LOUDON, N.H. — At this point, you’d be hard-pressed to hear anyone from the Patriots saying a bad word about Mac Jones.
Obviously, it would be headline news if a New England player or coach was doing anything other than praising the team’s first-round quarterback — or of an opponent, for that matter. It’s just the way things go at One Patriot Place.
Still, there’s a difference between “company speak” and being legitimately impressed. And all indications are those who have worked with Jones this summer have loved what they’ve seen from the Alabama product.
You can add Gunner Olszewski to that list. The Patriots receiver, who drove the pace car in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire Speedway, talked about Jones before leading the field to green in the Foxwoods 301.
“Good, smart guy,” Olszewski, an All-Pro punt returner last season, told NESN.com on Sunday. “Smart football player. I see why we took him. Those aren’t the decisions I make, but I think it was a good one.
“He’s a fun guy to be around and I think he’s a good football player.”
Jones and the Patriots recently inked a four-year rookie contract with a standard fifth-year option. All signs point toward he and Cam Newton engaging in a true quarterback competition during training camp and the preseason.
As for Olszewski, he’ll look to earn a spot on New England’s roster for the third consecutive season. The 2019 undrafted free agent has proven himself as a punt returner, but will have to stand out as a receiver during camp if he wants a consistent role in the passing game.