The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Number 10 for the Win

Posted on | August 13, 2021 | Comments Off on Number 10 for the Win

Is Mac Jones ready for the NFL? Oh, hell, yes.

Everybody was impressed with Mac’s first appearance Thursday night as the New England Patriots opened their preseason at home against the Washington Football Team (pronouns: they/them).

My brother Kirby is convinced that Mac is going to be an NFL star, but years of covering politics has made me wary of getting my expectations too high, so I just kept telling Kirby, “We’ll see.” And on Thursday afternoon, while I was out walking the dogs, the thought crossed my mind: No interceptions, no fumbles, no injuries — a modest thing to hope for, or perhaps to pray for, if you think God cares about football.

Thank God, then, Mac met my expectations. He played five series, including two drives that ended in field goals, completing 13 of 19 passes. But his best pass of the game was one of those incompletions. On first and 10 from the Washington 34, Jones sent wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson on a go route down the left sideline and threw a picture-perfect pass to the end zone that Wilkerson somehow dropped.

Talk about threading the needle! As Henry McKenna of USA Today pointed out, this pass was aimed so perfectly that the defensive back didn’t have play — only the receiver could have caught it. Forty-five yards on the fly, dead on target and, as every ’Bama fan must be telling themselves, “Devonta Smith would have caught that one.”

You know who was impressed with Mac Jones? Cam Newton, that’s who:

New England Patriots rookie Mac Jones made his NFL debut in Thursday night’s preseason victory over the Washington Football Team but the former Alabama standout turned to the team’s veteran for some pointers.
Cam Newton, who started the first quarter before turning over the reins to Jones, told reporters after the game that Jones came to him before kickoff for advice.
“He came and talked to me, and we talked it out about just his expectation. Every young quarterback goes through it — the excitement, the anticipation,” Newton said. “He wants to be so perfect, and I see his preparation is always pristine. That’s what I admire about him.” . . .
“For him and today’s performance he’s just going to keep getting better. And we’re gonna be here for each other along this whole process and that’s what we’re here for.”

Wow, that’s gracious. It’s a very awkward situation at New England, where Belichik traded up in the draft to pick Jones 15th in the first round, and everybody’s talking about the rookie as the future of the franchise. Meanwhile, here’s Cam Newton — who was himself a first-round draft pick 10 years ago, but hobbled by injuries before being picked up as a free agent by the Patriots last year — as the veteran starting QB, basically expected to train Jones as his replacement. Cam Newton took the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl just five years ago, and so his situation at New England has got to be somewhat embarrassing, having to fight for his job against a mere rookie. It’s a mark of maturity on Cam’s part that he’s handling this situation without complaint, and apparently without any hard feelings toward Jones.

Did I mention that Cam played for Auburn? I don’t know if the Auburn-Alabama rivalry has any impact on how two pro players on the same team get along, but hate is not too strong a word to describe the attitudes that pervade this rivalry. “Sorry about your trees, Auburn.”

People sometimes make the mistake of thinking I’m a football fan, and I have to correct them: “No, I’m an Alabama fan.” It’s different.

Normally, I don’t pay much attention to the NFL, but with Mac Jones expected to be the Second Coming of Tom Brady at New England, I guess I’ll be following the Patriots from now on. Roll Tide!



Comments are closed.