Mac Jones kicks off second training camp with crispy first practice

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Perry: Mac kicks off training camp with crispy first practice originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

FOXBORO -- Matthew Slater said on Tuesday that the Patriots would be Mac Jones' team. On Wednesday, it looked like it.

Jones was relaxed and confident. He was a teacher at times. He was the offense's point man for celebrations at times. There were moments when he stood and listened to Bill Belichick, Matt Patricia and Joe Judge. There were moments when he animatedly spoke to Belichick, and at one point he had his arm around Patricia in between practice periods.

Next Pats Podcast: Mac Jones and the unveiling of the Patriots new offensive plan | Listen & Follow | Watch on YouTube

Contrasted to the rookie quarterback who wore No. 10 in Foxboro one year ago, the difference is night and day. But now that Jones is the unquestioned starter and one of the best players on the team, there's a different air with which he's approaching his job.

And it suits him. The results from Wednesday's practice -- the first of Patriots training camp -- would suggest as much. He completed 16 of 20 passes in competitive drills, by my count. That included a 9-for-11 showing in 7-on-7 periods and a 7-for-9 performance in 11-on-11 situations. Operating inside the red zone was a focus on Day 1, so Jones had to navigate some tight windows and at times had to scramble to wait for weapons to uncover. But when he put the ball in the air, it usually didn't hit the ground.

His highlights included a pinpoint throw to Kendrick Bourne in the end zone in 7-on-7 work that took Bourne near the sideline and required an outstretched attempt by the soon-to-be 27-year-old wideout to beat Joejuan Williams.

Jones also identified a mismatch when he found DeVante Parker (6-foot-3, 219 pounds) on Marcus Jones (5-foot-8) in the end zone for a touchdown. He later hit Nelson Agholor on a dime of a throw to the back corner of the end zone, leading to a massive celebration by the entire offense.

Jones' throws weren't all perfect, of course. He missed Jonnu Smith on a pass into the flat that bounced low and away from the tight end. Smith laid out for the attempt and was slow to get up. (Smith appeared to participate fully the rest of the way.) In a different period, Jones got caught lofting a 50-50 throw to Parker despite good coverage -- and a good press at the line -- from Jalen Mills, and the pass was broken up. Second-year defensive back Josh Bledsoe broke up another attempt into the end zone for Jakobi Meyers. And Jones had multiple reps where he might've been sacked had the situation been live.

But, all things considered, it was a typically-accurate practice from Jones. It was the type of practice he's submitted since early last summer. The difference is now he gets more reps. The team is his, and his teammates -- who spent several portions of the practice erupting with Jones after positive plays -- know it.

"He definitely brings a lot of swagger," Trent Brown said.

"We're definitely more comfortable," Bourne said, "knowing how Mac throws, knowing how he operates, (how) he thinks. Definitely being more familiar with each other than last year. The ice is already broken so it's a lot better."