There’s a noticeable difference in Mac Jones‘s demeanor this summer compared to last season. He seems looser. He laughs more. He’s willing to crack a joke or two if the moment calls for it.
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There’s a renewed confidence in the former first-round pick who won a national title quarterbacking the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2020.
Whether that will translate to on-field production remains to be seen. But Jones’s teammates, including defensive back Adrian Phillips, are noticing the change.
“He took last year on the chin,” Phillips said. “And he would be the first one to tell you that that’s not how he wanted to play, and for all of us that’s not how any of us wanted to play.”
“He’s coming out here every day and he’s trying to light our defense up, like literally light us up,” Phillips continued. I’m talking bombs, anything he can do, and you love to see that. He’s always checking the plays, he’s always ready to give you something you have to think about, and I just think his confidence is through the roof right now.”
So far, Jones has thrown only nine passes in preseason action. He completed six of them and didn’t commit any turnovers. He was sacked twice playing behind an offensive line that was missing most of its starters.
Still, he looked more comfortable in his limited snaps Saturday night than he did most of last season.
That success carried over into practice Tuesday when Jones went 18-for-23. He threw an interception to Myles Bryant toward the end of practice, but that was one bad throw during an otherwise productive day.
The Patriots weren’t in full pads, opting for shoulder pads and sweatpants in their first practice since Isaiah Bolden’s injury cut Saturday night’s preseason game short. However, Jones made the most of the opportunity.
“I think just keep growing, keep competing, and keeping it fun,” Jones said “Going back and forth with the defense I think we’ve done that more this year, and really just trying to carry it over into the games. I think preseason sometimes it’s hard to get into a rhythm, but you have to work through that and find out which ways you can start fast and carry that momentum into the season.”
Jones said that he draws confidence from his teammates as he continues to regain their trust.
“I think confidence is key,” Jones said. “Really with teammates and knowing you can trust them and they can trust you is a big thing for me. Whether that’s the plays, or your leadership style, or just having a conversation.
Jones said learning experiences with his teammates have helped him draw confidence.
“I’m always open to hear what they have to say and that’s what’s important to me,” Jones said. “That’s where my confidence comes from, all the other guys in the room.
“The offensive line and those guys jelling together,” Jones continued. “There are a lot of young guys who are playing because of injury right now which is great. They’re getting good experience and they’re doing a great job … we haven’t played a real game yet so there’s plenty of work to do.”
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