Guregian: Eagerly awaiting Mac Jones’ response to Saturday’s Stinker – Lowell Sun | Hot Mobile Press

The last time we saw Mac Jones was on Saturday, he left the practice field with unusual haste, apparently disgusted by what had transpired shortly before.

Jones usually hangs around to catch up a bit with teammates, as well as family members or friends who attended the training session.

This day was different.

After the offense overall had its worst day in training camp and Jones also contributed to the mayhem during the final red-zone period (2 of 6 with a pick-six), the Patriots quarterback didn’t stick with sophomore socializing.

It’s possible he was in a hurry because he had to go somewhere. The steam coming out of his ears, however, told a different story.

What do you think of the scene?

It happens. Every quarterback has bad days at the office. It comes with the territory.

The important thing now is Jones’ answer.

And after a break in practice on Sunday, Jones and the Patriots will be back on Monday for their first padded practice session. It will be interesting to watch and see how the young quarterback answers the challenge.

More often than not during his rookie year, Jones bounced back from a bad throw, a bad move sequence, or the whole enchilada – a bad game.

Most memorable in the Bad Throw category was his touchdown pass to Kendrick Bourne the next play after he threw a pick-six to Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs late in the Cowboys Week 6 game to save the Patriots from eventual defeat to take the lead.

So how will it be in 2022?

First of all, this year is a little different. Jones is under more pressure to perform than he was in his first season at the helm. The expectations are bigger. And to that point he’s stepped in and embraced everything that comes with being the leader of the offensive.

A good leader includes the ability to continuously overcome obstacles. It’s the reaction when you’re down, but especially on the scoreboard.

Many of the game’s great quarterbacks are insensitive to pressure. They don’t back down or pack up when the going gets tough.

They answer.

Given Jones’ makeup, it’s hard to believe he won’t burst into flames on Monday, once again showing his teammates what he’s made of and giving them another reason to believe in him.

While the offensive meltdown wasn’t entirely Jones’ fault and was largely caused by his receivers being unable to open, it will still be a good early checkpoint to monitor Jones’ ability to take the call and lift his teammates.

It’s a small step to a bigger and more important step – and that’s when his teammates believe he can lead them back to victory if they threw off a stinker in the first half.

It’s just a training camp now, but that’s where it starts when it comes to identity building.

Patriots Hall of Famer and NBC analyst Rodney Harrison, watching him last year and hearing about what he’s been up to during the offseason, can’t help but think that whatever the situation, Jones will rise and players will follow will.

“They respond to him because they believe in him. They trust him,” Harrison said upon arriving Thursday. “Players will not answer you unless they believe and trust you.”

Listening to the players during the first four days of camp and observing how they interact with Jones on the field, it’s easy to see that they exude confidence in their quarterback.

Running back Damien Harris, who knew Jones from his days in Alabama, might be a bit biased, but he realized how well connected Mac was to the team.

“Mac is just an infectious guy that everyone is drawn to. He’s a great leader, he’s a great football player, he’s an incredibly hard worker and he’s an even better friend,” Harris said Friday. “So when you take all of those traits and apply them to a person, it’s easy to understand why so many people are drawn to him, why so many people want to be around him and follow him.

“I mean, he’s the hardest worker. He works incredibly hard. He always comes here to do his best, not just to do his best, but to make everyone around him better.”

Also, the defense players have all put their chips in the young quarterback and how well he can lead them.

Linebacker Mack Wilson Sr., another Alabama graduate, arrived by trade from Cleveland in March. He’s noticed how much Jones has grown in a short amount of time.

“Coming here, it’s just overwhelming to see the maturity from college to this day,” Wilson said during his Saturday media session. “He’s been training and acting like a pro like he should. . . You don’t see the rookie Mac Jones anymore. I’m super proud of him.”

The offensive coaching situation is unorthodox, to say the least, as three coaches — Bill Belichick, Matt Patricia, Joe Judge — all have their impressions of Jones and offense. It remains to be seen how well the quarterback will adapt to having that troika in his ear.

Jones isn’t armed with top-tier game changers on offense either, but the money is still on the sophomore quarterback to produce and lift the group.

“I’m glad he’s on our team,” Wilson said. “I think we can do something special (with him). We just have to stack the days.”

From Monday. All eyes will be on Jones’ reaction to Saturday’s nightmare.

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