One of the highlights of Josh McDaniels’ resume as an offensive coordinator was the work he did last year under the guidance and mentorship of Mack Jones during his rookie season with the Patriots.
Jones led all rookie quarterbacks with 3,801 yards, 22 passes and 13 picks. He also had a 67.6% completion percentage.
During an internal interview posted on the Raiders’ website, McDaniel was asked what he’s seen from his former protégé this year. Despite the numbers in 10 games (seven TDs, eight INTs) and his regression from last year, the Raiders head coach had high praise for Jones, who has played better of late.
“High completion percentage as always. He did it in college,” McDaniels said. “It’s hard to fool him. He sees the field very well. He sees protection.
“You can try to disguise it as much as you can, but for a young player, he’s very smart and adept at identifying what you’re going to do after you steal the ball.”
Under Matt Patricia, Jones doesn’t seem to have as much freedom to change plays at the line of scrimmage as he did under McDaniels. The Raiders head coach, however, is preparing for what the Patriots will throw at his defense. And it starts with Jones.
“Boy, we’ve got to try to mix things up a little to keep it a little bit balanced,” McDaniels continued. “But, those screen passes, those short throws, they’ve got a lot of guys that can catch them and run them.”
One of them, Ramondre Stevenson, is down, has a bad ankle and doesn’t seem likely to play on Sunday. Wide receiver Jacoby Meyers, another of Jones’ favorite targets, could also be sidelined with a concussion.