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New England Patriots teammates say Mac Jones’ leadership at ‘one other degree’ – NFL Nation

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Quick-hit ideas and notes across the New England Patriots and NFL:

1. Mac’s edge: Patriots proprietor Robert Kraft stated in March that quarterback Mac Jones was “respectful of coming in as a rookie” final season and that he believed Jones “has a little more edge that we’ve seen.”

It’s displaying now.

The Patriots have two weeks remaining of their offseason program — with a 3-day necessary minicamp scheduled for Tuesday-Thursday this week — and Jones’ elevated leadership has caught his teammates’ consideration.

“It’s just at another level now,” receiver Kendrick Bourne advised ESPN. “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.”

As a consequence, Jones is positioned to develop into a staff captain in simply his second NFL season. If that is the best way it unfolds when gamers vote close to the tip of coaching camp, it will put him in uncommon firm, becoming a member of Jerod Mayo and Devin McCourty as the one different Patriots to earn a second-12 months captaincy in Bill Belichick’s 23-12 months tenure as head coach.

“He connects with all the players really well. I’m proud of that dude, because it’s not easy,” stated Bourne, who was among the many guests at Jones’ home for a hibachi get together throughout the first evening of the NFL draft. “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.”

Jones’ elevated consolation degree has manifested itself at observe when demonstrating to his cross-catchers what he is on the lookout for of their routes. At one level on Tuesday, he cut up out huge and ran a route as huge receivers watched intently.

“He’s a young guy but he’s developed as a leader. That’s what this team needs,” stated receiver DeVante Parker, now in his eighth NFL season and first in New England after being acquired in a commerce from Miami. “I’ve only been here a few weeks, but I still see it.”

Added veteran cornerback Malcolm Butler: “He has great energy on and off the field. His confidence, his swagger — I love that about him.”

2. Balancing act: Starting security Adrian Phillips arrived on the town final week to participate within the closing couple of weeks of the staff’s offseason program. He stated he felt it was the fitting factor to do, although it wasn’t simple leaving his spouse, Camille, and their 8-month-outdated son, Dylan, again in Texas. Camille, a physician, has a demanding job.

“I was at home being a dad and house husband,” Phillips stated. “I’m sad that I’m away from him for an extended period of time, because this time is so pivotal. But I FaceTime with him every day and make sure he doesn’t forget my face.”

3. Post-McDaniels period: How has the transition been with out Josh McDaniels at offensive coordinator? Spending time with Bourne final week at the forty seventh annual Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts Golf Classic, he shared one player’s perspective.

“It’s been dope so far. Joe Judge, our newest member [of the staff], he’s doing a great job,” Bourne stated. “Really just new terminology, new words. Football is football, so it’s just about learning the new words, and getting the old words out. And it’s applying my abilities to the new system.”

How a lot the Patriots’ system really modifications — versus how a lot the employees is specializing in experimentation — is likely one of the biggest areas of intrigue surrounding the staff.

“I think [Judge is] putting us in position to be successful. I’m excited so far,” stated Bourne, including that his skills as a rusher (12 carries, 125 yards, 10.4 common in 2021) have been among the many private highlights. “Hopefully we’ll have a great year. We’ll see how it goes.”

4. CB questions: If there’s one place that stands out when asking the query “Do the Patriots have enough?” it is exterior cornerback. Veterans Butler and Terrance Mitchell have been paired there, together with prime returnee Jonathan Jones within the slot. Jalen Mills and Joejuan Williams have been the others engaged on the surface, with Shaun Wade getting his preliminary work inside. Fourth-round draft decide Jack Jones of Arizona State, who has proven some stickiness in protection, may be an element as he catches as much as the extra skilled gamers. “It’s a good group. A lot of competition,” Butler stated.

5. Thornton’s arms: If Patriots second-spherical decide Tyquan Thornton has a profitable rookie season as a receiver, how he makes use of his arms to develop into a extra fluid route runner may very well be the important thing. That’s one space he is specializing in this spring as he works to get “1% better each day.”

“Your arms, that’s your bread and butter, to get in and out of your breaks,” stated Thornton, who’s carrying a temporary No. 51 in observe, per Belichick’s annual spring custom of assigning rookies unconventional numbers as a reminder to them of what must be most vital.

6. Asiasi’s plan: When the second annual “TE University” takes place June 22-24 in Nashville, Tennessee, third-12 months Patriots tight finish Devin Asiasi plans to be there. The main objective for the 2020 third-spherical decide from UCLA — who has appeared in 10 NFL video games whereas totaling two receptions for 39 yards and one landing — is to achieve extra information from others across the league.

7. Keene’s state: This is a make-or-break 12 months for tight finish Dalton Keene, the Patriots’ different 2020 third-spherical decide whose greatest hope to stay could be as an H-again sort, and it would not assist that he has been restricted the previous two weeks after struggling an undisclosed harm at the primary OTA observe May 23. The setback, albeit seemingly minor, is a mirrored image of how the Virginia Tech alum has had a collection of unlucky breaks, which incorporates lacking all of final season on IR.

8. Mandatory camp: This week’s necessary minicamp figures to be an extension of the work the Patriots have been doing within the voluntary offseason program, and so notable storylines will embody among the gamers returning to city who have not been round — left sort out Isaiah Wynn, exterior linebacker Matthew Judon and receiver N’Keal Harry amongst them. Harry, the 2019 first-spherical decide, is now an extended shot to make the roster at his conventional place barring accidents forward of him on the depth chart. Harry’s greatest likelihood could be to ask a few attainable change to tight finish to compete with Asiasi and Keene as TE3 behind Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith.

9. Ernie in highlight: In all his years as Patriots soccer analysis director, Ernie Adams stored a low profile earlier than his retirement following the 2020 season. So it was a uncommon prolonged interview from Adams on the “Pats From The Past” podcast on Patriots.com, with co-hosts Matt Smith and Paul Perillo. What hyperlinks Russ Francis and Rob Gronkowski, or the Seventies Patriots groups to the trendy-day Baltimore Ravens? Few can reply these questions with the authority of Adams, who does so in an fulfilling chat stuffed with wealthy soccer historical past.

10. Did you understand? Veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is about to retire after 17 seasons, appeared in 166 video games, with 147 begins. The staff he began in opposition to greater than another? The Patriots (13), adopted by the Jets (12), Dolphins (10) and Colts (10).

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