Mac Jones delivers a strike, and hope, for New England and their fans

To say it has been an unsettling August in New England would be an understatement.

With Josh McDaniels off to the AFC West, and the keys to the offense being handed to either Matt Patricia or Joe Judge, the Patriots offense is in unfamiliar hands for the first time in a long time.

At the helm of that offense? Second-year passer Mac Jones. New England’s first-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft showed he belonged in the NFL last season, as he helped the Patriots to a playoff berth. Now? Patriots fans are hoping he proves his worth in the season ahead by delivering more than just an appearance in the postseason.

However, with questions about who is calling the plays, and reports of a switch of emphasis on the offensive side of the football leading to mixed results in practice, New England fans are uneasy.

Friday night offered Patriots fans their first chance to see Jones in live game action this preseason, and the second-year quarterback did his best to ease their fears over the new-look offense. In limited action, Jones hit on 4 of 8 passing attempts for 61 yards, and led the Patriots on a scoring drive.

The one throw that perhaps did the most to quell concerns in New England? This long strike to veteran wide receiver Nelson Agholor:

The downfield passing game — along with Jones’ ability to attack downfield — is one of the big question marks facing New England this season. On this play, the Patriots dial up a vertical concept out of a 3×1 formation, against Cover 1 from Carolina. Jones does a good job of holding the free safety in the middle of the field, before hitting Agholor with a perfectly-thrown pass for the huge gain.

One of the newest Patriots, veteran running back Ty Montgomery, capped off the drive with this short touchdown run:

This drive, and one throw, might not be enough to ease all the concerns in New England. But on this humid summer night, it is a start.

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire