Mac Jones lit it up at Wednesday’s joint Patriots-Giants practice, but Thursday was a different story.
New England’s rookie quarterback, splitting time with Cam Newton, wasn’t bad, but he did struggle more than he did Wednesday when his veteran counterpart was absent. Some of that apparently had to do with adjustments made by New York, but the day also served as a reminder that Jones is, well, a rookie, prone to uneven practices.
“Today wasn’t as good,” Jones told reporters after practice, via NESN.com’s Zack Cox. “But we’ll figure out what we did bad and just fix it. It was fun.”
Jones added: (The Giants) made some good adjustments on defense with their safeties and stuff. … They were just messing around a little bit more and trying to show different looks. But I’ll just watch it and see what they actually did. They did a good job, better today.”
Jones acknowledged that Newton’s return factored into his relatively inconsistent performance.
“Yesterday I got a lot of reps and it was great and we communicated and I felt like we were in a really good flow. I kind of got into like a game flow,” Jones told reporters. “Today it’s a little bit harder just to get into that but I can get better because you just have to watch the tape.
” … At the same time when you are a rookie any reps you get it’s going to be awesome.”
It remains unclear how Newton’s COVID-19-related absence, coupled with Jones’ play this week, will impact New England’s quarterback competition. Head coach Bill Belichick all along has maintained Newton is the team’s starter, but his stance seemingly has softened over the last week.
Jones was both accountable and by-the-Foxboro-book when asked about the QB battle.
“That’s beyond my control,” he said, via CBS Boston. “I can just control my effort every day and trying. I’m putting in a lot of work and everyone else is too. At the end of the day there should be no drop-off. In the quarterback room — it’s something Josh (McDaniels) always talks about — there is a standard we play to in New England. It doesn?t matter if you’re first-, second- or third-string.
“Today I felt like I could have been better living up to those standards.”
Jones is saying all the right things, but the reality is this: He has made a compelling case for supplanting Newton as New England’s starting quarterback. And it has much or more to do with his performance during practice and in games than anything Newton has or hasn’t done.
Obviously, Sunday’s Patriots-Giants preseason game will provide both players a significant opportunity to prove they deserve the job.