Rookie Mac Jones, perhaps Tom Brady’s heir apparent in New England, is in the early stages of downloading Bill Belichick’s complicated offense. The 2020 Heisman Trophy finalist knows it could take years to master the scheme. But Jones is making the most of his first pro training camp.
“I try to put time into it,” Jones said after Thursday’s practice. “Whatever I can do to try and make it easier. … You’ve got to study it to learn it. It’s just like school. You’ve got to study hard for the test, so as long as you’re putting in the work, usually it’s fine.”
The Alabama alum described his study habits, which include reviewing practice film, drawing plays and consulting veteran third-stringer Brian Hoyer.
Jones shone bright at Thursday’s rainy practice, completing 15 of 19 passes. Interestingly, he’s beginning to receive more first-team reps than incumbent starter Cam Newton. As NESN’s Zack Cox points out, Jones has thrown more passes than Newton in three of the last four full-team drills. Jones said he’s focused on staying composed and playing within New England’s system.
“I think that’s important, for the rookies especially, just when we get in there and get a chance to play … just do what you’re supposed to do,” Jones said. “Especially for me — I have a job to do, and if I don’t do it, the play is not successful. So I’ve got to be more consistent, more vocal, and learn from the older guys and kind of play to the standard.”
Thursday was a bounce-back day for the rookie, who’s struggled a bit the last few days. Today was Jones’ first interception-free practice of the week, the sort of performance that puts pressure on Newton.
Mac Jones seems to have found a rhythm, once again getting majority of reps as passing game and overall operation looking Patriot-like. Increased command, why was reflected, in part, in drawing defense into neutral zone during hurry-up.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) August 5, 2021
“I don’t get involved in the [distribution of] reps,” Newton said. “I just do what I’m asked and I just go from there. As far as trying to maximize as much as I possibly can when I’m in there, that’s the only thing I can control, and that’s what I will continue to do.”
The Patriots host Washington a week from today (August 12th) for their preseason opener. Newton is likely to start under center, but Jones has an early opportunity to showcase his progress.