FOXBORO, Mass. — When Kendrick Bourne reconnected with Mac Jones ahead of the 2022 Patriots season, he noticed something different about the second-year quarterback.
Jones, a smiling Bourne explained Monday, is a bit slimmer in the midsection these days than he was as a promising New England rookie, having spent the last several months working with strength and conditioning coach Moses Cabrera to reshape his body.
“He’s in the best shape of his life,” Bourne said after the Patriots’ first day of organized team activities on the Gillette Stadium practice fields. “I think he’s been here all offseason with Moses, so he looks really good. His stomach is gone, and he looks really good.”
Jones, who did not enter the NFL with an especially chiseled physique, placed improving his diet and strength-training regimen near the top of his priority list as he prepared for his second pro season. He credited Patriots team nutritionist Ted Harper with helping him do just that by phasing unhealthy foods out of his daily routine.
Shedding body fat wasn’t Jones’ only goal, though. As a quarterback — especially a traditional one without elite mobility — he still needs to be sturdy enough to withstand the barrage of hits he’ll take over the course of the coming season.
That “fine balance” is something Jones will continue to hone in the months before Week 1.
“I’ve learned more this offseason than I probably ever have about nutrition, sleep, wellness, all that stuff,” he said. “So I’m taking what I learned that I feel will help me and apply it, and then obviously listening to Ted and everybody, just following their plan, eating healthy, taking out a lot of the things that are bad for my diet.
“But at the same time, I need to maintain my weight and be able to take hits, so there’s a fine balance for every player. … For me, I’ve definitely trimmed down on the body fat a little bit, and then I’ll get a chance to bulk back up before the season starts and be able to absorb the hits.”
Bourne, the Patriots’ top big-play threat last season, has been impressed by Jones’ off-the-field commitment.
“He’s definitely a pro’s pro now,” the wide receiver said. “When you?re a rookie, you just don’t know until you go through it for a year. He’s definitely a lot more in shape than he ever was. He’s just dominating the conditioning, which is dope to see. He’ll be able to endure more during the game and go through more.”