We got some rare insight into how Mac Jones views following Tom Brady in New England
As the New England Patriots’ top draft pick just a year after Tom Brady left the organization, it’s certainly fair to label Mac Jones as the quarterback who is supposed to ‘follow’ Brady as the Patriots’ franchise quarterback (at 31 years old, Cam Newton was never going to be a long-term option). Yet as Jones enters his third year, it’s not a topic he’s discussed much publicly.
The closest Jones has come to speaking on the subject came his rookie year, ahead of Brady’s return to Gillette Stadium as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He answered five questions about Brady, but mostly on how he viewed the seven-time Super Bowl Champion from the outside looking in, rather than compared to himself.
Following the Patriots’ first joint practice of the week against the Green Bay Packers on Wednesday though, we got a rare glimpse into how Jones approaches being the ‘next man up’ in New England. Packers quarterback Jordan Love is facing a similar task to the one Jones did as a rookie, having to step under center following the departure of a future Hall of Fame franchise quarterback in Aaron Rodgers (who himself did the same thing, replacing Brett Favre). A member of the Packers media asked Jones on Wednesday if he had any advice for Love in that regard.
“I think Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback to ever play in the NFL,” Jones remarked. “So to follow him, it’s just trying to chase the standard that he set every day. Honestly, we’re definitely two different players.”
“That’s the only advice I’d have – just continue to grow and be yourself, that’s all you can do,” Jones continued, back to the original point of the question. “Put your best foot forward and compete. But yeah, it’s definitely big shoes to fill.”
Prior to Brady’s return game in 2021, Jones told reporters he’d never interacted with Brady before. That’s changed since, and the two were pictured together at a party over the summer.
While Jones’ career has been kept almost surprisingly separate from Brady’s to this point, he can likely expect another round of similar questions in a few weeks. As Jones begins what will be a monumentally consequential season for his career one way or the other, Brady will return to Gillette Stadium once again in Week 1. This time, it will be at the team’s invite, as they honor him following his retirement after 23 NFL seasons.