money. Or blood.

Tweet of the Week II, from a normally cheery and optimistic @RochieWBZ: “A Boston pro sports weekend to forget…Celtics coach Ime Udoka suspended for the season…QB Mac Jones hurt as Patriots fall to 1-2…Red Sox get swept by Yankees and are officially eliminated from the postseason…we’re onto October and better things this week.”

Sez who, Dan? BB told us this week we’re all to take things ‘day by day.’

MLB.com’s Ian Browne reported this week even though Red Sox pitcher Rich Hill has played for 10 of the league’s 30 teams in his career, there’s still one more jersey he’d like to try on…that of Team USA in next spring’s World Baseball Classic.

Aaron Judge finally hit HR #61, tying Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 homeruns hit 61 years ago. Two thoughts here: 1) Still glad he didn’t/couldn’t hit it against the Red Sox; 2) NFL Network’s Sara Walsh ‘jokingly’ filed for divorce from her husband, Toronto bullpen coach Matt Buschmann, because he caught the dinger – and gave it away.

Pitch clocks, as you may know, are headed to the big leagues next season. This past year, pitch clocks in the minors cut game times by an average of 25 minutes per game, or just under three minutes per inning. Will you even notice?

ICYWW, the Woo Sox finished in the Top 5 of ALL of minor league baseball in attendance this season, averaging 7493 fans per game at Polar Park in Year Two of Worcester Baseball, A.P. That stands for “After Pawtucket.”

The team also finished two games above .500, which is certainly better than where the big club will finish. Just sayin’.

Woo Sox President Dr. Charles Steinberg was a featured speaker at Dean College’s Leadership Institute series Thursday night in Franklin, MA, and laid it all on Rhode Island politicians for Pawtucket’s pain and Worcester’s gain.

“We had a deal with the city, the business community, and the state. But there were three little words in that deal that caused all the problems – Pending Legislative Approval,” was Dr. Charles’ explanation. “They (Governor Gina Raimondo, Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate Prez Dominic Ruggerio) never got together to work it out. They were adversarial. They wouldn’t work together.”

Do they ever work together in this state? Nice legacy, gang.

Where is Joe “let’s have a muffin” Mollicone when you need him?

The World Cup – remember that? – starts in November in Qatar. That country is calling up civilians for mandatory military service to provide security for the games. And the country’s natives don’t like that.

And if I’m one of the 1.2 million expected fans attending, I won’t like the alcohol restrictions in the Muslim country either (you can’t bring it into the country), nor will I carry anything remotely close to being an illegal drug on my person – like Brittany Griner did in Russia – unless I wanna spend time in a steel cage, and not for wrestling or MMA.

Hey, dem’s da rulez. All for the love of $$$. And culture. And alleged human rights violations.

Egypt will apparently bid on hosting the 2036 Olympics, which would make them the first Middle Eastern and/or African country to host the summer games. And their bid with the following buildup of infrastructure would be paid for by…Saudi Arabia.

I have some furniture with payments due…think the Saudis would be interested in settling my debt?

Or I could ask Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson for a loan. Phil, btw, and others withdrew from their LIV Golf (and Saudi-backed) anti-trust lawsuit against the PGA.

Forbes’ annual updated list of the 50 richest owners in sports does include some familiar names: Robert Kraft is 12th ($10.6 billion), and John Henry ($4 billion) and Jeremy Jacobs ($4 billion) are tied for 42nd. At the top of the list is LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer with a net worth of $83 billion.

Eighty-three B? Let that twirl around on your tongue for a sec. And that’s down 14% from a year ago.

LeBron James sez he still hates Boston? Hey LBJ? No prob. You’ll probably find out soon enough few around here care. We’ll be more than content just to sit inside your head.

Speaking of head cases…the NyQuil chicken Tik Tok challenge? Honestly, there are some days where there is absolutely no hope for humanity. And this would be one of them.

Saw on social media this week where someone now refers to their birthday as their “womb emergence day,” because their spiritual birth came in another life.

First of all, the visual that creates is gross. Second of all, stupid is as stupid does.

We’re onto Cincinnati? Nah, we’re just takin’ it day by day.

Interested in having your questions on local Rhode Island sports (and yes, that includes the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics) answered in a somewhat timely fashion? It’s your chance to “think out loud,” so send your questions, comments, and local stories to jrbroadcaster@gmail.com. We’ll share mailbag comments/Facebook posts/Tweets right here!  Would appreciate the follow on Twitter, @JRbroadcaster…and join in on Facebook, www.facebook.com/john.rooke ...

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images