ESPN NFL analyst praises Mac Jones’ intangibles as a rookie


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“Neck-up, I’m not sure if we’ve seen a better beginner.”

McJones and the Patriots won their fifth game in a row on Thursday. Matthew J. Lee / GLOBE Staff

The Patriots’ defense has been a dominant force over their past few games, but it’s someone in attack that NFL analyst Ryan Clark calls “the greatest.”

During a segment of ESPN’s Get Up on Friday, Clarke stated how much he thinks Mac Jones is above his junior peers.

“You have a midfielder whose dangers come close to not letting football hit the ground,” Clark said. “It’s like you’re playing flag football and the coach’s son is the midfielder. Mac Jones plays at a very high level and he does everything you have to do to win football matches.”

Clarke has a point to talk about Jones’ ability to keep football off the ground. Jones completed 22 of 26 passes, representing an 84.6 completion percentage, in the Patriots’ win over the Hawks. That gave Jones a new season high, surpassing the season high he had set just four days earlier against Brown, which was 82.6 percent.

After his performance in the Premier League completion percentage, Jones now has the third-best completion percentage in the league at 70.2 percent.

In terms of transformations, Jones is roughly in the middle of the group. He threw eight interceptions in 11 games, with 2.3 interceptions ranking him 19th in the league. Jones has also lost a pair to fuss this season.

Of course, the legality of how much Jones was wrong in some of his transformations (such as his interception that bounced from the hands of Juno Smith against the Saints) can be debated. On the flip side, there may have been throws by Jones that should have led to interceptions. Either way, Clark really loves Jones’s intangibles.

“Mc Jones has some things in him, some intangibles, which I think is probably the greatest we’ve ever seen from a quarterback,” Clark said. “Now, that doesn’t mean he has the strongest arm. It doesn’t mean he’s the fastest. But from the neck up, I’m not sure if we’ve seen a better rookie. And it shows every day that he’s taking shots on the court.”

The former Stiller also praised the Patriots’ defense, calling them “Super Bowl caliber” while giving the Patriots an optimistic outlook for the rest of the season.

“When you watch Bill Belichick’s teams, what do we always see? They are a team that goes up as the season comes to a close – the New England Patriots become the team that gives it their best. We are watching this team develop,” Clark said. Two games against the Bills, they got the Titans, they got the Colts – I think we’re leaving that part of the football games saying the Patriots are the top-tier contenders to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

“I believe it with my heart. I don’t want to believe it with my mind, because I want to be able to find him but you can’t. This Patriots are playing very well and this is the best coaching job for Bill Belichick of his career.”

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