Why Mac Jones might make a few more mistakes in 2022 – and why that's ok


But while Jones had his share of turnovers, he largely kept the football out of harm's way and didn't push the envelope as a rookie.

This year's spring camp version of Mac Jones looks bent on changing that, launching the ball deep and into tight windows regularly during OTAs and mandatory minicamp in a way he didn't consistently do last season.

NBC Sports Boston's Tom Curran says he's seen that before in another Patriots quarterback going into his second season as a starter: Tom Brady.

"What I found so fascinating about Brady -- Brady set his career-high for picks [in Year 2] because in his second year, he really experimented in finding out what he couldn't do," Curran explained on WEEI's First and Foxborough podcast.

"Year 1 was about, alright, hands as at 10-and-2, do what Bill [Belichick] wants, do what [then-offensive coordinator] Charlie [Weis] wants. Next year, 'You know what? I'm pretty [expletive] good. So I'm going to start to throw it around a little bit the way you might not expect me to. I'm going to try these things. I'm going to try to fit it in."

Sound like someone you know?

Jones made waves this spring for airing it out frequently during OTAs and minicamp, including bombs to Nelson Agholor and Tre Nixon that would've arguably been more highlight reel-worthy than most of his throws from last season. His deep balls were also on target, which he struggled with at times last season, and he was only intercepted once in camp -- that came on a tipped ball that should've been caught.

That might change when the pads come on and the intensity ramps up, though.

"[Brady] had some games where he made significant mistakes in his second year. I think Mac is probably going to follow the same track," Curran said. "There are going to be times where he's trying to throw things into areas that he's going to say, 'You know what? That wasn't a terrific idea, but I had to do it.'"

Defenses tried to force Jones to test himself at the end of last season with less-than-stellar results for the rookie, who had passes broken up or intercepted on a few occasions when throwing toward the sidelines or down the field.

As he gets more opportunities to probe his limits, we might see a few more of those turnovers in 2022 than in a rookie. But the Patriots will live that if it results in more good plays than bad ones.

To hear more of the podcast, click here.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Sam Navarro/USA TODAY Sports