Phil Perry

Patriots leaders high on Mac Jones headed into Year 3

"I think Mac's got all the tools to succeed."

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FOXBORO -- The Patriots haven't yet hit the field for training camp, but already their third-year quarterback is receiving support from some of the most important voices in the locker room.

"He's a resilient young man," Matthew Slater said of Mac Jones. "Playing quarterback is one of the toughest jobs in all of pro sports... He's shown a great deal of mental toughness. I think he's learning, 'Hey, I'm just going to focus on the things that I can control, keep my head down, work hard, try to get better for our football team.' "

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Last year's offensive dysfunction impacted all position groups, but it sounds as though a new staff in place -- led by offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien -- has Jones in a better headspace.

"Just seeing him grow more confident," David Andrews said. "Getting older. He's doing more. Getting comfortable in the system (and with) the things we're doing. I know he's been here a lot of the summer, working with guys and doing things like that. That's always great, as much as they can get on the same page. I think Mac's got all the tools to succeed."

To what level Jones is able to help this year's Patriots offense succeed remains to be seen. But getting off to a strong start in camp, with an accomplished offensive coach in his ear, would undoubtedly lead to more locker room voices sounding off about their appreciation for their young signal-caller. Which wouldn't be an insignificant development for a player who at times last season didn't have the full-throated support of everyone in the organization.

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