The New England Patriots are back in the postseason for the first time since Tom Brady packed his bags. A comfortable win over Jacksonville on Sunday has been enough for them to seal a place in the NFL Playoffs.
After a string of bad results, the Patriots got back on track against the weakened Jaguars in what has been a fantastic redemption day for Mac Jones. The rookie QB bounced back from his worst game of the year against the Bills to show the best version of himself again.
Jones completed 22 of 30 passes, throwing for 227 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, which has been much better than his 14/32, 145 yards, 0 TDs and 2 INTs in Week 16. After the victory, Belichick only had words of praise for the Alabama Crimson Tide product.
Mac Jones draws high praise from Bill Belichick after the Patriots' win over Jaguars
“Mac is super consistent,” Belichick said, per Zack Cox of NESN. “Every day is really the same day for Mac. He’s always well prepared. He’s in early. He’s ready to go. He knows what we’re going to be doing, and he’s already got a head start on it. He maximizes the information that the coaches give him, maximizes the walkthroughs, the practice reps, and learns from whatever happens in those situations.
"He’s smart. He’s a good learner, but he’s got good instincts and good mechanics," he continued. "He’s just worked hard to get better every day. A lot of consistency and great work ethic and really pays attention to details and has just improved in every area throughout the course of the year. Continues to improve on a daily basis.
“He’s just a really great person to coach because he’s so responsive to trying to do everything the way that you want to do it. (Offensive coordinator) Josh (McDaniels) has done a fantastic job with him, and Mac has really, I think, embraced the wisdom that Josh has transmitted to him, and he played extremely well (Sunday).”
Jones has earned high praise around the league for how he led the Patriots' offense in his rookie season. There may have been some ups and downs, something completely normal for a guy who is experiencing his first year in the league, but overall, Jones has made quite an impression in Foxborough.
The Patriots may have found in him the long-term solution to the quarterback position, something that looked extremely challenging when Brady left. In only one year with Jones, they've already made it to the postseason. And the fact that Belichick has so much praise for him suggests that the future is even brighter.