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Mac Jones Mental Toughness Has Patriots OC Impressed

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Patriots quarterback Mac Jones came up just short in his effort to upset the Cowboys on Sunday, but he gained the approval of his offensive coordinator.

With under three minutes to play in the fourth quarter with the Patriots up 21-20, Jones went from villain to hero. A pick-six by Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs gave Dallas the lead but that didn’t knock Jones down. It was a maturation moment for the 2021 15th overall pick, who went towards Diggs on the next drive and hit receiver Kendrick Bourne for a 75-yard touchdown to regain the lead. Jones didn’t get it done in overtime, but that sequence in the fourth quarter showed Josh McDaniels something.

“I thought he responded with the mental toughness that you want to see from your quarterback. He wasn’t super discouraged. He knew we still had time in the game to go out there and make a difference,” said McDaniels, in his Tuesday press conference. “And I thought he made a great play on the touchdown pass to Kendrick. And, again, he’s done that since he’s been here.

“Rookies make mistakes every day. Part of being a rookie is understanding those things are going to happen, and you can’t go in the tank, you can’t let that ruin the rest of the day at practice, or let that ruin the rest of the half in a game. You have to be able to pick yourself up, and move on and try to play better football as the game goes along and I thought he did that.”

Jones has shown a great amount of mental toughness since he was the fifth quarterback chosen back in April. After six games, the argument could be made that he’s been the best of the rookie quarterbacks. All while Jones was seen to be the least athletic of the bunch and have the lowest ceiling. Jones leads all rookie signal callers in most categories, including yards, touchdowns, QBR and yards per attempt. He’s also been the most blitzed among rookies.

Nobody knows where that ceiling is or when he’ll hit it, but Jones’ start to the season has exceeded expectations despite New England’s 2-4 start. He looks every bit the part of a franchise quarterback, someone that McDaniels is excited to work with now and in the future.

“He’s a tough guy. I’ve seen him grow, I’ve seen our group grow,” McDaniels said. “We talk a lot about mental and physical toughness and how much of that is required in this league, to actually compete and win against good teams.”

Written by Nick Geddes

Nick is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in political science. Nick is a life-long sports fan who is proud to say he suffered through 15 years of Bucs futility to witness a Super Bowl victory in 2020. Nick has a passion for writing and is proud to represent OutKick. Follow me on Twitter @NickGeddesNews and on Instagram @nick.geddes.

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