The Other McCain

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

What Do Smart People Do?

Posted on | June 8, 2022 | Comments Off on What Do Smart People Do?

Smart people learn. That’s the basic difference between smart people and everybody else — a superiority in learning. And as every NFL analyst has commented, Mac Jones is a very smart quarterback — “borderline genius,” one NFL executive called him. His greatest strength in his rookie season was in what the analysts call “processing.” He could very rapidly analyze what the defense was doing, and get the ball to the right target. Making a quick read and getting rid of the ball — it’s the difference between completing a pass and taking a sack.

Oh, but the haters gonna hate! And guess what? Mac listens to the haters, too, then does what it takes to make them shut their mouths.

He’s got a “weak arm,” can’t throw the deep ball, the haters say.

So Mac Jones spent the past five months working on his diet and strength training, then came back for OTAs (voluntary Organized Team Activities) leaner and stronger than he’s ever been. And, oh, yeah — working with legendary throwing coach Tom House. During OTAs, it was reported that Mac stayed late after every practice, working on his deep ball. Keep in mind, he did all this extra work despite:

A. Having thrown for 4,500 yards and 41 touchdowns his senior season at Alabama, leading the Crimson Tide to an undefeated season and the national championship;
B. Putting up numbers in his first year with the Patriots that made him not only the best rookie QB in the league for the season, but the best rookie QB since Dak Prescott entered the league in 2016.

So, a very good rookie quarterback put a lot of work into getting better during the off-season, including organizing informal practice sessions with his receivers, to help build the vital team chemistry.

Smart people learn, and all that work Mac Jones did is clearly paying dividends, as this week’s mandatory mini-camp sessions show.

You hear that, haters? Mac Jones is dropping dimes, he’s throwing the deep ball with pinpoint accuracy. It’s not just one or two people saying this, it’s everybody who watched the Patriots practice this week and it’s still only June. We’re 95 days away from the first game at Miami and, at least so far as the passing game is concerned, New England’s offense is firing on all cylinders. What I found most interesting in the comments of those who watched the Patriots this week is that Mac’s most impressive throws were to tight end Jonnu Smith and slot receiver Tre Nixon. Neither of those guys made much of an impression last season. In fact, Nixon — drafted in the seventh round out of the University of Central Florida — spent last season on the practice squad. Smith, acquired in free agency from the Titans, had just 28 catches for 294 yards, and was overshadowed by Hunter Henry, another free agent tight end acquired from the L.A. Chargers. So these two previously underutilized receivers, who need to show the coaches something extra if they want to make the final 53-man roster, seemed to get extra attention from Mac.

The Patriots’ quarterback is Mister Team Player, you see.

It’s very early, of course. They don’t even start practicing in pads until training camp opens in late July. The AFC is stacked with talent at quarterback — Patrick Mahomes at Kansas City, Joe Burrow at Cincinnati, Josh Allen at Buffalo, on and on — and Mac Jones might be lucky to rank in the Top Five in the conference for 2022. Also, there are still a lot of unanswered questions for New England on defense, plus some doubts about the reshuffled offensive line. Insofar as one player can make a difference, however, Mac Jones is doing everything necessary to make the Patriots a better team this season. Let me tell you something else smart people do: They don’t bet against Mac Jones.

Kid’s gonna be a champion, I tell you.



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