It's no secret the Patriots have struggled to throw the ball more than 20 yards down the field. I decided to do a deep dive on it.

I thought coming out Mac's arm was the most similar to Burrow's (although Burrow's pinpoint accuracy was... just extraordinary).

Burrow notoriously struggled downfield last year too.

Via PFF's charting stats.

Burrow in 2020 had the 37th rated adjusted deep completion percentage out of 39 qualifying QBs for deep passes (20 yards of air+): 20.8%. In 10 games he had 48 attempts, 9 completions, and 1 drop for an 18.8% completion rate. He attempted a deep throw in 11.9% of his dropbacks which was 20th overall. The high was Drew Lock at 16.0% (Flacco was #1 at 19.4% but he's one of the 7 part time starters). Brady was next at 14.9%. The median was Matt Ryan at 12.5%. Those 9 receptions went for 293 yards, 6.1 yards per attempt - also 37th worst in the league, with 1 TD and 1 int. He had 3 turnover-worthy-plays on those 48 attempts, and a TWP% of 5.6 - 11th best in the league. He took the 13th longest time to throw on those at 3.17 seconds.

This year Burrow is 23rd in adjusted deep completion percentage at 41.2%. He is 7 of 17 for 4 TDs and 1 INT with no drops and 16.8 yards per attempt - 6th best in the league. He attempted a deep throw in 11.7% of his dropbacks which is 19th overall. He has 2 turnover worthy plays, a 10.5% rate - 7th worst. He is 11th in time to throw at 3.36 seconds. Burrow is one of 7 guys this year who have been pressured 7 times on their dropbacks, tied for 15th highest, so he slightly overindexes on his under pressure rate for dropbacks. That's a lot of improvement so far in the year. He made great strides with his ADJ% and Y/A.

Jones in 2021 has the 33rd rated adjusted deep completion percentage out of 33 qualifying QBs for deep passes (20 yards of air+): 21.1%. In 5 games he has 19 attempts, 4 completions, and no drops* for a 21.1% completion rate. He attempted a deep throw in 10.0% of his dropbacks which is 26th overall. The high is Derek Carr at 17.1% (Fields is #1 at 18.1% but he has 2 starts). Teddy Bridgewater is next at 16.8%. The median is Davis Mills at 12.5% like in 2020. Those 4 receptions went for 97 yards, 5.1 yards per attempt - lowest in the league, with 0 TD and 2 ints. He has 4 turnover-worthy-plays on those 19 attempts, and a TWP% of 16.7%, 2nd worst in the league. He has the 9th fastest time to throw on those at 3.01 seconds. Jones is one of 5 guys this year who have been pressured 8 times on their dropbacks, tied for 10th highest, so he greatly overindexes on his under pressure rate for dropbacks.

*The Meyers drop last week against HOU doesn't count because the Texans committed and the Patriots accepted the penalty.

Mechanically I have had some serious issues with at least 5-6 of his deep passes. He won't fully step into the throw and drive it and it dies. I mentioned that earlier. He also has been late on a handful. It doesn't help that he has not always had a clean pocket and didn't get to practice much this summer with Agholor, his primary downfield threat. Agholor is not a WR1 downfield ace either... and Bourne and Meyers are 4.6 guys and not known for their deep receiving prowess. The Patriots offense is also historically more of a horizontal offense. What was Tom like back when he played for the Pats who also had issues in 2018 and 2019 with sub par receiving groups (don't wanna argue this). How about Tom on the Bucs? What about Tom in 2007?

2021: 14.2%, 12th. 12-32, 50.0% ADJ% (11th), 339 yards, 2 TDs 1 INTs, 10.6 Y/A (28th), 0 TWP 0.0% (1st).

2020: 14.9%, 3rd. 36-91, 42.9% ADJ% (23rd), 1,233 yards, 11 TDs 4 INTs, 13.5 Y/A (19th), 6 TWP 5.7% (12th).

2019: 10.1%, 27th. 25-62, 41.9% ADJ% (19th), 728 yards, 7 TDs 3 INTs, 11.7 Y/A (21st), 5 TWP 6.7% (15th).

2018: 11.4%, 19th. 23-65, 43.1% ADJ% (12th), 714 yards, 8 TDs 2 INTs, 11.0 Y/A (24th), 5 TWP 6.9% (16th).

2017: 13.8%, 8th. 33-80, 46.3% ADJ% (6th), 1,104 yards, 5 TDs 4 INTs, 13.8 Y/A (9th), 5 TWP 5.2% (11th).

2016: 11.3%, 22nd. 23-49, 51.0% ADJ% (8th), 834 yards, 8 TDs 1 INTs, 17.0 Y/A (4th), 2 TWP 3.6% (6th).

2015: 10.7%, 26th. 24-67, 44.8% ADJ% (11th), 833 yards, 3 TDs 2 INTs, 12.4 Y/A (14th), 4 TWP 4.9% (5th).

2014: 10.3%, 35th. 17-60, 33.3% ADJ% (32nd), 528 yards, 5 TDs 2 INTs, 8.8 Y/A (35th), 3 TWP 4.3% (10th).

2013: 10.5%, 31st. 20-66, 39.4% ADJ% (25th), 694 yards, 4 TDs 4 INTs, 10.5 Y/A (26th), 5 TWP 6.3% (16th).

2007: 12.6%, 19th. 31-73, 50.7% ADJ% (3rd), 1,192 yards, 16 TDs 5 INTs, 16.3 Y/A (6th), 6 TWP 7.5% (10th).

Mac

2021: 10.0, 26th. 4-19, 21.1% ADJ% (33rd), 97 yards, 0 TDs 2 INTs, 5.1 Y/A (33rd), 4 TWP 16.7% (33rd).

A lot to digest here. I think the data shows you scheme and what the play-calling was mattered and also that your roster (OL + WR + TE) matters. When Brady had good pass catchers his rates and raw stats look better. When he didn't they didn't. Brady always had a low TWP rate - so even when the team wasn't good at deep passing he wasn't turning the ball over. In an average year here he took about 4 shots a game and 5 in years when he had the supporting casts. So we're still talking about a small number of passes per game which are prone to some volatility based on the sample size. Aside from 2014 Brady gave the team a floor of around a 40% ADJ. In Tampa not only does he have a terrific supporting cast but he also is in a scheme that takes more shots. It wasn't that Brady couldn't throw deep but in most years the offense and the play-makers weren't deep threats. When they were Brady threw it deep. Part of what made Brady great was taking what the defense gave him and hitting on it - and if you look at his time in NE while he didn't throw deep as much in the years he didn't have the horses to do it when the defenses gave him those deep shots he usually executed well on them (adjusted completion percentage).

Mac hasn't looked good on deep passes. Now while these passes are only 10%-11% of the Pats offense in a typical year they can account for close to 15-20% of the passing yards. His turnover worthy play rate is simply unacceptable. His adjusted competition % is also woefully bad. It's been 5 games and there is a laundry list of reasons why the deep passing game isn't and hasn't worked well for this team and Mac shouldn't be shouldering the blame - it's a team problem though.

This is just something to keep an eye on as we watch Mac going forward. It's also something that we should look at for the offense as a whole and each part of it: pass pro, skilled position players, and offensive play-calling.