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Mac Jones won over Patriots coaches with his football smarts and passing accuracy, but his new teammates already see a different winning trait.
“He has a swag to him that I didn’t know that he had at first,” wide receiver Kendrick Bourne told reporters after Thursday’s OTA practice. “He’s out there confident and that’s what you need in a quarterback, and in all our players.
“He’s come in with that and I think that’s going to take him a long way. If you can believe in yourself [at] all times, for any player, you’ll have success anywhere you are. So I can just see the confidence.”
The Patriots used the No. 15 pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft on Jones, setting up a competition to start between the rookie and returning starter Cam Newton. Veteran journeyman Brian Hoyer and third-year pro Jarrett Stidham also are in the quarterback room.
“Swag” often is a word used to describe Newton, the former NFL MVP with the Under Armour endorsement. Jones, who already has drawn comparisons to a young Tom Brady, is going to need plenty of confidence to handle highs and lows and meet incredibly high expectations.
“Mac’s doing a great job,” tight end Hunter Henry said. “He’s obviously new and I’m new. We’re just all going through it together. Him being even new to the atmosphere of this next level, he’s doing a great job. Good to have him here and we’re all excited for him.”
Bourne and Henry are two of the Patriots’ new passing game weapons acquired during a $300 million free-agent spending spree.
In his one year as a starter, Jones led the nation in completion percentage (77.4), passing yards (4,500) and total quarterback rating (96.1). He accounted for 41 touchdowns for the national champions.
“We’re starting everybody at the same point like we always do this time of year,” coach Bill Belichick said. “So Mac dove into the playbook and continues to do that. Like everybody out there, we all have a lot of things we have to work on — that includes everybody. That’s what he’s doing, that’s what everybody is doing.”
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