The New England Patriots’ starting quarterback competition will not be decided in the first week of preseason. However, the game will still be an important one for the position group and the future of the franchise as a whole: first-round draft pick Mac Jones will make his debut.
Whether or not Jones can challenge Cam Newton’s standing as the Patriots’ starting QB remains to be seen, but one thing cannot be denied: the rookie has already left a positive impression on his teammates through the first twelve practices of training camp.
“I think he can be special,” offensive tackle Trent Brown said after Tuesday’s session. “There’s a lot going on for him right now. This is a different ballgame and with Bill’s defense there’s a lot of moving parts out there. So, he just has to settle down and I think he’ll be all right.”
What makes the veteran lineman think that Jones can be special, though?
“To be so young, I think he makes some throws that not a lot of young guys can make,” Brown said. “I think it’s just all about settling down, honestly, and knowing that you can still play the game. It’s still football. It’s a different level, but it’s still football. I think that goes for any rookie.”
Brown, the Patriots’ starting right tackle, is not the only one who had positive words to say about the 15th overall selection in this year’s draft. Wide receiver Jakobi Meyers also praised Jones earlier this week.
“He’s a really fast learner,” Meyers said about his young teammate.
“This isn’t an easy offense to just jump into and being able to pick up and play, especially dealing with a guy like Josh McDaniels, who expects the best out of you every day you come here. The fact that Mac can go in, get yelled at, bounce back and come back to do the right thing, and not make the same mistake twice, that’s really good to be a Patriot and have.”
Jones will play his first game as a professional on Thursday night against the Washington Football Team. There is no telling how much action he will see, and whether or not he will see time with the first- or second-string offense, but the game will be another step in his development nonetheless.
So far, this development has been steady. The Patriots will have to hope that remains the case in his first game as well.