Does Mac Jones need to leave the past behind -- or try to recapture it?
That's been a subject of debate this week after the New England Patriots quarterback told Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer he wants to "(go) back to Alabama Mac" in 2023 by adopting a mindset similar to what he had in college with the Crimson Tide.
While Jones has received some pushback for those comments -- FOX Sports' Nick Wright says the QB is "delusional" if he thinks he can recreate the same circumstances he had at Alabama -- our Phil Perry is fully on board with what he sees as a useful motivational tool for the young QB.
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"People are getting on Mac Jones, it seems, about discussing this week how he'd like to rediscover 'Alabama Mac.' Can we all acknowledge that's actually a worthwhile pursuit?" Perry said Tuesday on NBC Sports Boston's Quick Slants. "Feels like a pretty straightforward psychological tactic, doesn't it? Just because you'd like to remember the good times doesn't mean you're living in the past, and the good times rolled for the Crimson Tide with Mac Jones behind center."
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Jones racked up a whopping 4,500 passing yards with 41 touchdown passes and just four interceptions for Alabama in 2020 while leading his team to a 13-0 record and a national championship. So, yeah: The good times indeed rolled. And while Jones benefited from a loaded offense in Tuscaloosa, -- his top three pass-catchers were DeVonta Smith, John Metchie and Jaylen Waddle -- Perry believes there's absolutely a benefit in the 24-year-old channeling some of the confidence he displayed during that perfect season.
"Finding 'Alabama Mac,' as far as I can tell, is about playing confidently, "Perry said. "That position is dependent on self-belief -- as dependent on self belief as any in sports, especially when it comes to performing under pressure. ... If harkening back a few years is what it takes to get him in the right head space, so be it."
Jones' mindset may not be the only thing that changes with his new approach: Perry sees the third-year QB getting back to the "distributor" role that helped him excel in college by using his quick decision-making skills to get the ball in the hands of New England's playmakers.
"Alabama Mac also sounds like a quarterbacking style, according to him," Perry added. "Be a point guard. He has fast guys, he has catch-and-run guys, he has contested-catch guys, guards, forward, centers. He doesn't have a No. 1. This isn't Alabama in that regard. But what he has is a brain for the position, and he has a coordinator (Bill O'Brien) who knows how to coach him up and scheme things up around him.
"He also has a truly great year on his resume as a distributor. It just came in college. Shouldn't he want to rediscover how that felt? Especially after a confidence-rattling 2022? You don't have to like how he vocalizes it, but you can't hate on the pursuit."
To hear more from Perry as well as his 1-on-1 with former Patriots safety Devin McCourty, check out the full Quick Slants segment below.