What Josh McDaniels had to say about Mack Jones before the Patriots-Raiders game | Jobs Vox



“I mean, from his college career, what he did there, until last year, just the ability to win, make big plays.”

Mack Jones and Josh McDaniels face each other on Sunday. Stan Grosfeld/Globe Staff

There aren’t many coaches who know Mack Jones better than Josh McDaniels.

Of course, the Raiders coach was Jones’ offensive coordinator during the quarterback’s rookie season with the Patriots. Jones has been around McDaniels a lot and was successful in 2021, leading all rookies in passing yards (3,801), completion percentage (67.8), pass breakups (22) and passer rating (92.5).

McDaniels has repeatedly praised Jones since he took over as Raiders coach in February. In March, McDaniels said Jones is a “great kid” who “works really hard” and that he was “really lucky to have the chance to coach him.”

When the Patriots and Raiders held joint practices before a preseason game in August, McDaniels again praised Jones, saying he loves “that kid.”

“I spent a lot of time with him, obviously, last year,” McDaniels said at the time. “Great man, has a bright future.”

On Sunday, Jones and McDaniels will meet for the first time — at least for the big game. McDaniels provided some insight into what the scouting report will say about Jones as he prepares to face the Patriots in Las Vegas.

“Mac is very bright,” McDaniels said. “It’s hard to fool him. Very accurate, sees everything well. Plays with anticipation in the passing game. Has great touch and accuracy. I mean, from his college career, what he did there, last year and up until this year, just having the ability to win, make big plays and continue to fight and keep pushing even when there’s some adversity. Very cool. Very tough, you know, standing there and punching him in the mouth and continuing to play.

“So I’ve got a lot of respect and admiration for him for what he did last year, what he did in college and then what he’s doing this year. Just a solid player any way you want to look at it. He’s a solid player at that position, and it’s hard to upset a guy like that.

Jones didn’t have the best season in his first year after McDaniel. He’s thrown for 2,198 yards, seven touchdowns and eight interceptions on an 85.7 passer rating in 10 games. Many have pointed to how the Patriots replaced McDaniels as the reason, as the Patriots offense went from being in the top 10 in many metrics last season to the bottom 10 this season with Matt Patricia as the de facto offensive coordinator.

Jones said Thursday that McDaniels “coached me really well last year,” and despite his recent outbursts in some offensive situations, he has faith in the coaches who replaced McDaniels.

“I think Josh was a great coach and we still have great coaches,” Jones said. “You just have to learn from everybody who coaches you, just learn from them. Everyone is a little different. That’s what I learned at Alabama, I just had different coordinators, but the same system worked. This is where we are. Just try to learn from everyone and take something away, okay, and add it to your bankroll, whatever you can do.

“I’m really excited to experience it.”

However, Jones has been playing a little better in recent weeks. Since the Patriots returned from their Week 11 meeting, Jones is fifth in receiving yards (1,058) and third in completion percentage (70.8) and had the longest active streak in the league against the Cardinals. MassLive’s Mark Daniels.

McDaniels is preparing for that Jones and whoever he coached last season will show up Sunday.

“He’s just a competitive guy, so we’re going to try to make our defense, whatever the call, the best we can this term and continue to do that,” McDaniels. “We tightened it as much as we can. We know there’s going to be some plays on both sides of the ball, so we’re going to have to fight and play as it comes.”

Sunday also marks the second time McDaniels will face Belichick and the Patriots. He actually got the better of the Patriots for the first time, beating them in overtime in 2009 when he was the coach of the Broncos.

McDaniels lasted just two seasons in Denver and returned to New England in 2012, serving as the offensive coordinator for 10 seasons after an eight-year stint from 2001-08.

McDaniels said it’s “absolutely” fun going up against people he’s worked with before, but that won’t take away from his drive to win Sunday’s match.

“That’s why we all do it,” McDaniels said. “Competing with people doesn’t mean you hate them and stuff like that. But you can, of course, want to beat them as bad or worse than they want to beat you. I’m sure they feel the same way about us. Sunday is a football game, not a reunion. That’s not the point at all.”


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