Quarterback Mac Jones has been the talk of the town so far for the New England Patriots, as everyone is waiting with boundless anticipation as they try to see just how far along he is in his development after an illustrious college career at Alabama.
With Cam Newton, also looking for a rebound season, holding on to his starting job by the skin of his teeth as the fanbase prepares for the inevitable switch, Jones needs to show signs that his ability to deliver the ball accurately on the field and lead the team both verbally and nonverbally off of it translated from college.
Based on what fans saw in his debut against the Washington Football Team, he looks more than capable of slinging the rock all over the field.
ESPN insider Jeff Darlington supplemented that showing with some insider info that claims Jones is already a favorite of the coaching staff.
Speaking on ESPN’s “Get Up!” on Wednesday, Darlington claims to have received text messages from someone within the Patriots organization that hinted Jones is showing off his smarts, willingness to put in extra work, and improvement since they first got a look at him.
Newton better watch out.
“I just got a text from somebody within the Patriots organization who pointed out that Mac Jones is handling things ‘very well, very smart, very hard worker, steady progress,’” said Darlington. “These are all the things behind the scenes that you want to feel about Mac Jones.”
Mac Jones is impressing the Patriots so far.
While Jones’ passing numbers were surpassed by rookies like Justin Fields and Trey Lance, the ex-Bama gunslinger’s 13-for-19 performance showed that his accuracy is still there. Newton wasn’t much worse in his preseason opener, but he didn’t do much to prevent the calls for Jones to be the Week 1 starter from escalating.
The Patriot Way can be notoriously tough for players to assimilate into, especially youngsters who were just drafted. The fact that Jones, already saddled with the responsibility of playing quarterback, has won over Belichick so quickly stands as a testament to his character. Finding the next franchise guy won’t be easy, but this Mac fellow is making a damn fine first impression.
It would be unlikely, despite all of this fawning, for Jones to overtake Newton on top of the depth chart for their Week 1 game against the Dolphins. However, Belichick has been religiously devoted to the dogma of putting his best players on the field irrespective of the situation, and that could force Jones into the starting lineup eventually.