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New England Patriots ‘ecstatic’ with Mac Jones preparation for 2022 season

Matt Johnson

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones showed plenty of promise in his rookie season, displaying the ability to play at a high level in big moments and operating within the structure of the game plan. But those aren’t the biggest reasons why the Patriots coaching staff is excited about Jones in 2022.

Jones, the 15th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, looked like the best rookie quarterback last season. He overcame a below-average receiving corps to finish with a 10-7 record, snapping New England’s playoff drought after a single year.

  • Mac Jones stats (2021): 3,801 passing yards, 22-13 TD-INT, 92.5 QB rating, 67.5% completion rate

There will be a lot more pressure on him this fall. Josh McDaniels, one of the best offensive play-callers in the NFL is gone. New England added DeVante Parker to its receiving corps, but the overhaul to the coaching staff raises significant questions. It puts more weight on the 23-year-old’s shoulders to step up and he seems to be doing just that.

According to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, the Patriots are ecstatic about Jones’ dedication to football this offseason. He reportedly spent extensive hours at Gillette Stadium, getting into the building before many of his coaches. Just as important, he is stepping up as a leader and becoming more vocal in the creation of the game plan for the 2022 season.

It comes at a crucial time for the Patriots’ coaching staff and Bill Belichick. Joe Judge, fired by the New York Giants this offseason, is working closely with Jones. While Judge has worked as an assistant coach since 2005 at various levels, he has no coaching experience with quarterbacks.

Related: New Orleans Saints tried to acquire Mac Jones in 2021 NFL Draft

That’s a familiar theme this year in New England. The Patriots don’t currently have an offensive coordinator and many of the positional coaches are taking on unfamiliar roles. With so much uncertainty, it’s clear someone in the building needed to step up.

The buzz surrounding Jones heading into the summer is good. For this team to be successful, though, the Patriots must prove they can put a great structure around the young quarterback that increases his chances of becoming a top quarterback. If the supporting cast isn’t enough, there will be long-term questions about Jones around the league and even more skepticism surrounding Belichick’s decision-making and talent evaluation without Tom Brady carrying the team.