August 10, 2022

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Peter Schrager joins NFL media members calling for…

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Patriots players react to Celtics' buzzer-beater...

The New England Patriots would’ve ranked among the most surprising teams in the AFC in 2021 if they weren’t the Patriots, packed with mystique and an infrastructure everyone believes in.

Mac Jones falling into their laps in the middle of the first round after the 49ers had nearly traded up to get him? That would’ve been downright shocking, instead of par for the course for a franchise that usually finds its bearings. For better or worse, the Patriots’ two decades of success has led to them getting either buried or illuminated in the national media.

When they’re 2-4? It’s time to get LOUD about them and speculate about whether the end is near, six or seven years before the end actually arrives.

But when they’re 7-2, trotting along atop the league as per usual? They’re the unspoken wallpaper. Of course they’re good. Let’s speculate about Lamar Jackson.

That ambition has led to Patriots second-year quarterback Mac Jones getting somewhat discounted nationally entering 2022, despite a sterling first full season that marked him as one of the young guns who seems capable of leading a franchise for the next five to ten years. With very little help in the passing game, Jones went 10-7 and tossed for 3,801 yards and 22 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. The talent (and leadership) translated, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t be more comfortable — and powerful — in 2022.

Congratulations to Good Morning Football’s Peter Schrager, who went out on a limb that shouldn’t be a limb this week, and declared himself to be the rare non-Bostonian who hasn’t forgotten about Mac.

Patriots QB Mac Jones will be having a massive Year 2

Not sure that corner is as “tiny” as Schrager seems to think it is — or maybe we just exist in an echo chamber surrounded by Boston-based Patriots rooters who believe in Jones’ talent and leadership skills.

Regardless, it’s nice to see a major national voice not allow the Patriots to get lost in the 2022 shuffle, especially considering they were the best team in football from mid-October through early December, with Jones leading the charge as a Pro Bowl rookie. If this were any other team, one that hadn’t just wrapped up the Tom Brady Era, the prognosticators would be all over Jones, who at least had the courtesy to lay out a playoff path by … well, by making the playoffs, finishing sixth in points per game as a greenhorn.

Josh Allen’s Bills should be the favorite in the AFC East. But just because Tua Tagovailoa has a shiny new toy (we think … how many times has a flashy move worked out in Miami?) doesn’t mean Jones should be counted out. Perhaps it’ll take until September, but there will likely be plenty of other people on Schrager’s island soon enough.

Peter Schrager joins NFL media members calling for big Mac Jones Year 2