During his first press conference for training camp at Gillette Stadium, Belichick noted that Jones has made huge strides this season as QB looks to build on a solid rookie campaign in 2021.
“I think Mac did a great job,” Belichick said. “He’s worked really hard. He’s got a phenomenal work ethic across the board. I think there’s been a huge improvement. His physical work and conditioning, working on his mechanics, working on his feet, working on his understanding of our crimes, against his opponents’ defenses and situations—all of those things.”
Jones spent 2021 training camp competing with Cam Newton for the role of Patriots quarterback, eventually beating the Pro Bowler three times for the job. He set impressive rookie stats—3801 passing yards, 67.6 percent completion rate, 22 passing touchdowns and 13 interceptions—and was the only first-year QB to lead his team to a winning record, let alone reach postseason. .
Now that the 23-year-old has a full sabbatical as the clear New England quarterback, Belichick saw Jones up his game even more.
“He’s made tremendous strides,” Belichick said of Jones. “He did a great job last year, but he started from a much higher point this year than he started last year. So his off-season work has been important, and I think everyone realizes how well he prepared and how far along he was a year ago.”
It won’t be easy for Jones in 2022; Talented offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels lost to Las Vegas Raiders And it will have to work without an official OC. (Matt Patricia He seems to be the main candidate for calling plays, while Joe Judge is the midfield coach). But Belichick believes Jones’ additional experience will help him feel more comfortable this season, no matter who’s around him.
“We’re way ahead of the conversation (compared to last year),” Belichick said. “The plays or the concepts we’re talking about, Mac has already done before. It’s easy for him to say, ‘Okay, are we going to do this in this regard?'” Are we going to do this in something else? How about splitting it a little wider, a little tighter? Suggestions like that.
“I mean, this comes up all the time. Now, he comes with the background of the experience of doing this. He might have had some of the same questions last year, but without really having the full knowledge that he had this year. So, he kept talking a lot.”
The Patriots have question marks in several positions – particularly in defense – to enter the 2022 campaign. Jones may be the most important player on the roster, however, if he manages to make the “leap of the year two” it would go a long way toward competitive New England in the fall.
Patriots veterans reported Gillette Stadium on Tuesday, with the first official practice of boot camp scheduled for Wednesday morning.