Mac Jones’ ‘ankle grabber’ reputation is spreading
Fairly or not, NFL defensive linemen are taking notice of what Mac Jones did last week against the Carolina Panthers.
Jones has been repeatedly criticized by the Panthers for grabbing the ankles of Carolina’s Brian Burns after fumbling on Sunday. Burns did not have the ball, but Jones’ defense has been that he wasn’t aware of that and was merely trying to make a tackle.
It doesn’t sound like a lot of linemen are buying that defense. Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett, who is facing Jones this Sunday, admitted he would be keeping an eye on Jones for that reason, especially with Garrett nursing a sore foot.
“Of course, I watched it, and I’ll hold my comments on that one,” Garrett told reporters on Friday, via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “I mean, hopefully it doesn’t happen to me. I don’t know. [I hope Jones] doesn’t turn into the ankle grabber. I don’t know. So we’ll see.
“I mean, if I tackle him or I sack him and I let him grab me, honestly, that’s on me. I’m not saying it’s on Brian. He didn’t expect it. But now we’ve all seen it. Now I know to get my behind up and get out the way.”
Defensive linemen do not take kindly to what they feel is unnecessarily dangerous play that could injure them. It’s clear that they think what Jones did to Burns qualifies as that. Burns even invited his fellow defensive linemen to go hard after Jones in the future as a result.
The reputation probably won’t stick as long as Jones doesn’t do anything else that could be seen as dirty. For now, though, it sounds like defensive linemen are going to be on high alert around him.
Photo: Aug 12, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones 10) throws the ball during a game against the Washington Football Team at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports