Despite offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels leaving the New England Patriots, their young starting quarterback is not lacking any confidence heading into his second season in the NFL. Appearing on NBC Sports’ Next Pats Podcast on Friday, Mac Jones spoke about what lies ahead for himself and the Patriots offense as a whole.
Needless to say, Jones feels strongly about his ability to elevate his game and in turn the entire unit around him — regardless of who McDaniels’ successor will turn out to be.
“I know I have the capability to take the offense to the next level,” Jones said. “It starts with me, and I’m going to. I’m going to trust the coaches, obviously, and learn from them, and work together. That’s what it comes down to. I’ve always been a guy that does exactly what the coach tells me to do, and that’s how I’ll always play the game.”
Jones joined the Patriots as the 15th overall selection in last year’s draft, and already played some promising football during his first training camp in the McDaniels-led system. He eventually beat out incumbent Cam Newton to take over the starter role.
The rookie did have some ups and downs but overall had an impressive first NFL season. With his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach — as well as assistant quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree — now off to Las Vegas, however, Jones will find himself in a different setup heading into his second season in New England.
How exactly it will look like remains to be seen, but the Patriots’ starting QB does not appear to be worried about it. Instead, he puts his trust in head coach Bill Belichick to build a competent support system around him with who is available.
“I just leave it up to Coach,” Jones said. “He does a good job picking the right people, and he’s done that for however many years he’s been a head coach. That’s why I’m really happy to be with him, because he always has a plan. Similar to college: we always had a plan for when somebody else got hired; we brought somebody in, the relationship builds, you earn the trust and then you can just keep moving forward.”
During his time at the University of Alabama, Jones did already experience quite a bit of turnover: he played under three different offensive coordinators in his four collegiate seasons.
After working under Brian Daboll and Mike Locksley in his first two years at the school, Jones rose to prominence while being coached by Steve Sarkisian in 2019 and 2020. After leaving the Crimson Tide, McDaniels and Hardegree were able to help him to take the next step and adapt to the NFL game.
Now, both are gone. The Patriots did bring back former special teams and wide receivers coach Joe Judge to serve as an offensive assistant, but time will tell how he and the rest of the staff on this side of the ball will be employed in 2022.
Jones, meanwhile, is focused on controlling what he can control.
“I know Coach Belichick’s going to have a plan,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working, just getting better as a player, regardless of who’s out there with us.”