Bill Belichick is infamous for not really giving reporters much fodder at press conferences and that was mostly no different Tuesday at his presser in advance of opening New England Patriots’ training camp — with one notable exception.
Belichick again didn’t get into details of what roles assistants Joe Judge and Matt Patricia are filling, although everyone pretty much understands Patricia will be calling offensive plays this season.
Belichick was asked but didn’t wish to talk about how training camps have changed the past 20 years. Understandable, actually.
And the coach’s comments on the retirement of former receiver Danny Amendola was basically something of a short scouting report.
But asked about the progression of Mac Jones from his rookie year to now, Belichick embraced the topic, at one point saying the starting quarterback is “much further advanced.”
“Yeah, I think Mac’s done a great job, he’s worked extremely hard, he’s got a tremendous work ethic in all areas,” Belichick said. “I think there’s a dramatic improvement.”
And now we go into a second paragraph of Belichick commentary on Jones, which means the coach is really into this.
“His physical work and conditioning, working on his mechanics, working on his footwork, working on his understanding of our offenses, of opponent defenses, of situations, all those things,” Belichick said, outlining where Jones has sought improvement. “We’ve talked about all those things to varying degrees with some more emphasis than others. And there are other things that come later on, you can’t do it all at once.
“But, yeah, he’s worked hard and he’s made tremendous strides. And 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. His offseason work has been significant and I think everyone recognizes how well he prepares and how much further along he was than a year ago.”
There’s more. Belichick later explained how Jones making a leap from a rookie year in which threw 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions with a 67.6 completion percentage will help in aspects beyond on-field performance.
“We’re just a lot further ahead in conversations,” Belichick said. “The plays we talk about Mac’s already done before. So it’s easy for him to say, ‘Well, are we going to do this on that or are we going to do this on something else? What do you think about splitting them a little bit wider or a little bit tighter?’
“Suggestions like that comes up all the time, now it comes up with the background of the experience of doing it. He might have asked some of the same questions last year but without really having the full knowledge he has this year. He’s just a lot further along in the conversation. And we have a much better feel for what he can do, what his strengths are and how to try to play into those.
“He’s self-aware, too. He knows what he does well and we want to try to feature those but there are also things we can work on to try to improve. We all can make improvements in areas. We’ve identified some of those, he’s worked very hard at them, and hopefully those will be better. I’m sure they will because he’s put the time and work into them.”
Yes, Belichick is really pleased with Mac Jones.
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