ESPN analyst Mike Tannenbaum believes that New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones could be seen as an outside candidate to be the league’s MVP in 2022.
Mac Jones took on what is arguably the most poisoned of poisoned chalices last season when he was tasked to take over from Tom Brady as the quarterback of the New England Patriots. When you have to step into the footsteps of someone who was the face of the NFL and helped the franchise go from zero Super Bowls to the joint-most with six, the shoes may as well have belonged to the Jolly Green Giant they were so big.
Now he did have the slightly added benefit of having Cam Newton take over the role for a year between Brady’s departure and his arrival so he didn’t immediately have to step into Brady’s shadow, but after everything that Brady did, that shadow is going to be there for a long time.
But whatever pressure there was on Jones’ shoulders, he answered the bell in very impressive fashion.
A steady start
Having won the job in training camp after being picked at #15 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, Jones made a very smooth transition into the NFL.
He threw for 3,801 yards, completed 67.6% of his passes and threw for 22 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. Those numbers don’t sound that impressive, especially when put up against the established names in the league, but compared to other rookies, he certainly outshone them.
Take for instance Jacksonville Jaguars rookie and #1 pick Trevor Lawrence, who threw for 3,641 yards, but only completed 59.6% of his passes, and had 12 touchdowns against a league-leading 17 interceptions, or the New York Jets’ Zach Wilson who went 2,334 yards, 55.6%, 9 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, although that was admittedly in only 13 games compared to 17 for Jones and Lawrence.
Another one of my favorite moments of the 2021 Patriots season was this touchdown pass from Mac Jones.— Pats Buzz (@PatsBuzz) January 18, 2022
Sure, they didn’t win the game, but what a moment 🔥.
And it was that good start that makes Mike Tannenbaum believe that he could make a rather important step in his second year.
What’s he said?
Speaking on ESPN’s Get Up, Tannenbaum claimed that of all the second year quarterbacks taken in the league, he is in the best position to succeed and that he could put his stamp on the league when all is said and done by winning the league’s MVP award:
It certainly isn’t a rarity, after all Patrick Mahomes won the MVP in his 2nd year in the league, as did Lamar Jackson, so if everything is set up right for him, then he could make that jump. And it might well be the first major step he needs to start saying that this is his team now and step away from Brady’s shadow.