By now, Mac Jones has probably gotten used to seeing his coaches change on a regular basis.
After playing under three different offensive coordinators during his four-year career at the University of Alabama, Jones spent his rookie season in the NFL being coached by New England Patriots OC Josh McDaniels. With McDaniels departing for Las Vegas earlier this offseason, a new assistant will now be taking over the team’s offense in 2022.
Its starting quarterback, however, does not appear to be worried about any of this.
“People come and go and get opportunities — players, coaches, support staff. It comes with the business,” Jones said following the Patriots’ first organized team activity on Monday.
One way or another, the Patriots will have to find a way to replace their long-time offensive play-caller and quarterbacks coach. Nothing is set in stone at the moment, though, with Monday’s practice being run as a collaborative effort of sorts on that side of the ball.
Head coach Bill Belichick spent extensive time with the unit and its quarterback, as did assistant Joe Judge. Matt Patricia also was involved, even though he was mostly focused on working with the offensive line.
Despite what looks like a hodgepodge of current and former NFL head coaches, Jones is pleased with the current state of affairs.
“Right now, it’s all about learning. First day you come out and set a baseline, fix the things that we want to fix,” he said. “They all have great knowledge of our offense and we’re all on the same page. That’s the important part to me. There’s no fall-off or anything like that. It’s not my decision to make, and we have plenty of time for that.
“Right now, it’s about the guys and I getting on the same page — running backs, tight ends, receivers — and then working with the offensive line, doing some things with them just to make sure we’re on the same page. It always goes back to the players, and we’re excited to grow together and learn from whoever’s coaching us. We don’t mind anybody.”
While Belichick will naturally be involved quite a bit, it seems that Judge will be Jones’ go-to guy this season.
A former college quarterback at Mississippi State, Judge spent most of his coaching career working on special teams. He was responsible for the kicking game operation for eight years in New England before departing to become the New York Giants’ head coach in 2020. Two disappointing years later, he is back with the Patriots and it appears Belichick is trusting him to work with the most important player on his roster.
The results of that collaboration have yet to be determined, but Jones spoke highly of Judge and the entire quarterback room on Monday.
“He’s done a great job coaching us,” Jones said. “He’s seen a lot of football, obviously been around football for a long time whether that be as a head coach, special teams, playing the position himself. So, he has knowledge that is very beneficial to me as a quarterback.
“Obviously, I’m going to learn with him. That’s the goal: teach each other and move along, and take what he knows and take the experiences that I have and combine them and work together as a great team. Obviously, we have him and [Brian] Hoyer and Bailey [Zappe], so we have a great group of guys that can come together and work together in that room.”
Besides Judge, it also appears the aforementioned Matt Patricia will be involved in the quarterback room to some degree. On Monday,Jones referred to the former Patriots defensive coordinator and Detroit Lions head coach as a “great defensive mind” with “great offensive knowledge.”
He furthermore pointed out that all of the coaches working with his position group have been able to help with the process of implementing the offense.
“They’re all helping out and making things really easy for us, and teaching us what they know,” Jones said. “It’s been really good to be able just to stand up in the meetings and talk through things with everybody. Everyone’s on the same page regardless of who’s talking or who’s saying what. We have a very good group of guys. It’s obviously always about the players, and having great coaches is obviously very beneficial too.
“But we have a great group of guys — old guys, young guys — so we’re excited to come together and work.”