Rookie QB Mac Jones impressed New England Patriots teammates with toughness in his debut

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Mac Jones took the pain on Sunday. In his NFL debut, the quarterback was hit nine times and sacked once against the Miami Dolphins.

Although the Patriots know they need to clean up their pass protection, Jones impressed his teammates with his ability to stand in the pocket, face the pressure and get hit before throwing the ball. Two of Jones bigger throws – a 7-yard touchdown pass and a 21-yard pass to Nelson Agholor – came with defenders in his face. In both instances, Jones was hit, but he made good throws.

“He did a great job. I was really proud of him, how he handled it,” tight end Hunter Henry said. “He had a lot of poise and obviously delivered the ball really well. Sat in there in the pocket, even when the pocket was coming down, and he made some big-time throws that you know sometimes a lot of other guys aren't going to make, just standing in the pocket and taking hits and everything like that.

“It shows a lot of pride like to us like the guy that's going to stand in there no matter what and deliver the ball – it was big to see. He's only going to get better and continue to get better and more game reps and more practice reps and all the reps that we take.”

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Patriots QB #10 Mac Jones is sacked in the 1st quarter by Miami corner #24 Byron Jones.[The Providence Journal/Bob Breidenbach]
Patriots QB #10 Mac Jones is sacked in the 1st quarter by Miami corner #24 Byron Jones.[The Providence Journal/Bob Breidenbach]

According to ESPN, Jones completed 9 of 13 passes while under pressure. That included his first-career touchdown pass. Although Jones passed the test when it came to facing pressure, the Patriots certainly don’t want to see a repeat performance this weekend against the New York Jets.

“We were disturbed by it,” said Patriots offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo. “It's our job to keep him clean, and we need to do a better job of it. It comes down to individual fundamentals, and I'm certain myself and the rest of the guys are eager to get out there tomorrow and start working on these fundamentals so that we can try to alleviate that or minimize it happening in the future.”

“We’ve just got to be better,” added Patriots left guard Michael Onwenu. “We put it on ourselves. Obviously it’s us blocking so it pushes us to be better and do better.”

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Mac Jones: New England Patriots impressed with rookie QB's toughness