FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton did not practice on Thursday due to a right hand injury, and the draft from the first round of Mac Jones worked mostly behind Jarrett Stidham and veteran Brian Hoyer as he prepares for a possible training camp competition at the end of July.
“I’m a rookie, so I’m just learning from them. We’re all in this. There’s competition, but people want a misinterpreted word there, as if it’s a bad competition or unhealthy,” Jones said. “We’re all close. We’ll all get better together. That’s what we need to do.”
How quickly Jones improves and enables himself to be the starter is, of course, a hot topic in New England after the Patriots selected him 1
Belichick often makes the point that spring is time for teaching, and the real competition begins at the start of training camp in late July. He has previously declared Newton the team’s top quarterback and said time will tell if anyone will challenge him. Meanwhile, Jones called Newton “a good mentor” for him.
“He calls me ‘Mac and Cheese,’ so I have my nickname,” he said, adding that Stidham and Hoyer have also helped him in the movie room as he works on measuring them to master the playbook.
“They can do it really fast. My goal is to hopefully be able to do it even faster every day and I have tried to do it. It’s a bit like a different nature for them. I have to find out of how to do it fast and perform the piece very quickly to a level in a new offense. “
In assessing his own progress, Jones, 22, acknowledged that he has had some good days and then some bad ones.
“It’s not going to be perfect every day. It’s hard when you’m competitive and you want it to be really good every day. At first it’s not going to be like that. Eventually you get it and things start to roll your way, “he said. “I think it’s just going back to following my rules and a lot is happening in my brain. You’re just trying to see everything. Sometimes you see too much or whatever. And then you see nothing. So I have to figure out, in this offense, how I can do it – how can I break down the pieces, what is my job, what should I do on this specific game and then the castle pieces individually.
“I obviously did well in college or whatever, but these are the benefits, and I have to figure out how to do it here.”
Jones, who led Alabama to the national championship last season while finishing a record 77.4% of his passes, described how he has approached each day.
“I kind of have two buckets. Things I know in a bucket, and things that I keep ruining – or things I do not get – I have to put them in another bucket and find out what that is wrong, “he said. “You must improve the bad and keep the good in the good.”
The Patriots are scheduled for a final volunteer organized team activity on Friday and then have their three-day mandatory minicamp from Monday.
What Belichick has seen from Jones’ learning of the playbook, he said, “Mac works on it like everyone else, and there’s a lot for all these guys to learn and absorb, and it just runs together every day. But as a group, they has worked hard and we are making progress … things are moving in the right direction. “