If you had any doubts about whether Mac Jones has won over the Patriots locker room, they should be gone after you read Matthew Slater’s recent comments about the rookie quarterback.
Jones was excellent Sunday afternoon in New England’s season-opening loss to the Miami Dolphins, completing 29-of-39 passes for 281 yards and a touchdown. In fact, he was the highest-graded NFL rookie in Week 1, per Pro Football Focus.
Slater, who praised Jones after the preseason, shared similar sentiments Monday evening during a WEEI appearance. The Patriots captain was asked whether Jones, stoic during interviews but animated during games, needs to rein in his emotions.
“Every situation that presents itself is a little bit different and you just handle it in the moment,” Slater said during a “Mut at Night” interview, as transcribed by WEEI’s Andy Hart. “I think Mac’s already a leader on this football team and he’ll continue to grow in that role and certainly he’s got guys on the offensive side of the ball that will support him and put him in position to be successful as a leader and a as a player.
“So, collectively, we’ll do the best that we can to support Mac but at that same time we don’t want to stifle the gifts that he has as a leader. I’m sure that’s an area that he’ll continue to blossom in and ultimately I’m sure the finished product will be a great one.”
While discussing the Patriots’ overall performance, Slater, a team captain, added: “I’ve said, I really like this young man. I think he’s a great kid. Certainly, if you ask him, I’m sure there were some things about (Sunday) he liked and I’m sure there were some things he’d like to do over. I think if you asked anyone on our football team they’d give you the same answer.
“Mac’s our quarterback. We support him. I know he’s going to do a good job for us. He’s going to keep improving and getting better. Hopefully our football team does the same.”
Jones, Slater and the rest of the Patriots will look to rebound from their disappointing Week 1 loss when the visit the New York Jets on Sunday.
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