Patriots: Teammates know Jones needs to lead the way in his second year if Pats are going to be successful

It might only be Mac Jones’ second year in the league, but if the Patriots are going to be successful this year, he needs to be the guy leading the way.

Fairly or unfairly, Jones is going to get most of the credit or most of the blame when it comes to wins and losses. Now, Matt Patricia, Joe Judge and Bill Belichick will garner some of the blame if this offense looks as lethargic as it did in preseason when the Patriots take the field in Miami next Sunday, but for the most part, it’s Jones who will get most of the criticism or praise in 2022.

Jones’ teammates are ready to follow him as he continues to develop as a leader.

“I think every team in the NFL is going to follow their quarterback,” Matt Judon said on Wednesday when asked what he’s seen from Mac so far in year two. “Regardless if he likes it or not, he’s going to lead this team and he acts as such. Right now, he has to control the offense, he has to spend extra time (which he does), he has to do all the things and have all the intangibles to go above and beyond, kind of more than any other player on the team, just because he’s the quarterback.

“Even though we’re all out there and we all get wins and losses, y’all (the media) are going to put it on him. It’s unfair to him because we win and lose as a team, but it’s going to be Mac, Mac, Mac, that’s always going to be the headline. We’re behind him 110% and what he says goes. That’s our guy, that’s who we’ve got at the helm and he’s going to be the leader of our team.”

On Thursday, Jakobi Meyers spoke about the offense getting on the same page, as well as Jones’ ability to get along with guys outside of football, which is also a key component of being a leader on any football team, especially as the quarterback.

“New offense, but at the end of the day, we’re all trying to make sure we get on his page,” said Meyers. “He’s definitely been taking authority and his leadership has been crazy this year. He’s always in the building, he knows what he wants. It’s been helpful for us because we’re trying to make sure we’re there for him.

“It’s pretty easy to kind of build a connection with Mac, honestly. He’s one of those guys that’s just a great guy. if you were to meet him outside, you wouldn’t think he was the first round pick who won this, won that, accomplished this, accomplished that…you’d think he was just a normal, goofy young man who just goes out there and loves life. It’s easy to be around him. That’s for me and all the other guys. We enjoy being around him, we enjoy competing with him and for him. He’s a great guy to be around.”

Perhaps most importantly, it looks and sounds like Mac has the confidence to continue growing into the not-so-easy role of being “the man” for the New England Patriots. particularly when it comes to in-game adjustments.

“I think it’s all about your tools and problem solving,” Jones said when asked about trusting his ability to adjust things at the line or during the course of a game. “I tend to enjoy the problem solving part. That’s the fun part of the game, like I said. We have good coaches that are going to put us in a position to do that. We have good experience with some of the looks we’ve seen last year and preseason. So it’s all about what are my tools and how can I fix it?

“That’s the big thing for me, just being able to apply that how I know how to do it and just play the play for what it is.”

The Patriots will undoubtedly need Jones to be a problem solver, a leader and much more this season if they’re going to compete for a playoff berth in the loaded AFC.