The New England Patriots will welcome back Tom Brady this weekend for the first time since the legendary quarterback left the organization during the 2020 offseason. The Buccaneers will come into Gillette Stadium on Sunday night and try to deal Bill Belichick his third loss of the year.
Lining up at quarterback on the other side for the Patriots will be rookie Mac Jones. The No. 15 overall pick in the 2021 draft has already been burdened with the expectation that he’ll be New England’s next franchise quarterback and live up to Brady’s impassable legacy with the organization and now will get a chance to meet one of his predecessors on the field.
Sunday’s contest with the Buccaneers will be the biggest, and most talked about, game that Jones has played in professionally. However, the rookie is supposedly approaching this weekend’s match-up like he would any other.
“It’s just us against the other team, like it’s always going to be. It’s not just one person against one person,” Jones said of facing Brady this weekend, via Alex Barth.
Mac Jones on facing Tom Brady: "It's just us against the other team, like it's always going to be. It's not just one person against one person."
— Alex Barth (@RealAlexBarth) September 29, 2021
Belichick has clearly rubbed off on his rookie quarterback already for Jones to give this type of answer. The 23-year-old is surely aware of the weight that Sunday’s Patriots-Buccaneers match-up carries, but is doing well to put on a professional face to the media.
Although Jones kept his cool when talking about playing against Brady, he did speak about the seven-time Super Bowl champion on Wednesday.
“Growing up, watching different quarterbacks play is always very helpful to me, regardless of the team and regardless of the player. [Tom Brady]’s definitely someone that’s played for a long time and done it the right way,” Jones said, per NBC Sports Boston. “You definitely want to be able to watch someone like [Brady] growing up and be able to emulate them at any part you can in your game and just take what they do and learn from it.”
Jones has plenty to improve upon after his first three starts in the NFL and will have a great opportunity to take a step in the right direction this weekend. Sunday will mark his first primetime game and will come against the greatest Patriots player of all-time, so the rookie will need to be up for the challenge come kickoff.