The New England Patriots have a perfect succession plan in place, as 2021 projected starter Cam Newton will eventually give way to Mac Jones. The national champion was taken in the first round after a record-setting career at Alabama.
Despite Jones’ pedigree, his collegiate accomplishments won’t make a difference in the NFL, and he will need to show that his ability to hit receivers in stride deep down the field consistently wasn’t just a byproduct of a loaded Bama offense with NFL-caliber players at every position.
Jones might be the nominal backup behind Newton, but every little positive step he takes in the right direction is catnip for a Patriots fanbase looking for a long-term successor to Tom Brady. Per Patriots beat reporter Mike Reiss, Jones was able to strut his stuff on the practice field in poor conditions.
Jones, who received double the repetitions that the veteran Newton did, was able to spin the ball effectively despite playing in the rain. With Jones already looking more comfortable in this offense, the fact he’s able to play well under adverse conditions will make Patriots fans even more assured of his star potential.
Mac Jones impressed the Patriots in bad weather.
As silly as it sounds, throwing well in these conditions might be the biggest obstacle Jones will have to overcome. Born and raised in northern Florida while attending college in Alabama, being able to be accurate in some inclement New England weather is a major plus for the rookie QB.
Steve Sarkisian, his former offensive coordinator in Tuscaloosa, compared Jones to Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, citing his work ethic, ability to absorb offensive schemes, and arm talent. If New England ends up with someone in that tier, taking Jones at No. 15 overall will be an overwhelming success.
As effective as Newton was running the ball last year, and despite all of the challenges that last year brought, he threw more interceptions than he did touchdowns, and that will give him one of the shortest leashes in all of football. A few slip-ups and Jones may be out on the field. The Patriots cannot afford a slow start.
Jones still has plenty of hurdles to clear at the NFL level, and the fact that he was able to make some throws in bad weather doesn’t mean that he is guaranteed to translate that practice performance into a live game situation. However, Jones is progressing nicely in camp, and Patriots fans worried about the future can take comfort in that.