It was clear the moment the New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick Lamar Jackson’s contract stated that the NFL world would pick him up and see how far they could run with him.
“Without a doubt,” Belichick said recently. media conference, when asked if Jackson had answered questions about his ability to play out of the pocket. “He is the type of player, the MVP candidate. I think he answered them more than just. But, we will see what his contract is, and that will answer them.”
We’re used to Belichick foaming his opponents with more butter than a tomahawk steak fresh from the grill, before devouring it and moving on to the next meal to serve as fodder for the insatiable appetite of the greatest coach in NFL history.
To be sure, these comments only serve to fatten Jackson’s defense of the Patriots for Sunday.
Or maybe – just maybe – something else piques Belichick’s surprising interest in Jackson’s contract. To be fair, it was really weird to tell a coach who rarely delves into such topics publicly.
This does not mean that Mac Jones is a worse quarterback than Jackson or vice versa. We can save the pitchfork argument for another day.
But the fact that Jackson could be a better quarterback now can be demonstrated by the Patriots attack struggling to create explosive plays. As long as Belichick is the actual general manager, the Patriots likely won’t have a legitimate No. 1 receiver. Jones wouldn’t walk into the field and see anywhere near the offensive firepower range he had at the University of Alabama—at least not in New England.
Think of all the years Patriots fans salivated over the possibility of pairing legendary quarterback Tom Brady with an elite future abroad. He played with Randy Moss for an entire year and broke NFL records. But then it’s back to a good reception team with a receiver with a top shelf hole and a nice narrow end.
The difference with Brady being under center is the fact that he’s the greatest quarterback ever to play the game. Jones is really good at this point in his career, and with the right coach and system, he can raise that level even further.
But is this new offensive identity for the Patriots really the best for Jones? This isn’t a Patriot offense in the past as Brady would throw throws at players that no one had heard of.
It’s a first-run offense which will focus on the short passing game and limit your turn rate. That’s the opposite pole of Jones making deep throws to DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle for the championship winning team Alabama who was also taking out Nagy Harris from the backcourt.
Jackson is an anomaly due to the fact that he is a threat who runs his house. He’s got another headache entirely and his defenses have to reckon with his ability to smash games with his legs. His style of playing like a gauntlet fits in with what Belichick wants to do offensively.
Meanwhile, Jones looks a lot like Brady, who left for greener pastures and welcomed more talent into Tampa Bay. Imagine how drastically different Jones would look like if he were the one throwing in Mike Evans, Chris Goodwin, and Julio Jones.
But instead, he got stuck in a foul with Jacoby Myers, Nelson Agulor, Kendrick Bourne and Devante Parker. That’s not exactly a situation that anyone would describe as antiseptic for the 24-year-old midfielder. The Patriots reached the playoffs last year in Jones’ junior season after missing the following season in 2020.
There is always hope as long as Belichick barks instructions from the sidelines.
The whole Jackson contract talk is likely to be a sensation over nothing. Of course, that won’t stop fans from talking and speculating, especially if the Patriots continue to struggle this season. But there are plenty of obstacles to seeing this gossip as anything more than a dream talk.
Baltimore’s lead under center man is more steak than his fellow Patriots — for now.
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