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How Bill Belichick showed confidence in Mac Jones: AFC East analysis


Bill Belichick makes use of his press conferences as a platform to ship all types of various messages. Sometimes, he delivers wakeup calls, light nudges and easy affirmations. 

Other occasions, he is spreading disinformation.

But the New England Patriots coach showed what appeared like real help for quarterback Mac Jones on Monday following the group’s 22-17 win over the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. The coach was requested about Jones’ interception throughout Belichick’s weekly look on WEEI sports activities radio.

“The interception yesterday, he bought hit as he was throwing the ball. If the pass-blocking may very well be higher, that will assist,” Belichick stated.

Belichick didn’t fully absolve Jones from blame. But the coach did defend his quarterback. And, sure, I can think about some folks is likely to be pondering: What would you like Belichick to say? Well, he might have stated the entire group wanted to get higher. Instead, Belichick remoted his offensive line as an issue on that play, thereby shifting blame off Jones.

More essential than what Belichick stated was what Belichick did in Week 8. The Patriots determined to aim two fourth-down conversions. Both occasions, New England lined up in shotgun. Both occasions, New England allowed Jones to dictate the end result of the play.

That’s an enormous alternative for Jones to show himself. The Patriots and Belichick clearly had confidence in Jones. They entrusted the quarterback with the ball in pivotal moments. It hasn’t all the time been like that. 

New England has tried simply six fourth-down makes an attempt this season, the seventh-fewest in the NFL. The Patriots tried the fourth-fewest in 2021 with 17. That was Jones’ first full season as a starter, and you bought the sense they did not belief him (or the offense as a complete) to transform.

So this was an enormous shift, notably towards a Jets protection that ranks sixth in yards allowed per recreation and twelfth in factors allowed per recreation. They have allowed opponents to transform on simply 30.8% of third downs this 12 months (4/13), fourth-best in the NFL. (All stats account for Week 8.)

Even with Jones going through a protection that is excellent, particularly on fourth down, the Patriots allowed him two cracks at fourth-down conditions close to or in the purple zone.

The first alternative did not go nicely. On fourth-and-1 from the Jets’ 21-yard line, Jones rolled disregarded of the shotgun and, although he had Hunter Henry open, Jones stared down Jakobi Meyers and tried to ship him downfield. It ended in miscommunication, with Jones floating the ball incomplete to a spot the place Meyers wasn’t.

But then Jones made the coach’s pair of fourth-down makes an attempt worthwhile. 

On fourth-and-1 from the 5-yard-line, the Patriots referred to as a play out of empty. That’s only a signal of immense confidence. Not solely did the Patriots belief Jones to throw the ball on fourth down, however New England trusted Jones to throw out of a formation that telegraphs a passing play to the protection.

The play design freed up Meyers for a simple reception, and the receiver stumbled into the tip zone for a landing.

Rather than accept a pair of field-goal makes an attempt, which doubtless would have yielded six factors, the Patriots opted for a pair of fourth-down conversions that ended with a seven-point return.

Why?

Because they belief Jones, apparently. At least, that is what it seemed like this week. And that is an essential growth, given Jones’ tough touchdown-to-interception ratio (3 touchdowns, 7 interceptions) and quarterback controversy with backup Bailey Zappe

“I assumed Mac did a pleasant job,” Belichick stated Monday. “We had strain on fairly a couple of cross performs, greater than we wish, for certain. I assumed he made good choices and needed to pull the ball down a few occasions and make some key runs for us.”

New England is signaling it desires Jones to step up and be the man. This week towards the Jets, he bought it accomplished.

WR Elijah Moore sounds off about discontent. But can the Jets afford to commerce him?

Following the Jets’ loss to the Patriots, receiver Elijah Moore stated it did not matter whether or not he nonetheless wished to be traded or not. He was with the Jets, and he was going to assist them win.

Alas, there weren’t many alternatives for him to do this on Sunday. He performed simply 10 snaps, fewest amongst all offensive gamers who performed. He tried to say the correct issues after the sport — not less than briefly. But his frustration showed in yet one more recreation when he had zero receptions.

He was requested if he and Zach Wilson are struggling to develop chemistry.

“I do not even know, I could not even let you know. I do not get the ball. I do not know,” Moore stated with fun.

Moore demanded a commerce after Week 6, when he completed with zero targets and 0 catches in a win over the Packers. The Jets made him inactive for Week 7, with coach Robert Saleh downplaying Moore’s discontent. When Corey Davis went down with an damage, it appeared like a possibility for Moore to take a extra substantial position in the offense. Alas, he performed WR5 behind Garrett Wilson, Denzel Mims, Braxton Berrios and Jeff Smith.

“With Corey being out, simply an opportunity to get Garrett on the sector extra,” Saleh stated. “So we’ll discover a technique to get [Moore] extra ops on the sector.”

If you’re feeling confused by that quote, that is as a result of Saleh’s feedback do not make any sense.

The NFL commerce deadline is Tuesday. If I have been a betting man, I’d wager Moore nonetheless desires to get traded. That a lot is clear.

If the correct compensation (perhaps a second-rounder) comes in, the Jets ought to contemplate it. But on condition that Zach Wilson seemed like a large number in Week 8, New York ought to desire to patch issues up with Moore. He is an explosive playmaker in a passing offense which will have to have YAC-minded receivers, if Wilson continues to have points. A tough-to-tackle participant equivalent to Moore may also help Wilson generate massive performs with out having to throw downfield. 

New York is in a tricky spot. The Jets want Moore. And they did not do something to place out the flames in the group’s unhealthy relationship with the man who needs to be their No. 2 receiver.

Even Josh Allen is aware of his turnovers might show expensive

The Bills did what I assumed they’d do: They beat up on a nasty Packers group. The one factor that shocked me was Josh Allen’s play in the second half. He struggled. And probably not as a result of the Packers have been forcing him into errors. He simply unhealthy made choices that demonstrated an absence of situational consciousness. 

His group had management of the sport in all three phases. He did not have to press to make performs. But that is what he didn’t as soon as however twice. And the Packers protection made him pay with two second-half interceptions that saved Green Bay in the sport.

“The solely manner that group will get again in it’s if I flip the ball over — and [I had] two silly ones that I had no enterprise throwing,” Allen stated postgame.

The factor is, I preserve saying that Allen’s interceptions are going to hang-out him. And they do not. The Bills are so good that Allen’s propensity for turnovers hasn’t been a difficulty. But Allen is tied at fifth in the NFL for interceptions with six. I feel when the playoffs roll round, he should do higher there. 

Against the Chiefs, he cannot afford these errors.

Safety Jevon Holland is the Dolphins‘ solely hope to carry off opposing passing offenses

The Miami secondary is coping with no scarcity of accidents, and it showed in Week 8. Lions quarterback Jared Goff lit up the Dolphins for 321 yards and a landing whereas finishing 71% of his passes.

The Dolphins are awaiting the return of cornerback Byron Jones (Achilles), they usually have misplaced security Brandon Jones (ACL) and cornerback Nik Needham (Achilles) for the 12 months. That’s three of the group’s 5 starters in the secondary. So the group’s backups tried to carry issues collectively in a shootout towards the Lions on Sunday. The Dolphins gained 31-27, however Tua Tagovailoa and the offense needed to overcome a considerable deficit. And whereas the offense beat up on the Lions’ league-worst protection, my eyes have been drawn to the Dolphins protection.

The participant I discovered myself watching most was Jevon Holland, who acquired a recreation ball from coach Mike McDaniel after the sport. Holland completed with the group’s second-lowest protection grade in PFF. He allowed 5 catches on 5 targets for 123 yards.

Yikes, proper?

But you may see in the movie why McDaniel appreciated a few of what he noticed from Holland. The security flew across the subject as a run defender and made sound tackles. He additionally logged a PBU on a goal for Amon-Ra St. Brown, with cornerback Xavien Howard in protection. Holland flew in to punch the ball away from St. Brown and prevented a piece acquire.

That’s the sort of play the Dolphins want out of Holland. He must be the security valve on this protection. He can’t be a legal responsibility, which — at occasions — he was in Week 8. Kalif Raymond burned Holland for 43 yards, and T.J. Hockenson logged a 58-yarder on Holland. That merely cannot occur.

Holland made the All-Rookie Team in Year 1. His potential was plain. But the Dolphins secondary wants him to begin enjoying like a refined veteran. Because their secondary has points. Big ones. And he looks like the one answer.

Prior to becoming a member of FOX Sports because the AFC East reporter, Henry McKenna spent seven years overlaying the Patriots for USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Boston Globe Media. Follow him on Twitter at @McKennAnalysis.


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