First impression of Mac Jones? Rare to see Patriots rookie keep up mentally


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Fast-hit ideas/notes across the New England Patriots and NFL:

1. Mac’s QB thoughts: Typically a primary impression of a Patriots participant at apply is so apparent, you may’t miss it. A number of that come to thoughts through the years are Deion Department’s smoothness out and in of his breaks, Wes Welker’s quickness and alter of route, Randy Moss effortlessly gliding down the sector whereas leaving defensive backs in his wake, and Jake Bailey’s sky-scraping punts.

When it got here to quarterback Mac Jones on Thursday, it wasn’t as apparent as these examples, and maybe that is as a result of a razor-sharp soccer thoughts is tough to sum up in a single snapshot.

That was one among my largest takeaways from watching apply: Jones is placing himself in place to probably compete for the beginning job come coaching camp in July as a result of he is maintaining with the difficult psychological side of the Patriots’ playbook.

That is unusual for rookie Patriots quarterbacks who’re adjusting to the quantity of data, and likewise the quick tempo by which coaches educate it. It is quite a bit to course of, and that does not even consider how a easy shift by the protection can require a response from the quarterback that adjustments all the pieces immediately.

Alongside these traces, each throw from Jones in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills Thursday appeared to go to the correct place. There was little, if any, indecisiveness. He is most likely additional alongside than any Patriots rookie quarterback, at this level, than anybody who got here earlier than him.

This isn’t to miss Cam Newton, who on one play, was put in a tricky spot when working again Tyler Gaffney made the inaccurate learn, and Newton was proper on it — a mirrored image that his command of the offense continues to evolve, so it is untimely to jot down the veteran QB off.

It was at some point in shorts and T-shirts in Might, which is important context. However these appeared like encouraging indicators for the Patriots.



Dianna Russini breaks down what may occur within the subsequent few weeks ought to the Falcons try and commerce Julio Jones.

2. Julio follow-up: Funds will possible drive how aggressive the Patriots are in pursuit of receiver Julio Jones in a commerce, extra so than the compensation it might take to amass him (the Atlanta Falcons are in a low-leverage spot). My sense is the Patriots would like to have Jones — who would not? — however the funds are important. Bringing Jones aboard on his present contract would imply different dominoes must fall to create salary-cap area to get by this season, and there is additionally projecting forward to 2022 when the membership is already inside vary of a $208.2 million cap ceiling. I’d be stunned if the Patriots over-extend themselves in any attainable commerce talks; it must be a candy deal to tackle the monetary pressure.

3. Hooked up on the hip: The place’s Matt Patricia at Patriots apply? Normally subsequent to educate Invoice Belichick. The 2 spent a notable period of time collectively Thursday, considerably just like the way it was once with Belichick and retiring soccer analysis director Ernie Adams. The belief between the 2 is highlighted in these snapshots from apply.

4. J.J. advantages: In 2015, working again Dion Lewis flashed in spring practices, marking himself as a participant to look at. I questioned if historical past was repeating itself with one other diminutive working again — J.J. Taylor. The 2020 undrafted free agent from Arizona is getting an incredible alternative to indicate what he can do, with Sony Michel, James White and Brandon Bolden not round, and Damien Harris current however not training. Taylor is a quick and enjoyable participant to look at.

5. What’s in a quantity? A jersey quantity usually tells a bigger story a couple of participant, with tight finish Hunter Henry explaining that one of many causes he is sporting No 85 in his first yr with the Patriots is to pay tribute to his former Los Angeles Chargers teammate Antonio Gates. Defensive again Jalen Mills selected No. 2 as a result of it was his late uncle’s favourite, and linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley’s change to No. 8 ties to his days at Purdue when he wore No. 4.

As for Belichick placing rookies in non-traditional numbers in spring practices — equivalent to Mac Jones in 50 — third-year receiver Jakobi Meyers stated that ongoing custom was a reminder to him that “we had been all principally on the underside degree — rookies who needed to present why we belonged right here.” Meyers had No. 69 initially, however “once I lastly acquired 16, it felt like a step in the correct route.”

6. Eyes on swing sort out: With projected beginning offensive tackles Isaiah Wynn (left) and Trent Brown (proper) not on the sector Thursday, the Patriots had 2020 sixth-round choose Justin Herron (left) and fourth-year professional Korey Cunningham (proper) step in. Herron was a pleasing shock as a rookie, and he appears to be like just like the main candidate to fill the swing-tackle position, which is a vital layer of insurance coverage given the harm historical past of Wynn and Brown. Time could possibly be up on Yodny Cajuste, the 2019 third-round choose from West Virginia who simply hasn’t damaged by, partly due to accidents.

7. Onwenu for Thuney: The Patriots did not have to fret concerning the left guard spot for the previous 5 years, plugging ironman Joe Thuney in and by no means wanting again. Now that Thuney has signed with the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs in free company, it was 2020 sixth-round choose Mike Onwenu stepping in to that spot throughout Thursday’s apply. With Onwenu, David Andrews and Shaq Mason on the inside, the Patriots seem effectively positioned to soak up the hit of Thuney’s departure, with returning free-agent signee Ted Karras offering high quality depth.

8. Cardona on Memorial Day: Patriots long-snapper Joe Cardona, who commissioned as a Lieutenant within the Naval Reserves, was a visitor on the “Paul Finebaum Podcast” final week and touched on the observance of the vacation. It is a related message he has shared with teammates when referred to as on by Belichick to deal with the Patriots.

“It’s a huge day for remembering those that made the final word sacrifice for our freedoms,” Cardona stated. “We now have a lot to be pleased about right here in America. The truth that Memorial Day traces up with the kickoff of summer season, a three-day weekend, everybody is happy. However for lots of people, it is a somber day of remembrance.”

9. BB’s view: Each every now and then, Belichick will say one thing that serves as a reminder of how his view of key performs within the Patriots’ franchise historical past is exclusive and infrequently untold. One instance from this previous week was when he referenced Adam Vinatieri’s 41-yard game-winning discipline objective to beat the Panthers in Tremendous Bowl XXVIII as some of the underrated kicks of Vinatieri’s profession.

Acknowledging the irony of calling a game-winning kick within the Tremendous Bowl as underrated, Belichick cited Carolina’s field-goal rush as the explanation why, which required added emphasis on Vinatieri to get the soccer up shortly.

The Panthers had Kris Jenkins, Mike Rucker, Al Wallace, Shane Burton and Matt Willig up entrance, with linebacker Dan Morgan amongst these offering a second-level push. The Panthers had additionally blocked a 36-yard discipline objective earlier within the sport, and Belichick stated Thursday they had been “one of many all-time nice field-goal rush groups.”

Small element, however one which additional helps body an iconic second in Patriots historical past.

10. Did You Know: Over the previous 25 years, there have been 11 huge receivers traded for no less than a first-round choose, and the oldest gamers of that group on the time of the commerce had been 28 (Randy Moss, Joey Galloway). One thing to think about when factoring in commerce compensation in a attainable deal for 32-year-old Julio Jones.


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