Why Mac Jones' teammate thinks Pats QB will be ‘special'


Bill Belichick won't fuel the Mac Jones hype train, but his New England Patriots teammates have no problem doing so.

Jones completed his first NFL minicamp last week at Gillette Stadium, and while he had some expected ups and downs, many Patriots players have been impressed by the team's rookie quarterback since he arrived in Foxboro.

Offensive tackle Trent Brown was among that group.

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"He's a young guy, but you can't really just refer to him as a young guy. You can tell he's been at a place where's got some coaching," Brown said, via ESPN's Mike Reiss. "He's going to be special here in the future."

Jones is No. 2 on the QB depth chart behind Cam Newton and faces an uphill battle to unseat the incumbent starter. Newton finished minicamp with a strong effort Wednesday, and Belichick noted the 32-year-old is "way ahead of where he was last year at this time."

But the Patriots appear to be giving Jones a real chance in the QB competition, handing him more reps than Newton in team drills Tuesday and treating him more like a veteran than a 22-year-old rookie.

"In the final practice, when the offense had to rehuddle twice because of Jones' communication breakdowns, (offensive coordinator Josh) McDaniels wasn't happy and let him know about it with gusto most often reserved for those who have been around more than a couple of months," Reiss observed in his Sunday notes column.

Based on early accounts, Jones has handled the additional responsibility well: Safety Devin McCourty noted the Alabama product "seemed poised" last week and is showing some of the leadership qualities he exhibited for Nick Saban's Crimson Tide.

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"That's a different position being a young guy, because you're automatically in that leadership role," McCourty said of Jones, via Reiss. "But I think he's used to that."

Belichick and the coaching staff will do their best to temper expectations for Jones. But as the highest quarterback New England has drafted since Drew Bledsoe in 1993, Jones naturally comes with some hype, and his teammates are buying in.

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