There were plenty of Jimmy Garoppolo rumors involving the Patriots over the NFL offseason, but instead of making a trade to re-acquire the veteran quarterback, New England selected Alabama star Mac Jones with the No. 15 pick in the 2021 draft.
The decision has worked out well for the Patriots so far.
Jones has been one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the league with the fourth-best completion percentage (71.1) through six weeks. His best performance arguably came last Sunday when he went toe-to-toe with Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys in a 35-29 overtime loss.
One player who’s caught passes from both Garoppolo and Jones is Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne.
He was asked Tuesday on 98.5 The Sports Hub show “Zolak and Bertrand” about some of the differences between the two quarterbacks, and his answer was interesting.
Question: How much is different from the way Jimmy delivered the ball in the pocket from a timing and velocity perspective, and now you’re dealing with a 23-year-old rookie. What’s the difference?
Bourne: “The velocity part is just — Mac, he’s throwing it hard, but when you catch it, it’s like a pillow. I can definitely say that. He’s special, man. Jimmy’s got a rifle and it comes in harder. That’s the difference I would say about the two. Timing-wise, I wouldn’t say they’re that different. They’re both pretty solid. It’s all about the pocket and pressure and stuff like that. Velocity is just the most difference between them, that’s what I would say.
“Mac, man, I’m really blessed to be in a situation with him, starting this new era of New England football. It’s the same, but with new players. I’m happy to be a part of it. We’re showing a lot of flashes. I’m appreciative of that, and it just shows we got potential. If you’ve got potential, you know the ceiling is high. That play was just amazing, too. It’s just crazy how it’s playing out. The future is really bright, as well all can see.”
Kendrick Bourne describes the differences between catching balls from Mac Jones and Jimmy Garoppolo to @ZoandBertrand 👇— NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Coverage (@NBCSPatriots) October 19, 2021
"Mac's throwing it hard, but when you're catching it, it's likes a pillow… he's special." pic.twitter.com/OvcJm2v7GC
The amazing play Bourne is referring to came late in the fourth quarter Sunday when Jones hit the veteran wideout for a 75-yard touchdown.
Jones had thrown a pick-6 on the Patriots’ previous drive, which gave Dallas a 26-21 lead with 2:27 remaining. Instead of dwelling on the mistake, Jones put it behind him and stepped up with the longest throw of his career at a key moment in the game.
It was a great example of the resiliency that helped Jones so much at Alabama, and it certainly didn’t go unnoticed by his Patriots teammates and a couple of the Cowboys players, including Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott.