Getting stronger and taking on a more active leadership role were among Mac Jones’ stated priorities as he prepares for his second New England Patriots season.
At least one teammate has seen growth in both areas from the young quarterback.
“He’s definitely trained his butt off, I can tell you that,” wide receiver Nelson Agholor said Tuesday in a video conference. “I see it every day when he comes in here. He works his butt off. He’s here every day putting the time in. And, obviously, when he throws the football, he throws the football well — really well. I’m impressed with what he does every day and how he works.”
Agholor has worked closely with Jones both in the Patriots’ voluntary offseason workouts and during a handful of informal throwing sessions, including some that were held at Agholor’s old high school in Tampa.
Jones’ vocal leadership style has stood out to the veteran wideout.
“I think Mac’s greatest strength is his ability to communicate,” Agholor said. “Obviously, he’s a great quarterback. I think he throws the ball amazing. But I love the way he communicates, and that’s something that allows you to grow together and work together, because communication is the key to every great relationship.
“He does a great job telling me what he sees. He does a great job of telling me what he likes about what I’m doing. He does a great job of (telling me about) some things that are hard for him to read when I move around and things like that. And once you know, there’s less gray area. … His communication is everything.”
Jones is looking to build on a promising debut season that saw him finish second in NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year voting and make the Pro Bowl as an AFC alternate. He also steered the Patriots to a 10-win season and a playoff berth, though their brief postseason ended with a 47-17 loss to the division rival Buffalo Bills in the wild-card round.
“He works hard, I can tell you that much,” Agholor said. “He leads by example with his effort each day. It’s consistent. He has consistent, hard-working effort, trains really hard, and he leads the bunch. So I think that is definitely something you must respect about him — how he trains.”
Agholor also is eyeing improvement this season. He struggled during his first season with New England (37 catches, 473 yards, three touchdowns in 15 games) but believes his increased comfort in and knowledge of the Patriots’ system will facilitate a Year 2 leap.