The Michael McCorkle "Mac" Jones Thread

Eddie Jurak

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Bedard makes the case for Jones over Zappe here:

https://www.bostonsportsjournal.com/2022/10/17/after-2nd-straight-win-does-the-film-show-bailey-zappe-should-be-patriots-starter
  • Zappe has faced the two worst defenses by DVOA, including a Browns team that was missing its second-best pass rusher (Jadeveon Clowney) and cover man (Denzel Ward). The Lions were just awful on defense, and the Browns weren't much better. Both played a very high percentage of man-to-man coverage, which is easier for QBs against poor defenses. There were very little coverage changes after the snap. Pretty much what Bailey saw before the snap was what he got after the snap. That's very easy for a QB.
  • The defenses Jones faced in the first three games were ranked 18.3 on average (including the Dolphins being now 26th due to injuries — they're better than that and were in Week 1). Average pass defense DVOA: 19.3 for Jones, 29.5 for Zappe. All three defenses (MIA, PIT, BAL) against Jones mix their coverages often between pre- and post-snap. It is much more challenging for the QB.
  • Zappe has rarely been under duress. Zappe has felt pressure on just 21 percent of his snaps — less than 1 in 4. He has been able to step into virtually all of his throws. That's very important when your arm strength is a limitation — and it is for Zappe, and it's still a question for Jones, which we have asked in the past. Virtually any NFL QB can make a vast majority of throws when they can step into them. The measure of a franchise QB is how you perform under pressure. Zappe has not really gotten sped up. He did a bit in this game after the strip sack, and his accuracy weakened on the next drive with errant throws.
  • Jones was under pressure on 33.2 percent of his snaps in the first three games — 1 in 3. Lest we forget that he suffered serious injuries in the first and third games. Six games into his rookie season, Jones was under pressure on 35 percent of his snaps.
  • Zappe has yet to trail in either of his starts. While the Patriots never trailed against the Steelers, Jones and the Patriots trailed for more than 26 minutes against both the Dolphins and Ravens.
  • Matt Patricia has done a good job of setting up Zappe for success by using the running game to set up the pass, including a high percentage of playaction passes. Zappe has used playaction on 31.6 percent of his throws for 15.3 yards per attempt. Without playaction, he is averaging a pedestrian 5.6 yards per attempt.
  • Only 10.8 percent of Jones' dropbacks this season were playaction (9.8 YPA). Jones averaged 7.9 yards per attempt without the aid of playaction. As a rookie, Jones used playaction 26.8 percent of the time (8.8 average; 6.6 without it).
  • The Patriots have used much more motion before the snap with Zappe, which not only helps the QB identify coverage but also creates mismatches. The offense was largely stagnant in Jones' three starts.
 

Bowhemian

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I mean, we're at the mercy of small sample sizes plus a rolled back game plan for Zappe plus weak opponents.

It's great he led them to wins when Mac was out. I'm really happy about that. I'm not willing to make any determinations further than that.
No I agree with you. But my point was that we have to roll with whoever the coaches determine is the best for the team. We can say whatever we want about who might be better, but I am 99.999% sure that it doesn't mean squat to the Patriots.
 

j44thor

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I mean half the case for Jones over Zappe appears to be Zappe had better offensive coaching. Also interesting to see how much PA they seemed to use vs. man coverage when Bill was recently on record saying running PA vs. man wasn't really that useful. Seems like perhaps they were simply holding it back, why I guess we won't know. I also don't like the pressure stats as they don't tell the whole story. Is Zappe under less pressure because he is quicker to get the ball out or has the OL improved that much. To me Zappe seems to progress through his reads quicker, albeit sometimes giving up on a read perhaps too quickly. I don't think anyone would argue that the game plans installed recently have been better than the earlier game plans which featured virtually no pre-snap movement and no PA.

The interesting thing about Mac vs. Zappe is they appear so similar in arm talent and overall physical skills it is going to be tough to figure out who is the better long-term option. This isn't the case of say a Malik Willis vs. Mac Jones where one side has a clear physical edge vs. a clear mental edge. Both were highly productive in college albeit in entirely different programs but again I don't think you can use that against or for one vs. the other.
 

Eddie Jurak

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I would not discount defense quality, score, and pressure stays in making the comparison.

I think a significant issue for Mac is the amount he’s been throwing off his back foot. Whatever can be said about his arm, he’s not getting the most out of it when he throws that way.
 

Cellar-Door

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I would not discount defense quality, score, and pressure stays in making the comparison.

I think a significant issue for Mac is the amount he’s been throwing off his back foot. Whatever can be said about his arm, he’s not getting the most out of it when he throws that way.
I do wonder about the pressure stats for two reasons....
1. Different places had VERY different ideas of how much pressure Mac faced, and I can't tell how the calculate it to see which one is more accurate.
2. I think Mac creates some pressure with poor decisions pre and post snap.
 

j44thor

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I do wonder about the pressure stats for two reasons....
1. Different places had VERY different ideas of how much pressure Mac faced, and I can't tell how the calculate it to see which one is more accurate.
2. I think Mac creates some pressure with poor decisions pre and post snap.
Exactly pressure rate should really be re-examined as a stat, it is about as useful as RBI in baseball since context is what matters, not the outcome. If a QB holds onto the ball too long because he can't diagnose pre-snap the blitz and identify the appropriate hot read that is a lot different than say having Isiah Turnstile trying to block an all--pro DE who gets to the QB in under 2 secs despite the team only sending 4 rushers.
 

Cellar-Door

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So as an idea of how Pressure rate is a weird stat that varies....

pro-footballreference has their own version... they have Mac at 12.6% and Zappe at 13.2%

Honestly for the Football Outsiders number I can't figure out how they measure pressure, but just looking at their data I assume it's incredibly stupid by the fact that they argue that almost every QB in the league is getting pressured 1 in 4 dropbacks, most more like 1/3. If your pressure metric is that sensitive, it's useless.
 

FL4WL3SS

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Exactly pressure rate should really be re-examined as a stat, it is about as useful as RBI in baseball since context is what matters, not the outcome. If a QB holds onto the ball too long because he can't diagnose pre-snap the blitz and identify the appropriate hot read that is a lot different than say having Isiah Turnstile trying to block an all--pro DE who gets to the QB in under 2 secs despite the team only sending 4 rushers.
To be fair to Mac, he's one of the quickest to get rid of the ball.
 

ponch73

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Bedard making the case for Jones makes me desperately want BB to do exactly the opposite. I find Bedard to be pompous and insufferable.

I also struggle to understand why he thinks Jones deserves a higher grade than either of Zappe's games this year for the 2021 Dallas, both 2021 Miami, 2021 Tampa, 2021 Buffalo playoff and 2022 Baltimore games. It's almost like his grading doesn't take into account QB turnovers at all.

In Mac's defense, however, why hasn't he received the same kind of offensive gameplanning as Zappe? Why don't they run more play action with Mac? Why don't they run more pre-snap motion?
Zappe's performance thus far pushing Mac into becoming a much better QB would be an ideal outcome for the Patriots.
 

Eddie Jurak

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I also struggle to understand why he thinks Jones deserves a higher grade than either of Zappe's games this year for the 2021 Dallas, both 2021 Miami, 2021 Tampa, 2021 Buffalo playoff and 2022 Baltimore games. It's almost like his grading doesn't take into account QB turnovers at all.
The answer to this is the quality of the defenses. Cleveland and Detroit, Zappe's opponents, have 2 of the worst defenses in the NFL, maybe the worst defenses in the NFL.

In Mac's defense, however, why hasn't he received the same kind of offensive gameplanning as Zappe? Why don't they run more play action with Mac? Why don't they run more pre-snap motion?
At least some of it has to do with Mac playing from behind in a lot of his games vs. Zappe always playing with a lead.

And as good as the Pats' offense has been overall in the past 3 games, it has still struggled in the red zone.
 

Shaky Walton

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That Volin favors Mac is a reason to favor Zappe. Volin is the closest thing in the Bosotn media to Ivan ("always wrong") Ackerman from Annie Hall.

View: https://youtu.be/1VIBA_mPdPA


On a more serious note, the only thing we know is that Bill is going to play the QB who he thinks will give him the best shot to win, regardless of the fall out.

My bet is that he's going to go with Zappe. Mac made a lot of mental mistakes while he was playing and while Zappe has undoubtedly made some too, they have not been as glaring or as costly. Mac also seemed to be pressing while Bailey looks like he is playing "easy." I'm guessing Bill will go with Zappe again against the Bears to increase the sample size, especially if Mac is not 100% by game time.

High class problem they have there in Foxboro compared to the Cam days.
 

DJnVa

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I'm guessing Bill will go with Zappe again against the Bears to increase the sample size, especially if Mac is not 100% by game time.
Isn't the question what BB does when Mac *is* 100%?

I don't buy the Volin stuff at all--the players think Mac got a big head yet voted him a captain? Meh.
 

joe dokes

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Isn't the question what BB does when Mac *is* 100%?

I don't buy the Volin stuff at all--the players think Mac got a big head yet voted him a captain? Meh.
Volin will write whatever he thinks will generate complications for Belichick. Belichick doesn't given him the time of day like he does Reiss or Steve Burton.
 

8slim

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On a more serious note, the only thing we know is that Bill is going to play the QB who he thinks will give him the best shot to win, regardless of the fall out.

My bet is that he's going to go with Zappe. Mac made a lot of mental mistakes while he was playing and while Zappe has undoubtedly made some too, they have not been as glaring or as costly. Mac also seemed to be pressing while Bailey looks like he is playing "easy." I'm guessing Bill will go with Zappe again against the Bears to increase the sample size, especially if Mac is not 100% by game time.

High class problem they have there in Foxboro compared to the Cam days.
I agree with your take on who BB will play, but I think that means he'll reinsert Mac as the starter when he's ready to go. I love the Zappe story, but I suspect Bill would attribute a huge chunk of his success to the game planning and coaching of Patricia and Judge. I mean we know that Zappe would never have seen the field had Hoyer not gotten hurt. I have a really hard time believing Zappe has gone from 3rd stringer who's not ready to take snaps from an utterly washed up Hoyer, to supplanting Mac, in 2 1/2 weeks.

But of course, what do I know, it's just fun to discuss.
 

PedrosRedGlove

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I agree with your take on who BB will play, but I think that means he'll reinsert Mac as the starter when he's ready to go. I love the Zappe story, but I suspect Bill would attribute a huge chunk of his success to the game planning and coaching of Patricia and Judge. I mean we know that Zappe would never have seen the field had Hoyer not gotten hurt. I have a really hard time believing Zappe has gone from 3rd stringer who's not ready to take snaps from an utterly washed up Hoyer, to supplanting Mac, in 2 1/2 weeks.

But of course, what do I know, it's just fun to discuss.
I still lean this way as well, I'm loving the Zappe experience but right now believe Mac will be back when healthy, we obviously have not seen enough from Zappe yet.

The bolded is an interesting aspect that I think goes overlooked. Bill loves to talk about getting better, player growth and trajectory. We keep evaluating Mac vs. Zappe, which obviously Mac had the edge currently based on available tape and accomplishments. But I think part of the reason Bill has been so cagey around the subject is how quickly Bailey has ascended to where he is now, Week 6 going into 7. This is a kid that didn't look very impressive in preseason and is now flashing competent NFL skills and composure. Two years ago he was playing in the FCS. It's unbelievable to think he's supplanted Mac that quickly, but he's also shown a tremendous capacity to improve the last couple years. I think Bill is taking it day by day right now, cause even he may not know for sure what's going to happen over the next few weeks.

The nature of the injury also gives him some leeway to find out, Mac looks better but still clearly isn't 100%, and putting an immobile Mac back there would be a dangerous disservice to the player and the team. Bill can take his time evaluating the situation here.
 

dirtynine

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Bill does have an extra year to bring Zappe along, contract wise. Not that he’s punting on this season, but even if he liked Zappe marginally better, he could keep Mac in the spot because he has the leeway to and he perceives the choice as something that won’t change the course of this season in a huge way. Big picture, he now has the luxury of evaluating Mac fully over the rest of this year before making a decision (Zappe’s our guy!) that one way or another would spell the end of Mac’s useful time in NE.
 

BaseballJones

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Mac might be feeling real pressure to come back too soon. Zappe - regardless of the caliber of opponent - has done very well. The Patriots have a relatively easy (it's rarely actually *EASY* in the NFL) schedule the next few weeks so there's a good chance the Pats will pile up some more wins if Zappe is the QB. The more momentum Zappe builds, the more likely it is that BB keeps him in the role. So Mac might feel like he needs to get back soon. But he might not be fully ready to come back. So he might be putting himself in a very difficult position. Stay away and watch Zappe take the job. Hurry back to prevent that, and play not at full health, which could compromise his effectiveness.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Mac might be feeling real pressure to come back too soon. Zappe - regardless of the caliber of opponent - has done very well. The Patriots have a relatively easy (it's rarely actually *EASY* in the NFL) schedule the next few weeks so there's a good chance the Pats will pile up some more wins if Zappe is the QB. The more momentum Zappe builds, the more likely it is that BB keeps him in the role. So Mac might feel like he needs to get back soon. But he might not be fully ready to come back. So he might be putting himself in a very difficult position. Stay away and watch Zappe take the job. Hurry back to prevent that, and play not at full health, which could compromise his effectiveness.
If the reports are true that Mac's ankle is 85-90%, I'd guess that the best path going forward is to have Zappe play Monday against a Bears team that's not very good. It will give Mac yet another week or recovery, Zappe gets an opponent that he could do very well against, and then the team can reassess afterwards.
 

BaseballJones

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If the reports are true that Mac's ankle is 85-90%, I'd guess that the best path going forward is to have Zappe play Monday against a Bears team that's not very good. It will give Mac yet another week or recovery, Zappe gets an opponent that he could do very well against, and then the team can reassess afterwards.
I agree 100%. Makes all the sense in the world for Zappe to start this week. I do think that Mac must be personally feeling pressure to get back as soon as possible.
 

Bowhemian

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Shades of Ron Borges getting fooled by a fake Don Yee.

God, Volin's dumb.
I can't believe he rolled with it on the word of someone he didn't know who said he worked in the friggin' ticket office. Are there any people working in ticket offices in the NFL (or any pro league for that matter) privy to player/personnel information? It just seems ridiculous to me.
 

BaseballJones

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I'm not sure what to believe, whether that story is really true. But in any case, one thing I *do* know is that in today's twitter world, sports REPORTING has almost completely gone out the window. People post all kinds of stuff and "report" on all kinds of stuff with the scantest of real information. Certainly people in media go public with stuff that has next to no verification these days. Even guys with check marks next to their name often "report" stuff that's total BS.
 

Jimbodandy

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I agree 100%. Makes all the sense in the world for Zappe to start this week. I do think that Mac must be personally feeling pressure to get back as soon as possible.
If Mac is the confident guy that most people think that he is, he's not feeling the pressure. He thinks that he's an NFL starting quarterback.
 

BaseballJones

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If Mac is the confident guy that most people think that he is, he's not feeling the pressure. He thinks that he's an NFL starting quarterback.
Ah yes but the issue is what Bill Belichick thinks. Mac may see himself as a starting QB, but if BB sees Zappe’s success maybe Mac fears that BB will stick with BZ. Thus the potential pressure to hurry back.
 

JOBU

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I'm not sure what to believe, whether that story is really true. But in any case, one thing I *do* know is that in today's twitter world, sports REPORTING has almost completely gone out the window. People post all kinds of stuff and "report" on all kinds of stuff with the scantest of real information. Certainly people in media go public with stuff that has next to no verification these days. Even guys with check marks next to their name often "report" stuff that's total BS.
No doubt about it. Been that way for awhile now. It’s more important to be first than to be right in the world of twitter and social media.
 

Jimbodandy

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Ah yes but the issue is what Bill Belichick thinks. Mac may see himself as a starting QB, but if BB sees Zappe’s success maybe Mac fears that BB will stick with BZ. Thus the potential pressure to hurry back.
I think that I'm not communicating well.

Mac's confidence is reportedly such that he's not fearing what BB will do here. Mac may not earn or deserve the job, but I'd be extremely surprised if he's worried.
 

Bowhemian

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I'm not sure what to believe, whether that story is really true. But in any case, one thing I *do* know is that in today's twitter world, sports REPORTING has almost completely gone out the window. People post all kinds of stuff and "report" on all kinds of stuff with the scantest of real information. Certainly people in media go public with stuff that has next to no verification these days. Even guys with check marks next to their name often "report" stuff that's total BS.
Chris Mortensen, and his "11 of 12 underinflated balls" says hello.
 

chilidawg

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Volin may be the only person on the entire planet who might have believed, even for one micromillisecond, that BB was, at any time, giving any thought to *starting* Zappe over Hoyer against GB.
Why wouldn't BB be thinking about starting Zappe? Am I missing something here? I guess I don't pay much attention to the endless speculation threads, but it seems very plausible that who started against the Packers was very much a discussion internally.
 

joe dokes

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Why wouldn't BB be thinking about starting Zappe? Am I missing something here? I guess I don't pay much attention to the endless speculation threads, but it seems very plausible that who started against the Packers was very much a discussion internally.
Against Green Bay? Hoyer probably got 90% of the 1st team reps that week. Maybe more.
 

snowmanny

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Against Green Bay? Hoyer probably got 90% of the 1st team reps that week. Maybe more.
In BB we trust, etc. but I am confused as to how Hoyer looked better than Zappe in practice.

Hmmmmmm...maybe Jones won't be ready and Hoyer will be 100% cleared and reclaim his starting job.........and heads will explode.
 

joe dokes

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In BB we trust, etc. but I am confused as to how Hoyer looked better than Zappe in practice.
In hindsight, I suppose there's a chance he didnt look better than Zappe in practice.. From Tuesday, BB was saying "If Mac cant go, its Hoyer." Hoyer took 1st team reps on Wednesday and Thursday.
It's Ben Volin. At no time during that week was there more than a negligible chance that Zappe was starting against GB.
 

Zedia

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Hoyer also had a good first drive before they stalled out. Who knows, if he hadn't got knocked out maybe we'd all have Hoyer Fever!
 

DJnVa

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Why wouldn't BB be thinking about starting Zappe? Am I missing something here? I guess I don't pay much attention to the endless speculation threads, but it seems very plausible that who started against the Packers was very much a discussion internally.
I assume that Hoyer was always the starter against GB because he was the backup and they were hoping it was a short term injury and Hoyer could keep them afloat a few weeks due to schedule easing up after GB.
 

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In BB we trust, etc. but I am confused as to how Hoyer looked better than Zappe in practice.

Hmmmmmm...maybe Jones won't be ready and Hoyer will be 100% cleared and reclaim his starting job.........and heads will explode.
Hoyer hasn't thrown a pick since 2020. Mac has thrown 20. Hoyer should be QB1!

It will be fascinating to see the Patriots' QB situation unfold over time. I wonder how much of a jump Zappe could make in terms of arm strength during the offeason.
 

rodderick

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I really, really, don't think Bill is the kind of coach who would make depth chart concessions to appease his second year quarterback. Hoyer was the backup in training camp, Hoyer was the backup in preseason, and Zappe was inactive the first three weeks of the season. There's nothing to indicate Bill thought of Zappe as the backup or wanted to start him against the Packers.
 

Shaky Walton

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I really, really, don't think Bill is the kind of coach who would make depth chart concessions to appease his second year quarterback. Hoyer was the backup in training camp, Hoyer was the backup in preseason, and Zappe was inactive the first three weeks of the season. There's nothing to indicate Bill thought of Zappe as the backup or wanted to start him against the Packers.
Based on his history...

- Benching Kosar;

- Benching Bledsoe for Brady;

- Cutting Milloy;

- Not playing Butler against the Eagles on defense;

- Letting AV walk; and

- Countless other non conventional and unpopular at the time moves,

there is no reason to think that if Bill thought that playing Zappe was in the best interests of the football team at the time, he would have held off from doing so.

My guess is that while he viewed Zappe as having more long term upside than Hoyer, that Hoyer would be the better band aid and bridge to when Mac could return. He probably also thought that Zappe would benefit from more seasoning given that actual first year QBs often experience growing pains.
 

ponch73

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I really, really, don't think Bill is the kind of coach who would make depth chart concessions to appease his second year quarterback. Hoyer was the backup in training camp, Hoyer was the backup in preseason, and Zappe was inactive the first three weeks of the season. There's nothing to indicate Bill thought of Zappe as the backup or wanted to start him against the Packers.
This has already been debunked. Ben Volin got trolled by someone on Twitter and reported a fake DM as fact. By all accounts, Mac is nothing but a team first guy who is beloved in the locker room. Zappe himself has had nothing but praise for Mac.
 

Dr. Gonzo

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View: https://twitter.com/MikeReiss/status/1583098250630148096?s=20&t=gjmtTtVVwwmOotMC7s92XQ


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones expects to be available for the team's Monday Night Football game against the visiting Chicago Bears, sources told ESPN.
Jones, who has been inactive the past three games, has told teammates that his recovery from a high left ankle sprain he suffered Sept. 25 has progressed, with a final hurdle to be cleared in practice. The Patriots' first practice of the week is scheduled for Thursday.