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Mac Jones' catchable throws have lowered the New England Patriots' drop rate

Completions don’t come with style points, and New England Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones won’t be granted any additional yardage if he connects on a 60 mph pass while looking sleek in his uniform.

So don’t confuse the lofting passes that come out of Jones’ right hand for a total lack of arm strength. Instead, just try to ignore the fact that Jones always seems to be bleeding for some reason on his bulky jersey.

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While it’s true that Jones was justly knocked for a lack of natural throwing power coming out of Alabama and might not have optimal velocity on his passes, he’s also savvy while delivering the football. At least through the first 12 weeks of the season, his catchable throws have led to an all-time low drop rate for Patriots receivers and a 8-4 record that is good for first place in the AFC East.

The Patriots currently have the lowest drop rate in the NFL at just 3.3%. New England leads the next-best team by .3 percentage points. The Patriots have never had a lower drop rate in the PFF era, and it's the third-lowest of any team in that span.

Jones is currently the best rookie QB in the NFL and PFF’s seventh-highest graded (83.9) signal-caller. He ranks second among qualified NFL quarterbacks in drop rate behind Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals. New England receivers have caught the highest percentage of catchable footballs this season at 93.8%.

So, does Jones throw an especially “catchable” ball? Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels answered with an emphatic “definitely.”

“He has the awareness,” McDaniels said. “We talk about understanding who you're throwing it to and how far away they are. Because if you're talking about a (running) back on a checkdown who's seven yards in front of you, you don't need a howitzer to blow his helmet off. So, understanding that is a different throw than say the in-cut he rips in there to Kendrick Bourne the other day, where the window’s smaller and we need to get it in there quick because the window’s closing. 

“Any quarterback that is an accurate passer has good ball placement, has an understanding of changing up the pace of his throws and understanding who he's throwing to and what kind of throw is required in order to make it a successful throw. Mac does a nice job at basically all those things. I think we've seen a lot of different types of throws from him during the course of the year.”

Jones has made an art out of the touch pass this season.


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