Mac Watch: Jones in command of Patriots offense on day 1 of training camp
July 27th, 2022
Patriots quarterback Mac Jones and wide receiver Nelson Agholor during Patriots training camp at the Gillette Stadium practice field on July 27, 2022. (Syndication: Providence Journal)
One day into his sophomore training camp, Patriots quarterback Mac Jones looks like he has things under control.
There’s certainly not much you can glean from Jones or the Patriots’ performance after just one day of camp in Foxboro. They practiced in shells with little-to-no contact, with full pads expected to be strapped on for the first time next Monday, which will be day 5.
So, for Jones, the important thing is his overall command of the offense and on-field confidence. After one practice, those things look strong.
Jones completed 18-of-22 passes in team drills, most of which consisted of red zone work and shorter throws. He was mostly decisive with the ball and rarely held it. Only one of his incompletions was noticeably inaccurate, an overthrown corner fade intended for tight end Devin Asiasi.
It was in that same red zone session that Jones got on a roll. After the incompletion to Asiasi, he completed three straight “touchdowns,” two to newcomer DeVante Parker and one to Nelson Agholor.
Parker made arguably the most noise of any Patriots receiver. He repeatedly out-jumped and out-muscled defenders, at one point beating rookie cornerback Jack Jones for an end zone grab and pumping up the cheering crowd in celebration. Jones slipped out of the pocket and went to Parker for what looked like his second read, then delivered a strike.
Impressed by DeVante Parker today.
Maybe it’s because N’Keal Harry formerly wore No. 1…
Kendrick Bourne also had plenty of “juice,” as he likes to call it. He caught two straight passes during an early red zone drill, and on the second catch he spiked the ball with authority.
One of Jones’ incompletions appeared to be the result of indecisiveness. He held the ball seemingly a split second long, then targeted Jakobi Meyers in the back of the end zone, but defensive back Joshuah Bledsoe was all over him in coverage.
Jones finished the day strong – to the dismay of the Patriots defense. First he completed a ball to Ty Montgomery, who looks like he has a chance to be a factor as a running back-receiver hybrid. Then, Nelson Agholor made an impressive grab with Malcolm Butler between him and the ball, corralling it around Butler in the back corner.
To close out practice, the offense and defense squared off for one last play, with the loser having to do push-ups. Jones completed it to Damien Harris in the corner of the end zone, which drew a loud cheer from the well-represented crowd. So, in that sense, the offense “won the day.”
Mac Jones speaks to reporters after practice at Patriots training camp in Foxboro on July 27, 2022. (Matt Dolloff/98.5 The Sports Hub)
Jones worked closely with all of the principal Patriots coaches at times during practice. Bill Belichick, of course, but also quarterbacks coach Joe Judge and offensive assistant Evan Rothstein. Offensive line coach/senior adviser Matt Patricia called offensive plays during team drills, a strong indication that he’s in the lead to be the de facto offensive coordinator.
Belichick had uncommonly glowing praise for Jones in a recent Zoom conference, describing a “dramatic improvement” in multiple areas. Both he and Jones noted the quarterback’s footwork as a physical area he wanted to improve. Belichick certainly seems happy about the work Jones put in during the off-season, but the second-year pro acknowledged that day 1 of training camp is a far cry from a real game.
“The offseason’s great, but you want to take what you learned and apply it, and being able to use it in games is the reason you do it,” Jones told reporters after practice. “That’s the reason you work hard. And I know a lot of guys on our team have worked really hard, and just seeing that, you know, us growing together is going to be good. But you know, we have a long way to go. And today’s just the start.”
The start was a solid one, though. We’ll see how well it translates to actual games, but Jones looks confident and in command of the offense, certainly at a higher level than a year ago.
Click here for more Patriots training camp coverage at 985TheSportsHub.com. Be sure to check back after every camp practice for the newest Mac Watch, as we chronicle the starting quarterback’s pivotal second year.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at email@example.com.