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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. The question of who calls the plays the New England Patriots’ attack hangs on, but when it comes to who has taken over ownership of the unit on the field, the receiver Jakobi Meyers is emphatic.
It’s quarterback Mac Jones.
“Has he taken control of the offense? It’s a big YES, exclamation point, exclamation mark,” Meyers said Thursday at the close of the Patriots’ mandatory mini-camp. “He is the real thing. We are all trying to catch up with what is in his mind, his vision.”
Asked if he feels ownership of the offense in his second season, Jones said: “Yeah, I think the whole point of the quarterback is to lead the guys around you, get them to the ball.
“I have the ball every time and I have to make decisions to help the team win. You have to stop losing before you can win. That’s the goal – make it even better this year.”
Coach Bill Belichick seems to like the progress at this point, as evidenced by the fact that he canceled the last training of mandatory minicamp on Thursday and the last two volunteer organized team activities scheduled for next week.
It has been common in recent years for Belichick to reward the team for its work, believing that a foundation has been established leading up to the training camp in late July.
Jones in particular has made some impressive throws in recent workouts. On Wednesday, he had several tight-wind deliveries down the field – to receivers Tre Nixon and Nelson Agholor and tight-end Jonnu Smith – who got members of the offense to celebrate.
Meyers took note of Jones’ command, saying: “I know he and the coaches have done a great job of just passing on information to us, but in the end, when we’re out there, he tells us. And we ask him, “how do you want it? Where do you want us to be? When do you want us to be there? ‘
“He’s been really adamant with what he says. He has a clear vision in his mind … we just have to catch the ball he throws.”
Agholor, who had the new cornerback Jack Jones draped over him on a “go” route on his long relationship with Jones, added: “He does a fantastic job of communicating and working on being the best version of himself. “
Jones’ ownership of the offense was also noted by running back Damien Harris, who was also his teammate in Alabama.
“He’s an incredibly hard worker, that’s what I appreciate most about him,” Harris said. “To come out here and see how he leads, [he] working ass to be his best to help all of us as his teammates be our best. “
In terms of who will call the plays into Jones, it has been remarkable for several players, including the quarterback himself, where involved Belichick has been in the attack. At one point Wednesday during an exercise aimed at running backs and how to get through the line, Belichick actually snapped the ball to Jones as center.
“He’s very practical. Last year he was more involved in the defense. But now it’s like, ‘OK, let me show you this,’ and he trains us in a way,” Jones said. “I feel like we’ve grown a lot together as an offensive unit with him.
“He’s seen the most football of any of our coaches. He’s seen defense, offense and special teams, so it’s always going to be very beneficial for me to have his input because he knows what’s stressing the defense.”
Assistants Matt Patricia (offensive line) and Joe Judge (quarterbacks) have also had leading roles at times.
All of this has taken place after Belichick said the attack has been “streamlined” this offseason, similar to what he did with the defense in 2019-20. Basically, they’ve simplified things, where Jones says it’s aimed at playing faster.
Jones was asked to describe his comfort level with the coach setup, now that there has been a handful of practices to assess.
“The most important thing is to get on the same page, speak the same language, between the players, the coaches, and we’ve done a good job with that,” he said.
“I definitely think we’ve made pretty good progress there in the last few weeks. You can not finish OTAs and let it fall off. You have to carry it through the season, that’s the most important part. We understand that for training camp. We have to keep communicating and keep talking. “