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Ryan Clark: Mac Jones is Better Than Tom Brady Was in His First Year With Patriots

Liam McKeone
Mac Jones
Mac Jones / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages
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Mac Jones has helped the New England Patriots win four straight games and catapult themselves back into the playoff picture after a shaky start. Some games, Jones' only responsibility is to not screw up and let the run game and defense do the winning. Others, the Patriots need Jones to make a handful of critical throws at key moments to emerge victorious. He's done exactly what he's needed to and the team is rolling as a result.

Jones' stats aren't exactly eye-popping. Through 10 games, he's thrown for 2,333 yards, 10 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He has completed 69 percent of his passes, which will be an NFL record for a rookie QB if that number holds. Those numbers tell us that Jones is not dragging his team to victory week after week, but he's been as steady as anyone could hope for and hasn't made as many errors as one would expect a first-year signal-caller to make.

Because of the team Jones plays for, comparisons to Tom Brady are inevitable in some shape or form. Nobody is saying Jones is the second coming of Brady, but Ryan Clark declared on Get Up this morning that Jones is better than Brady was in his first year under center. Which obviously portends a positive future for the Patriots, even if Jones won't be giving Brady a run for his money as the greatest quarterback ever.

The numbers lean Clark's way in this argument. In 14 games as a starter back in 2001, Brady threw for a total of 2,843 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. Jones is easily on track to eclipse those yards and TD numbers slightly over halfway through the season, although he is also on track to throw more picks. Jones will also have an extra game on his season statline to take into consideration when it's all said and done.

Perhaps the most important and relevant stat is that Jones has already lost more games in his first year under center than Brady did. Brady went 11-3 before running the gauntlet in the playoffs. Jones lost four of his first six games before rattling off the four-game win streak the Patriots are currently enjoying.

In the end, it's not really fair or possible to compare the two considering the seasons in question took place two decades apart. Football is an entirely different game in 2021 than it was in 2001 in every sense. And Jones being better or worse than Brady as a rookie doesn't really indicate much of anything. Brady's rookie season was fine and it took him six years to become the defense-destroying monster we now know him as. Jones could blow Brady's first-year stats out of the water and still never come close to winning even one Super Bowl, much less seven.

But hope and optimism for the future is part of the fun. Jones' looks real bright right about now, and as a result so does New England's.

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