The New England Patriots didn't have to wait too long to find their new quarterback. Cam Newton's one-and-done year at Foxboro was soon forgotten after Mac Jones took the reins last season.
The rookie out of Alabama looked poised, calm, and ready to make an impact. While not uber-athletic or overly impressive, he often made the right play and showed glimpses of untapped potential.
Now, Jones is ready to take another step forward in his game and prove to his doubters that he can be one of the best in the league. He's working on his deep ball passing, perhaps the biggest area of improvement from his first year in the league.
NFL News: Mac Jones' Deep Ball Passing Showing Vast Improvement In Training Camp
"Spring practices are the appetizer to the main menu, and quarterback Mac Jones and the Patriots' offense provided a tasty preview of what they hope to be cooking in 2022," reported Mike Reiss of ESPN. "The main takeaway: There is potential for significant improvement in the deep passing game. Jones delivered three downfield, tight-window throws in the final practice of mandatory minicamp that couldn't have been placed any better."
Jones Says Bill Belichick Has Been 'Hands On' In The Offense
Jones has gotten to work pretty closely with Bill Belichick in the offseason. Josh McDaniels is no longer in town, so it's been Belichick in charge of developing the offense ahead of the upcoming campaign:
"It was fun for me to get snaps from him," Jones told the media "But we were just talking through something with the running backs and, like you said, he's very hands on. And last year, he was more with the defense and stuff. But now it's like, 'OK, let me show you this.' And he's kind of coaching us and coaching the running backs in that drill on the way that they need to get through the line of scrimmage. So he's very hands on and I feel like we've made a lot of growth together as an offensive unit with him. And obviously personally with him as a quarterbacks group. So we're all on the same page."
"He's seen the most amount of football of any of our coaches," Jones added. "He's seen defense, offense, and special teams so having his input is always going to be very beneficial to me because he knows what puts stress on the defense. And now with him being very hands on, he knows how we can stress the defense and how it's going to play into our hand."
The Pats lost a couple of key pieces in the offseason on the defensive side of the ball. But they added DeVante Parker to their underwhelming receiving corps and are expecting big things from that connection going forward.