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The Patriots and also Tom Brady (left) prevented Ben Roethlisberger from coming to be the first rookie to take it his team come the Super bowl in January 2005.GENE J. PUSKAR
Bill Belichick has actually coached 459 regular-season and also postseason gamings in 26 seasons as one NFL head coach v the Browns and Patriots.

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In exactly six of those 459 games did Belichick begin a rookie quarterback: Two through Jacoby Brissett in 2016, and also four with Eric Zeier with the 1995 Browns. Belichick is 2-4 in those games.

But Belichick, also after every these years, has never been afraid to shot something new. He’s opened a new era that Patriots football by beginning the 2021 season with rookie first-round pick Mac Jones as his beginning quarterback.


Though he is only turning 23 ~ above Sunday, Jones impression Belichick and the coaching staff with his maturity, leadership, and performance transparent the last 5 weeks of maintain camp.


“I simply think Mac has been exceptionally poised,” stated receivers coach troy Brown, the longtime Patriot. “He’s to be able to boost over the course of maintain camp, and he’s put in the work, and also just to be a trusted player for us since he’s gotten here. He’s just been a tremendous leader.”

If Tom Brady made background last year by becoming the earliest quarterback ever to win a Super key (for the 2nd time), Belichick and also Jones deserve to chase your own background this year:

No rookie quarterback has ever reached the Super key in the game’s 55 years, let alone victory it. Only 22 rookie QBs have actually started a playoff video game (11-21 as whole record), and only 3 have also reached the conference championship game: note Sanchez (2009 Jets), Joe Flacco (2008 Ravens), and also Ben Roethlisberger (2004 Steelers). The Buccaneers’ Shaun King likewise started the NFC Championship video game in the 1999 season together a late-season injury replacement.


Rookie QBs who won playoff gamesOnly a grasp of rookie quarterbacks won a playoff game during their an initial season in the NFL — but one, man Wolford, go it critical season. Here"s a rundown.PlayerTeamSeasonNo. That wins
John WolfordRams20201
Russell WilsonSeahawks20121
T.J. YatesTexans20111
Mark SanchezJets20092
Joe FlaccoRavens20082
Ben RoethlisbergerSteelers20041
Aaron BrooksSaints19991
Shaun KingBuccaneers19991
Dieter BrockRams19851

And do no mistake, winning the Super bowl is the Patriots’ goal this year, also with a rookie under center. You don’t spend $175 million guarantee in cost-free agency to go 8-9 and play for draft positioning.


But Jones, that won a national championship in ~ Alabama critical season, has a the majority of believers, specifically after his power in three preseason games.

“Mac’s made some pretty innovative throws,” stated Cris Collinsworth, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” analyst.

“When ns watch Mac this year, i don’t want to say it looked like Tom Brady, however it looked favor Tom Brady’s offense.”

Rookie success in the postseason is rare, but has become more common end the last 2 decades. In 2008, Flacco and also Matt Ryan both got to the playoffs at 11-5, through Flacco progressing to the conference championship. In 2012, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson all won at the very least nine games and reached the playoffs. Dak Prescott go 13-3 to win the NFC eastern in 2016, and Lamar Jackson took over in the second fifty percent to command the Ravens to the playoffs in 2018.

Roethlisberger (2004), Kyle Orton (2005), Sanchez (2009), and Andy Dalton (2011) room the other rookie quarterbacks this century to with the playoffs.


Rookie QBs to lead their teams to the playoffs because 2000Rookie success in the postseason is rare, however is becoming an ext common over the previous two decades. Here"s a watch at all the QBs who have actually made the playoffs in their rookie season, and also how they performed as soon as they gained there.PlayerTeamSeasonRegular-season recordPlayoff record
Lamar JacksonRavens20186-10-1
Dak PrescottCowboys201613-30-1
Andrew LuckColts201211-50-1
Robert Griffin IIIWashington201210-60-1
Russell WilsonSeahawks201211-51-1
Andy DaltonBengals20119-70-1
Mark SanchezJets20099-72-1
Joe FlaccoRavens200811-52-1
Matt RyanFalcons200811-50-1
Kyle OrtonBears200511-50-1
Ben RoethlisbergerSteelers200415-11-1

The two elements shared by most of those 11 teams: running the ball and a strong defense. Ripe of the 11 groups were top 5 in the NFL in either rushing offense or point out allowed, and also six of the groups were top five in both. The 2009 Jets with Sanchez were No. 1 in both categories. The only team to with the playoffs without succeeding in rushing offense and also points enabled was the 2012 Colts v Luck, that finished 22nd and 21st, respectively.


The 2021 Patriots to be seemingly developed with a rookie QB in mind. The Patriots’ defense have to be one of the finest in the NFL through the returns of Dont’a Hightower and Kyle van Noy and also the addition of Matt Judon. Top top offense, the Patriots should be heavy with the run and also play-action pass, featuring two good tight ends in Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, a deep steady of to run backs led through Damien Harris and also James White, and also what watch to be a an excellent offensive line enhanced by the return of tackle Trent Brown.


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Hunter Henry (left) and Jonnu blacksmith (right) give Mac Jones a stellar pair the tight end targets throughout the middle this season.Steven Senne/Associated Press

“The best thing girlfriend can provide a young quarterback is a an excellent offensive line, and the Patriots will certainly be a top-five attack line this year,” said ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky, a former 11-year NFL quarterback. “Their violation is going to be a smash-you-in-the-face operation game. They’re going to turn back time a little bit, pound the football, and also then the ideal quarterback in college football critical year at play-action was Mac Jones.”

Former Saints GM Randy Mueller claimed the 2021 Patriots have actually the exact same look as the 2001 Patriots, that won the supervisor Bowl through Tom Brady in his second year together a player.

“I took a Saints team to new England the year,” Mueller tweeted (edited because that clarity). ″It was the physicality and how castle knocked us earlier on both lines that was discussed on the plane ride home. attack line and defense in ‘21 could be as good, and a big factor.”


Former longtime NFL coach Mike Sherman to be the Dolphins’ attack coordinator in 2012 once rookie Ryan Tannehill go 7-9. Sherman, who additionally coached Tannehill at Texas A&M, said Tannehill benefited from playing in the same scheme together he walk in college, and also so need to Jones in going native Alabama to brand-new England. Jones’s offensive coordinator because that his freshman year at Alabama was Brian Daboll, the longtime Patriots’ coach that is now the Bills’ offensive coordinator.

“He basically ran a pro-style offense at Alabama. The was most likely not quite as detailed as brand-new England is, however he probably won’t check out a hell of a the majority of difference,” Sherman said. “He’s walk be presented to more concepts — specifically on defense, disguises the defenses will employ. Ns think this quarterback will be tested to the nth degree, and also I think he’s more than agree of that challenge.”

Orlovsky said Jones will probably experience growing pains in two areas: deserve to he acquire to his 3rd read quickly enough, and also can the not-so-swift Jones to escape pressure? but Orlovsky was impressed v how easily Jones handle things throughout the preseason.

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“He’s not a quick person, yet he theatre fast,” Orlovsky said. “If you’ve gained a really great grasp that what the defense is going to do, you have the right to cancel the end choices before the sphere gets snapped. And I think that does a great job of that, because he plays for this reason fast.”


Collinsworth doesn’t think the Patriots have to hold much earlier with Jones. That sees a quarterback that is picking points up quickly.

“I nothing think castle going to water the down. Ns think castle going come play,” Collinsworth said. “He simply looks for this reason calm and in control and also making the ideal throws. If you didn’t recognize he to be a rookie, friend wouldn’t also be asking the question.”