Bill Belichick Has Uncharacteristically High Praise For Mac Jones

By Jason Hall

July 26, 2022

New Orleans Saints v New England Patriots
Photo: Getty Images

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick gave some uncharacteristic high praise for second-year quarterback Mac Jones, saying the former No. 15 overall pick made a "dramatic improvement" over the offseason.

"He's made tremendous strides," Belichick said during the Patriots' first official practice of training camp on Tuesday (July 26). via ESPN's Mike Reiss. "He did a great job last year, but he's starting from a much, much higher point this year from where he started last year. His offseason work has been significant, and I think everyone recognizes how well he prepares and how much further along he was than a year ago."

Belichick credited Jones' work ethic and acknowledged that the former University of Alabama standout has made "dramatic improvement" since his rookie season, specifically crediting Jones' "physical work and conditioning, mechanics, footwork, understanding of our offense [and] opponent defenses."

The typically stoic Belichick seems to echo the sentiments of Jones' veteran teammate, tight end Jonnu Smith, who credited the 23-year-old for having a strong presence in the Patriots' locker room last month.

"Honestly, man, just the way he can turn it on," Smith said of Jones during a June appearance on Good Morning Football via "Mac is definitely one of the most goofiest guys in the locker room, to be honest, man. But when he steps on that field, he's a different character. He's just got so much ability and so much dog in him. Once he flips that switch, he's a whole different character. Some guys don't know how to cut that on and cut that off when it's time to do it. He's so young. He's poised. He's got a little swagger to him, man. I'm glad he's throwing us passes. That's my guy."

Jones was selected by the Patriots at No. 15 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft and was named the starting quarterback ahead of Week 1 of his rookie season.

The former University of Alabama standout finished his first season with 3,801 yards, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions on 352 of 521 passing, while leading the Patriots to a 10-7 overall record and playoff berth, as well as being selected to the Pro Bowl and the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team.

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