Bill Belichick Praises Mac Jones’ Offseason Work
The New England Patriots reported to training camp on Tuesday and will conduct their first practice on Wednesday. Quarterback Mac Jones enters his second season under center after an impressive rookie campaign.
Jones was productive in his first offseason as a professional athlete, he looked noticeably leaner during team workouts after changing his diet and held throwing sessions with a number of his teammates throughout the country. The Patriots quarterback was in California, Texas and Florida this offseason developing chemistry with his wide receivers and running backs.
"I think Mac's done a great job. He's worked extremely hard. He's got a tremendous work ethic. In all areas, I think there's a dramatic improvement," Belichick said. "His physical work and conditioning, working on his mechanics, working on his footwork, working on his understanding of our offense, of opponent defenses, of situations. ... He's made tremendous strides. He did a great job last year, but he's starting from a much, much higher point this year than where he started last year. His offseason work has been significant, and I think everyone recognizes how well he prepares and how much further along he [is] than he was a year ago."
Jones started all 17 games in 2021, he threw for 3,801 passing yards, 22 touchdowns, a franchise rookie record and completed 67.6-percent of his passes, the second-highest all-time by a rookie. He was the third rookie quarterback since at least 1950 to win six road games in a season and guided the Patriots back to the playoffs after missing them in 2020.
The 23-year-old signal-caller has quickly developed into the new leader of the organization. 10-time Pro Bowler Matthew Slater is the longest tenured Patriots player on the roster, he also spoke on Tuesday about Jones' leadership ability.
"I'm extremely biased, but I think the young man is fantastic... We're all excited about what he's going to be and what he's going to provide - not just as a player but a leader. This is his team," said Slater.
New England acquired DeVante Parker via trade and drafted Baylor wide receiver Tyquan Thornton in the second round to add to Jones’ arsenal.
"He's a leader. He's a young guy, but he's vocal as a leader,” said Parker in May. “That's what this team needs. And even though I've just been out here a few weeks, I still see it."
The Patriots open the preseason on Thursday, Aug. 11 against the New York Giants.