When former Alabama standout Mac Jones was selected with the No. 15 overall pick in this year’s draft, many believed he was in for an intense quarterback battle with the Patriots’ QB1 Cam Newton. But as we venture further into offseason workouts, that’s starting to seem less and less the case.
Watching Jones get reps in with New England this offseason, Pats insider Ben Volin has one takeaway regarding the rookie QB: he has “a long way to go.”
Newton, whom head coach Bill Belichick has consistently labeled as New England’s starting man in 2021, missed Thursday’s practice with a hand injury. In his absence, Jones didn’t get first-unit reps — or even second. The incoming rookie took third-string reps behind third-year pro Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer.
Clearly, Jones is nowhere near earning a Week-1 start. He acknowledged that with his comments after Thursday’s practice.
“Honestly, it’s going to be a growing process, and I’m learning from the other guys,” Jones said. “The veteran players, obviously, it’s kind of like second nature for them. And I have to figure out how to do it fast and execute the plays really fast to the level of a new offense.
“I have a lot of room to grow,” he said. “I just have to continue to learn how to watch film in an NFL manner. It’s different than college; there’s more to it, it’s pro football. I’ll figure it out and I’ll continue to grow in that aspect. I’ll obviously try as hard as I can. It’s not like I’m leaving early or doing anything like that.”
Through his outstanding career with the Crimson Tide, Jones became known for his elite ability to work through complex progressions and deliver an accurate ball.
While he did all of that very well at the collegiate level, the NFL game is a whole new beast.
“There’s a lot going on in my brain,” Jones said. “You’re trying to see everything; sometimes you see too much or whatever, and then you see nothing. I have to figure out in this offense how I can break down the plays, what’s my job, what I have to do on this specific play and slot the plays individually.
“I did that obviously good in college or whatever, but this is the pros and I have to figure out how to do it here. So that’s what I’m going to do.”
With a former league MVP and an all-time great head coach there to guide him, Jones is in good hands as he makes his transition into the NFL.