One of the biggest criticisms of Mac Jones entering the NFL last year was his supposed low ceiling. The Alabama prospect did not offer the biggest natural arm, nor some intriguing athletic traits to make him a dual-threat option at the next level. He also was seen as more scheme-dependent than other first-round prospects in 2021.
The New England Patriots did not care about any of this. Instead, they just said “thank you” when Jones dropped into their lap in last spring’s draft and picked him up as the 15th overall player off the board.
Jones quickly won New England’s starting gig over incumbent Cam Newton, and never looked back. He was the best of the NFL’s rookie quarterbacks during the 2021 season, led the Patriots back to the playoffs, and showed that he can be a very good quarterback at the next level despite his perceived shortcomings in some areas.
Fast forward to 2022, and Jones’ ceiling remains in the spotlight (heck, we even had to clear a few things up about it earlier this offseason). There are some valid concerns , but the fact remains that the sophomore QB has a lot of fans inside league circles and beyond.
Among the latter group is one Mr. Tom House. If that name sounds familiar it is because House is what we can refer to as a quarterback guru. He has worked with several of the best QBs in football. He is the Yoda to Tom Brady’s Luke Skywalker.
Earlier this week, House appeared on the Next Pats Podcast talking, among other things, about Jones.
“I think that Patriots fans realize, they got a quarterback that, between the ears, he’s way more experienced than it actually shows age-wise,” House told host Phil Perry. “If anything he was a little short on some physical things, mechanics were OK but nothing special.
“And what we found out with his hard work he’s actually matching up his physical and mental-emotional. That combination is going to make for a fun time with the fans of the Patriots this whole season.”
House went on to mention that Jones has shown some improvement in terms of throwing mechanics and footwork, and that he also keeps growing from a mental perspective. He knows what he is talking about: the two of them have spent some time this summer after Jones initiated the connection.
Needless to say that the former MLB pitcher knows a thing or two about the young QB. And he also knows about his potential and oft-discussed ceiling.
“The sky is the limit for this young man,” House said. “When an athlete comes to us for throwing mechanics, he’s also going to get functional strength training; he’s also going to get mental-emotional tricks; and he’s also going to look at sleeping and nutrition through recovery.
“When you talk about the wonders of trainability, here is a young man who is just at the beginning of his skill acquisition window, which is age 19/20 until age 34/35. So, if you do the math ... he’s got another 8-10 years of improvement ahead of him.”
House added that Jones was the master of his own fate as far as improvement is concerned, but that he is tackling the process with the same mindset as some of the elite athletes he has worked with. Instead of trying to make a massive leap in one day, he too is trying to “get a little bit better every day.”
As a result, House feels confident in Jones’ outlook.
You’re looking at a young man that is trying to get better at something every stinking day. The net result will be that what was a question mark about how well would he throw down the line, is getting better every day because he’s working at it,” he said.
“Nobody has a better work ethic than this young man. In fact, we have to talk about sometimes less is more. He’s a young man if you’re telling me he needs to do a 100 reps of something, he’ll give you 200 reps. We’re always trying to make sure in his mind that it’s nice to work hard but you don’t want to overwork. So, we’re balancing all those things of. Net result is that he is a better quarterback than he was a year ago and he should get better every year until 35, 36.”
House went on to say that Jones has improved his throwing efficiency and that he has gotten better functionally. For him, the results should be improvement across the board: range, accuracy, you name it.
How all of that will look like in an actual game setting remains to be seen, but House is painting a pretty optimistic picture.
“It could be kind of special this season.”
The talk about Mac Jones is just one part of Phil’s interview with Tom House. Please make sure to check out the whole thing right here.