Mac Jones says he's "hit it off" with new Patriots wide receiver

New York Jets v New England Patriots
New York Jets v New England Patriots / Billie Weiss/GettyImages

As the Patriots continue through a transition with a new offensive coordinator, there has been a lot of debate on the overall impact the changes will have on Mac Jones as he enters his third NFL season.

After completing a noteworthy rookie campaign in 2021 under Josh McDaniels, it all fell apart when Matt Patricia was moved into the departing future head coach's position.

Fast forward to the 2023 offseason, Jones has been placed into a more promising role now that he has the returning Bill O'Brien to coach the offense and the quarterbacks.

But personnel changes are only some of what Jones has to work through this upcoming season.

The Patriots' leading receiver of the last few seasons, Jakobi Meyers, was not re-signed when he hit free agency for the first time in his career this past March. Instead, he went on to sign with the Las Vegas Raiders, rejoining McDaniels out west, leaving Jones without a clear-cut WR1 moving forward.

Belichick's decision has been highly debated to let Meyers walk, but it appears that JuJu Smith-Schuster was brought in to pick up where Meyers left off.

Although many have disregarded Smith-Schuster's potential in the Patriots' offense, especially in comparison to Meyers, Jones had nothing but positive things to say about his new teammate and offensive weapon.

After Wednesday's OTA practice, the quarterback spoke to the media about his impression of Smith-Schuster so far, noting how the two immediately 'hit it off' over their love of everything football.

"I think JuJu’s done a great job, also from a leadership standpoint. Coming in, that’s someone who adds veteran leadership from different places. He just came off of a Super Bowl team, so what a great value to our offense. Obviously, when he gets on the field, that’s going to be great because he has the experience and he loves talking about football.

He’s just a football nerd, I guess, kind of like me. We kind of hit it off in that regard. He’s an awesome guy, and I’m looking forward to working with all those guys in that room. I think there’s a lot of potential there."

Since Smith-Schuster appears as the frontrunner to be the team's WR1, early chemistry between him and Jones is significant.

It may not mean much now, primarily since they haven't worked together on the field yet, but building a good rapport is the foundation of a successful team. If they're already getting along well and have a good understanding, it will likely translate once they do start practicing plays.

So far, Jones has been present for all the organized team activities and looked great from the one day media was allowed to be there. However, Smith-Schuster has yet to participate much since joining the team.

With more OTAs scheduled for this upcoming week, it would be ideal to see the receiver appear to get an early start to work with a new offense.