FOXBORO – There were times when Mac Jones clearly stood out. For quarterbacks, it happened with deep ball passes or throws in tight coverage. These games occurred regularly for the rookie during training camp and preseason.
With the Patriots’ first-round pick and new starting quarterback, however, it went beyond a simple pitch here and there. For the Patriots on offense and defense, it was Jones’ way of reading the field and making adjustments to find the open target. This summer Jones shone when Patriots coaching staff put him in a no-huddle or 2-minute exercise situation. At such times, the rookie had to react quickly to every play.
It was at these times that Patriots players knew Jones had the potential to be something special. Now that the 22-year-old is officially the team’s starting quarterback, Patriots teammates have started talking about the rookie.
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JC Jackson: “He’s gonna be that guy”
“Mac Jones, he’s going to be that guy,” Patriots No.1 cornerback JC Jackson said. “I mean, he’s a rookie, but he’s playing like a vet. The way he reads the defense. The way it goes up in the pocket, delivers the ball. He has improved since the first time I saw him.
This summer, we saw how many times the Patriots coaching staff put Jones in a no-caucus situation. Every practice, you would see it. This usually came at the end of the session with one of the last periods with Jones on the court in a 2 minute drill type scenario. Here, the rookie would have to analyze the defense, modify the play according to the defense, and then make the correct pitch according to the cover.
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As soon as the ball was caught, Jones would sprint to the line of scrimmage and start over. The genius behind this situation for a rookie quarterback is that he barely has time to think it over so the coaching staff has a good idea of how Jones knows the playbook. in pre-season. In Jones’ first two preseason games, the Pats opened the third quarter with the rookie operating a no-huddle offense.
Jones played well in those moments and this week both offensive and defensive players said his abilities in those moments made him stand out.
Kendrick Bourne: “He looks so relaxed making adjustments”
“I would say the 2 minutes (exercise) for me with Mac,” said Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne. “He seems so relaxed making adjustments. We move fast, but it’s slow (for him). He just sees it well. This is the key. He does the right readings while passing the progressions well to get to the open person because sometimes they can overtake here, Jonnu (Smith), and it’s open here so he has to see that and know how to come to 1-on -1 ( concordance).
“Just the adjustments he made. Josh (McDaniels) forces us to change the game, but for him, seeing what happens to change the game is key and he sees it well. It puts us in the best position to play games.
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Jalen Mills: Jones reads Pats defense well
Patriots cornerback Jalen Mills said it was noticeable how Jones read the Patriots defense in practice.
“I think the most important thing is when you see offense can have a play call and you can have a move or see a guy flinch where it could be a blitz. You see him go to the line of scrimmage and do some other kind of control, ”Mills said. “That’s what you want to see not just from a young man, but from a quarterback in general. They have a predicted call and he sees the defense attacking them in a certain way and he checks the offense for a play that helps him get into a better position.
Cam Newton released
Jones “officially” became the Patriots’ starting quarterback on Tuesday when the team released veteran Cam Newton. The Pats have had two practice sessions since then and Bourne said he noticed a difference in Jones. The rookie quarterback is clearly feeling the pressure, but the way he behaved also stood out.
“Yeah, for anyone you’re named a starter that’s a different kind of emergency,” Bourne said. ” You can not be wrong. The only way is to go down. For starters, I think you feel that pressure, but it’s been built for it since (Alabama). I think he’s more ready than anyone really knows.
Bourne was particularly close to Newton and admitted that he will miss the energy the veteran brought to the training ground and into the locker room. However, the Patriots wide receiver also admitted that Jones winning the job “was just the best thing for the team.”
It’s clear the Patriots teammates are behind the rookie quarterback and Jones continues to impress.
“Just what I’ve seen throughout the camp and the last few days – he’s locked up. He is ready. He looks ready for now, ”Bourne said. “I am delighted to be a part of it. “