New England Patriots: Mac Jones taking a leadership role in his 2nd year

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports /

The New England Patriots have wrapped OTAs recently, and will begin their three day mandatory minicamp this week. This is just another small sign that football is nearing an official return.

While it’s admittedly not the most exciting time of the year on the football calender, this is the first glimpse we will get at what the 2022 version of the Patriots will look like. After sneaking into the playoffs despite a ton of offseason change in 2021, there are some bigger expectations surrounding this squad for the upcoming season.

One guy who will certainly be faced with bigger expectations than last season is Mac Jones. Jones earrned the starting quarterback job in training camp last year and never looked back. With a full season under his belt, and an offseason where he is able to prepare knowing he will be the starter heading into the season, Jones should be expected to improve on the field in 2022.

Mac Jones is stepping up as a leader for the New England Patriots as well

While Jones stepped up in a big way under center for New England last season, he appears to be taking a similar step forward as a leader too. Jones spent his rookie season primarily learning the ropes, but now that he’s got some experience in the league, Jones has started to take on more responsibility in the offense and with his teammates.

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This was among the biggest takeaways from OTAs, as those on hand said it was hard to miss Jones’ presence on the field. This is a great sign for New England, as Jones doesn’t appear content with how things went during his first NFL season. Jones’ teammates have taken notice of his hard-work, and appreciate the commitment he has put forth for his team.

"“It’s just at another level now. He’s more comfortable, more confident. He knows what’s going on, and the muscle memory is there [from having gone through it] — OTAs, then camp, and the season. He’s just more locked in, more secure in his position. He connects with all the players really well. I’m proud of that dude, because it’s not easy. Going into his second year after having a year like that, it’s going to be a challenge, but he’s a guy that likes challenges, like all of us in that Patriot building.” – Kendrick Bourne, ESPN"

Mac Jones improved leadership a great sign for the New England Patriots

Jones stepping up and taking more control in the New England Patriots offense is a fantastic sign if you are a Pats fan. For much of his first season, Jones had deal with comparisons to Tom Brady and Cam Newton, the two quarterbacks he was tasked with replacing. Those comparisons may always stick, but he exorcised some of those demons with a successful rookie campaign.

Now it’s time for Jones to step out of their shadows and begin writing his own legacy. The first chapter of it was a pretty solid rookie season. But in order for the next chapters to be as good or better, Jones is going to have to take the next step forward, both on and off the field.

So far, Jones has put in the work to be a better leader off the field. He hosted a party at his house for the opening night of the 2022 NFL Draft, and has been working on building better bonds with his teammates in hopes that they will lead to better results on the field. We saw last season how Jones’ relationship with Kendrick Bourne and Hunter Henry yielded some great results.

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Jones isn’t content with getting thrashed in the Wild Card round of the playoffs every season. He wants more, and his commitment to being a better leader proves as much. The continued growth of Mac Jones on the field is certainly important, but his growth off the field as a leader may be even more important.