Mac Jones

Jones has some work to do before real games begins

NFL exhibition games, the cotton candy of professional sports, always come with a disclaimer:

Don’t read very much into this (even though we make our season-ticket holders pay the full freight for them).

It has been suggested that the only accurate way of judging where a team stands as the real games approach is to watch them in their private practice games. Season ticket holders can’t buy their way into those even if they want to, and reporters mostly must rely on second- or third-hand information as to what did or didn’t happen.

So, official logic insists that Friday’s blue-plate special in Las Vegas, pitting the Patriots against the Raiders, meant absolutely nothing. But since it was the final sliver of evidence on which we must rely to offer an assessment as to what might happen when the real games start two weeks from now, there can be only one conclusion:

The Pats sort of look kind of lousy.

Only the work stuffed between the opening kickoff and the halfway point of the second quarter held our attention. That’s about the time that Mac Jones led most of the starters to the sidelines.

From there, as we were frequently reminded by announcers Bob Socci and Scott Zolak, the activity was important only to those players facing expulsion as the final roster is constructed.

Jones did not look ready. One might go so far as to suggest that he looked closer to bewildered than confident.

His shift ended with numbers at the summit of mediocrity. He threw 13 passes, completing nine, not including the one caught by Raiders linebacker Luke Masterson.

It looked like Jones’ couldn’t see Masterson – or anything else, except Isaiah Wynn’s backside, when he tried to complete a pass over the middle to Kendrick Bourne.

The most important number marking Jones’ presence was three – the points scored while he was on the field.

The Pats’ defense defined the bend-but-don’t-break measuring stick. But it did do plenty of bending.

By the time New England clicked on NESN to watch the Red Sox and Rays, it didn’t take great football genius to conclude the following:

The Patriots have lots to work on before they go to Miami for their Sept. 11 opener.

This can’t be as good as it gets … can it?

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