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While there was always going to be a certain level of built-in hype for Mac Jones as he goes through his initial process of joining the Patriots, the first-round pick’s ability to impress some heavy-hitters in Foxborough will surely bring that hype to even higher levels. On Thursday, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels credited Jones’ command and presence within the offense and highlighted some of the reasons why New England ultimately decided to pick him at No. 15 overall earlier this spring.
Friday then gave us Bill Belichick, who was asked how Jones has done taking what he’s learned in the quarterback room and translating it to his play on the field during the club’s OTA sessions. While the head coach noted that there is a long way to go for the youngster, his ability to comprehend the offense at this stage and his work ethic have him earning some respect around Gillette Stadium.
“I think Mac has a pretty good understanding of the things that we do,” Belichick said during a videoconference with reporters. “He has to go out there and do them and get comfortable with them. It’s a process. We’ve had a number of other players at that quarterback position come in and go through that. Sometimes, it starts a little slower and then picks up. Sometimes, it starts a little higher and slows down. We’ll just have to see how it goes.
“He’s working hard, he puts in a lot of time. Certainly giving his very best effort to do everything we’ve asked him to do and do it the way we’ve asked him to do it, which is a great place to start. He’s earned a lot of respect for that. But he has a long way to go. We’ll see how it goes.”
Of course, there is a massive difference between Jones being able to decipher some of New England’s offense while wearing shorts in June and being able to suit up in a regular-season game later this year, but this should be looked at as a positive development. The Patriots offense is famous for its complexity and for Jones to not be engulfed by it — even if he’s only getting a slice of the pie — is encouraging for his prospect of possibly playing at some point in 2021.
During at least one OTA practice, he was spotted as the second quarterback to take part in drills behind 2020 starter Cam Newton and in front of Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer. If he can process enough information and continue this positive momentum that has both Belichick and McDaniels commending him, he could look to push for the starting gig sooner than some expect. In any event, this a solid first baby step in New England solidifying the position for the long term.