How will the Patriots’ Mack Jones handle the Cardinals’ blitz on MNF? – New England Patriots Blog | Jobs Vox


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Quick-hit thoughts and notes surrounding the New England Patriots and the NFL:

1. Mac under pressure: Quarterback Mac Jones’ performance when facing pressure projects as a key scenario against the host Arizona Cardinals on Monday (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN).

It’s a tough place to be with the Patriots, who are dealing with a string of injuries at offensive tackle and with receiver Jacoby Meyers still in concussion protocol. Jones may be fighting for his life against a Cardinals defense that throws around 50% of the time.

“They bring in a lot of different guys from different places — they show you one thing and they bring in another. [They] Keep me guessing and put you on your heels,” Jones said.

Jones has gotten used to feeling the heat this season. Fluctuating results in those situations have led to the Patriots (6-6) not having much offensive success under coach Bill Belichick, who has streamlined the offensive playbook and appointed Matt Patricia and Joe Judge as offensive line coaches despite their respective backgrounds. The NFL comes down to defense and special teams, respectively.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Jones has completed just 37% of his passes under pressure this season, which ranks him 31st out of 35 qualified quarterbacks in the NFL.

He’s averaging just 2.9 yards per pass attempt on pressure — 34th in the NFL.

And his five interceptions under pressure — an early-season issue that has subsided in recent weeks — is tied for the most in the NFL.

Injuries on the offensive end helped keep Jones under so much pressure. Starting right tackle Isaiah Wynn (foot) will miss his third straight game Monday — and, frankly, he hasn’t been consistently effective when healthy — while veteran backup Marcus Cannon (concussion) remains on injured reserve.

Additionally, starting left tackle Trent Brown has been battling an illness that clearly affected his play in the Week 13 loss to the Bills and then limited his practice time last week. And backup offensive tackle Yodni Cajust is dealing with back and calf injuries that sidelined him for the Bills game and limited his practice time last week as well.

No wonder Jones was under pressure last week at 39.5%.

Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, seemingly sensing blood in the water, made headlines Thursday when he described the Patriots’ offense as conservative and reflective of “how a defensive guy calls offensive plays.” He said he saw a lot of “runs, quick plays and screens” before adding, “Hopefully it won’t be like that for us on Monday.”

Some might say it sounded like a challenge.

How Jones and the Patriots respond to him will determine how much hope remains in their season.

2. Maki air yards: According to ESPN Stats and Info, Jones had 14% of his 20-plus yard attempts this season. That’s the fifth-highest total in the NFL, which defies the notion that the Patriots’ passing game is all about “quick play and screens.” As Remondre Stevens essentially said, it depends on which game you choose to watch.

3. Free dressing room: With the Patriots on a two-game losing streak and the stakes as high as they have been for them this season, the players’ vigilance was palpable when members of the media surrounded them this week. Matthew Judon kept things light by wearing McCourt’s bright red Rutgers shorts for his availability before returning to McCourt’s media availability in hopes of him donning a Grand Valley State jersey. Meanwhile, Jones said: “I feel like we have good energy. This is important. Everyone is all-in and that’s all you can ask for.”

4. Travel to Arizona: The Patriots will practice at the University of Arizona next week instead of returning home before a Week 15 road game against the Raiders. Judon compared it to a basketball team traveling the West Coast.

Added longtime captain Devin McCourt: “It’s just going to be us. All the distractions and all that you have to deal with as a husband, father, son, brother, you are freed from it. You kind of go back, almost like college—meetings, practices, hanging out with guys in the dorms.”

The Patriots have slim playoff hopes, and players have admitted to a worst-case scenario that everything could dry up in the desert.

“It’s going to be tough, but if you win, it’s all worth it. If you lose, it’s just the way it is, it’s bad,” veteran safety Adrian Phillips said. “You just want to make sure that when we get on the plane back from Vegas on Sunday night, you talk to the guys and say, “This trip was worth it. We did what we needed to do.”

5. Wildcat Alms: Kicker Nick Folk and tight end JJ Taylor attended the University of Arizona, so they know their way around the Tucson campus. Faulk, who earned All-Pac-10 honors as a senior in 2006, has been well connected to the school — visiting with family in 2020 and then attending the spring game in Jed Fish’s first year as head coach in 2021. “It’s going to be fun,” said Faulk, 37, who answered firmly when asked if he would feel like a student again: “Oh no. That was a long time ago! “

6. Uche pass: Third-year tight end Josh Uche is coming off the best season of his three-year career (19 tackles, 7 sacks, 25.5% playing time), and Belichick cited his availability as a key factor. Uche has only missed two games due to injury and Judon has an assist. “He helped me from one ton; The different things he does to prepare for the game, I have implemented in my game. This allowed me to extend my time on the field.”

7. Memories of Kingsbury: When fourth-year Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury stopped for a brief chat at March’s annual NFL meeting, he recalled his time with the Patriots in 2003 as a sixth-round draft pick out of Texas Tech. The Patriots released him after training camp in 2004, in part because of his arm size. You’re a die-hard Patriots fan if you remember that Kingsbury was roommates with undrafted receiver Chas Gessner at Brown University.

8. Loading Ramondi: Stevenson completed 53 of 54 offensive snaps last week, prompting questions about whether the Patriots were putting too much on his plate. Belichick didn’t seem concerned, noting that the number of plays was lower than usual. Stevenson admitted he was tired of the team’s 17 plays in the fourth quarter, but said it becomes a “mental thing.” The 53 shots were his third-most of a season; He went 60 of 70 against the Browns and 54 of 60 against the Lions.

9. Do you know, Part I: Stevenson has made four one-handed catches this season, which leads the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Info. That’s one ahead of Raiders receiver Davante Adams.

10. Do you know, Part II: During Belichick’s tenure as head coach (2000-present), the Patriots have never lost twice on Monday Night Football in the same season — a series that will be Monday against the Cardinals — since they lost to Chicago. Bear 33-14 over MNF in Week 7.


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