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The Mac Jones-Tom Brady comparisons may be unfair, but they're inevitable. The seven-time Super Bowl champion set a tremendously high standard for 20 years in Foxboro, and Jones will be counted on to begin a successful new chapter starting on Sunday.
Jones understands the standard that comes with being the New England Patriots quarterback, and the rookie isn't shying away from the challenge of living up to lofty expectations. He was asked by NBC Sports Boston's own Tom E. Curran on Wednesday about the pressure of following in Brady's footsteps.
"I think, obviously, he's a great player," Jones said. "The word 'standard' kind of hit me there because we all want to play to that standard, 'The Patriot Way.' Really, it comes down to just doing your job, so as a quarterback that's leading the people around me as best as I can and that's also executing the plays. ...
"He definitely did a good job. When I first got here, just watching tape, I've watched all the quarterbacks. Obviously, he was on there and he did a really, really good job and hopefully I can do a good job too."
A "good job" is quite an understatement. With Brady at the helm, the Patriots won six Super Bowl titles and clinched an NFL-record 11 consecutive division titles, 17 in all. The 44-year-old was the MVP in four of those Super Bowls and has earned the NFL MVP award three times in his illustrious career. There are many more accolades where that came from.
While Jones certainly has some big shoes to fill, it isn't exactly 'Super Bowl or bust' for the 2021 first-round pick. After a letdown 2020 Patriots season with Cam Newton under center, the hope is that Jones simply will be an upgrade at the QB position and find a way to propel New England back into the playoffs.
As he prepares to begin the journey of his rookie campaign, Jones isn't letting the nerves get to him.
"I think I would be doing the wrong thing if I wasn't (nervous)," Jones said. "But I think nerves are a good thing. You can always be nervous but you can't play nervous. I've always said that. Just play.
"It's my first time out there, but at the same time we've all been playing for a long time and it's all of us together, so it's really not just a one-man show at all. It takes all 11 people and I've just gotta really just focus and just do my job in each play and just take it play by play."
Jones and the Patriots will host the Miami Dolphins for their regular-season opener Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET.
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