FOXBORO, Mass. — New England Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones is setting realistic expectations for himself in just his fourth week of practice as a pro.
Jones acknowledged off the top of his video conference call with reporters Thursday there will be good and bad days at organized team activities sessions. Thursday’s wasn’t so terrible. He worked as New England’s No. 3 quarterback behind Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer with starter Cam Newton out nursing a hand injury, completed 6 of 8 passes and took what would have been a sack in a game (quarterbacks wear red non-contact jerseys in practice). Jones completed passes to wide receivers (rather than running backs and tight ends) for the first time in front of reporters but also badly missed rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson on a screen.
The Patriots 15th overall pick lives every day by a simple metaphor.
“I kind of have two buckets: the things I know, keep in one bucket, and the things that I keep messing up or the things I’m not getting, I have to put them in another bucket and figure out what’s wrong,” Jones said Thursday. “So, I just kind of got to take that approach and learn from all the quarterbacks so it’s not just me, learn from the older guys on the team and watch them practice and learn how to practice the best way I can so that when we get to the games, it’ll be easier.”
Jones later said it’s about improving what he’s putting in the bad bucket and keeping what’s already doing well in the good bucket. He deals with the frustrations of the bad bucket overflowing by “problem-solving.”
“That’s all life is about,” Jones said. “You can be mad for a couple minutes, and I’m going to be mad about it, but I have to move on and figure out what works, what I actually did wrong from a schematic standpoint. And that’s how every good problem-solver works.”
It certainly sounds like Jones is taking a steady approach early in his NFL career. There are still three months until the 2021 NFL season begins, so there’s plenty of time for more growth from the rookie signal-caller as he continues trying to climb up the quarterback depth chart.