Patriots’ Bill Belichick praises Mac Jones as training camp starts: ‘He’s made tremendous strides’

Patriots’ Bill Belichick praises Mac Jones as training camp starts: ‘He’s made tremendous strides’

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New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had plenty of praise for second-year quarterback Mac Jones as the team officially reported for training camp on Tuesday, saying he’s made “tremendous strides” in his progress since last season.

“I think Mac’s done a great job. He’s worked extremely hard. He’s got a tremendous work ethic in all areas. I think there’s a dramatic improvement,” he told reporters. “His physical work and conditioning, working on his mechanics, working on his footwork, working on his understanding of our offense, of opponent defenses, of situations, all those things.”

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick hugs quarterback Mac Jones.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick hugs quarterback Mac Jones. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

“We talk about all those things in various degrees, some more emphasis than others, and the emphasis on maybe some other things that will come later on. We can’t do it all at once, but he’s worked hard.”

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Selected as the No.15 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Jones beat out Cam Newton for the starting role. He played in all 17 games. He threw for 3,801 yards with 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. 

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) looks on as offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels talks with quarterback Mac Jones during the first half of the team's preseason game against Washington, Aug. 12, 2021, in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) looks on as offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels talks with quarterback Mac Jones during the first half of the team’s preseason game against Washington, Aug. 12, 2021, in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

“He’s made tremendous strides. He did a great job last year, but he’s starting it from a much, much higher point this year than where he started last year,” Belichick said. “His offseason work has been significant. I think everyone recognizes how well he prepares and how much further along he is than he was a year ago.”

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Jones led the Patriots to a 10-7 record under the direction of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who left in the offseason to take over the head coaching position in Las Vegas. 

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones celebrates a touchdown during the second half of the game against the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 14, 2021, in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones celebrates a touchdown during the second half of the game against the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 14, 2021, in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

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Belichick hasn’t announced a replacement. Joe Judge has rejoined the team after being fired as the New York Giants head coach and has the title of offensive assistant/quarterbacks. He worked primarily with Jones during minicamp, and both Judge and senior football adviser Matt Patricia spent time calling offensive plays.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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