A favorite target of New England’s last great quarterback has started to become a fan of its current one, too.
Mac Jones has led the Patriots to four consecutive wins and positioned them back into the playoff race for the final half of the season, and Julian Edelman, one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets and a close friend, is taking notice.
“The kid is dealing,” Edelman tweeted on Sunday, sending the tweet that tagged Jones just before halftime of New England’s game against the Cleveland Browns.
About five minutes before Edelman’s tweet, Jones had fired a 23-yard touchdown pass to Kendrick Bourne in between two Cleveland defenders, extending New England’s lead to 21-7 before the extra point. He ended the opening half 13-for-15 with 134 yards and a pair of touchdowns — with the earlier one coming via a 3-yard pass to Hunter Henry.
Jones’ 10th career start featured 45 consecutive points by the Patriots en route to their 45-7 win against the Browns. The No. 15 overall pick out of Alabama finished with just four incompletions and the best completion percentage (82.6%) of his young career. His 8.6 yards-per-pass average was also the second-highest of his career, trailing only New England’s overtime loss to Dallas on Oct. 17 when he averaged 10.9 yards per throw.
He’s operated with a level of efficiency that past rookie quarterbacks haven’t sustained over the course of a full season His 69% completion percentage for the year is on pace to break Dak Prescott’s 67.8% from 2016. ESPN analyst Ryan Clark said on Monday morning that Jones “is as good as Tom Brady, or probably better than Tom Brady was, when he became the QB of the Patriots.”
And now, after his tweet on Sunday, Edelman has joined the group of people to publicly acknowledge the trajectory Jones has established after 10 games. Edelman was a seventh-round pick by the Patriots in the 2009 NFL Draft, and finished his career with three 1,000-yard seasons alongside Brady.
Edelman retired before this season after he spent last offseason trying to fruitlessly convince Brady to stay with the Patriots, instead of fleeing in free agency. Brady left for the Buccaneers, but the quarterback of the future has officially arrived in Foxborough.