Josh McDaniels says he has ‘a lot of respect’ for Mac Jones, despite struggles


“A lot of respect for him, a lot of admiration for what he did when I was there. It’ll be a big challenge for us this week.”

Mac Jones and Josh McDaniels. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
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Mac Jones‘ best season was his 2021 rookie year under then-Patriots’ offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

Jones made the Pro Bowl that year, and helped the Patriots reach the playoffs. The Patriots went 10-7, and Jones threw for 3,801 yards and 22 touchdowns against 13 interceptions.

With Jones’s recent struggles, including back-to-back benchings over the last two weeks, the 2021 version of Jones seems far away.

But, McDaniels, now the head coach of the Raiders, says he still has a level of admiration for New England’s third-year quarterback.

“He’s played big in big games. He’s battled against really good teams, made some high-level throws, and hung in there,” McDaniels said during a recent Raiders press conference. “Very tough in the pocket, gets hit and gets right up and goes to the next play. So, a lot of respect for him, a lot of admiration for what he did when I was there. It’ll be a big challenge for us this week.”

McDaniels admitted that Jones has struggled with turnovers recently. He has eight, including six interceptions. But, McDaniels said that Jones still has traits that could lead to success.

“He’s a very talented player. Accuracy has always been a huge part of his game, touch, anticipation. He has all those things at a very high level,” McDaniels said.

“They’ve battled the same bug we’ve battled honestly, with the turnovers and losing opportunities through change of possession,” McDaniels continued. “So, I’m sure that’s something that they’re going to work hard at limiting and getting rid of, and it’s the same thing we’re talking about. But this is a guy who’s a very capable passer in every situation.”

McDaniels said that the Patriots are one of the best defensive teams in the league and that stopping Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott will be a focus for the Raiders this week.

“A lot of different things, a lot different challenges,” McDaniels said. “This is a different team than we played last December by far. Our team is different, theirs is too. They’ve got different coaches. This will be a big week of preparation for us.”