Cam Newton was his usual energetic self when the New England Patriots returned to the practice field for Thursday’s organized team activity. The next quarterback up in the rotation, meanwhile, kept his dancing and hollering to a non-existent minimum.
But while Mac Jones might not possess the same exuberant presence as the incumbent starter one month into his NFL career, he still brings the right dose of energy to the table. At least that is what wide receiver Kendrick Bourne told reporters after the session.
“You just can feel his energy and his leadership already. He has a swag to him that I didn’t know that he had at first,” Bourne said about Jones.
Jones joined the Patriots as the 15th overall selection in last month’s draft, and is expected to take over as the team’s franchise quarterback at one point in the future. While it remains to be seen when that transition actually happens — Newton appears to be on the inside track to earn the starting role this year — he already showcased the skills that made him a first-round pick during the lone semi-public OTA session so far.
His passes were accurate, while he also displayed anticipation and a good form. He showed plenty of confidence as well, according to Bourne.
“He’s out there confident and that’s what you need in a quarterback, and in all our players,” the free agency acquisition said. “You have to have confidence. He’s come in with that and I think that’s going to take him a long way. If you can believe in yourself in all times, for any player, you’ll have success anywhere you are. So, I can just see the confidence.”
Interestingly enough, Jones also was the next man up behind Newton through most of the practice drills. While the Patriots went through the rotation based on seniority last offseason, they were giving their least experienced QB some prominent exposure as well on Thursday.
While that alone may not mean anything — head coach Bill Belichick noted himself that OTAs are for learning rather than evaluation — Jones did look good when it was his turn. Tight end Hunter Henry, a free agent pickup such as Bourne, also felt that way.
“Mac’s doing a great job,” Henry said after Thursday’s practice. “He’s obviously new and I’m new. We’re just all going through it together, him being even new to the atmosphere of this next level. He’s doing a great job. Good to have him here and we’re all excited for him.”