Mac Jones’ first New England Patriots start also was the McCourty Bowl, with twin brothers Devin and Jason squaring off for the first time since 2012.
Jason McCourty, who spent three years in New England before signing with the Miami Dolphins this past offseason, was impressed by the poise Jones displayed during the Patriots’ 17-16 loss at Gillette Stadium.
“Man, he didn’t make any mistakes in the game,” the Dolphins defensive back said on an episode of “The Bill Simmons Podcast” posted Wednesday. “He was poised. Even between plays, he’s yelling at the offense to get it going. Just a guy that seemed in total control of the offense, making checks at the line of scrimmage.
“Even when we watched him on film in the preseason, it was like, this guy’s a rookie, but he’s playing like a veteran out there. So we kind of knew we were going to have to bring our best game to be able to defeat him.”
McCourty shared a similar assessment immediately after the game, calling Jones “a poised young guy.”
Amid heavy pressure from Miami’s defense, Jones completed 29 of 39 passes for 281 yards and one touchdown with no turnovers in his regular-season NFL debut. It wasn’t enough to carry the mistake-prone Patriots to victory in their season opener, but his debut performance did validate New England’s decision to start Jones over veteran Cam Newton, whom they released on cutdown day.
Devin McCourty, who witnessed Jones develop from a first-round draft pick into a Week 1 starter over the course of a few months, said the young QB quickly endeared himself to his teammates.
“I think when he came in, just to see kind of how he went about everything,” the longtime Patriots safety said on Simmons’ podcast. “Obviously, I tell people all the time, transitioning from college to NFL quarterback, it’s hard to know what any of these guys can do. But I would say Mac’s attitude, his approach to the game I think made a lot of the veterans really like him and love what he was doing.
“He gets mad at himself — he?s hard on himself a lot — and I know I said to him one time, ‘Man, you?re a rookie. You?ll make some mistakes. Just keep going.’ And I think guys saw right away what he wanted to do and the control that he had when he was out on the field, the poise. So it’s been fun so far just watching his growth from training camp almost the way to Week 1.”