Patriots: Jones quietly going about his business as all eyes are on Brady

In case you’ve forgotten, Mac Jones is also playing on Sunday night. Unfortunately, Tom Brady won’t be throwing passes for both teams.

Basically a forgotten man in all of the Brady-Belichick hysteria this week, Jones is about to face his biggest challenge yet with the eyes of the world watching. Literally, The Today Show and NBC Nightly News are broadcasting from Gillette Stadium on Friday. The world is truly fixing its eyes on Foxborough, Massachusetts this weekend.

Jones has been calm, cool and collected on and off the field for the most part since he arrived. Whether it’s the constant pressure he’s faced on the field thanks to the lackluster play of the offensive line, or its the scrutiny of being the guy who’s supposed to be the next Brady, he’s simply gone about his business and said everything right.

Jones’ poise has been impressive for a rookie and when he met with the media on Wednesday afternoon it was more of the same despite the extra attention on the game this week.

“Not really. I mean, it’s really just us against the other team,” Jones said when asked if he had thought about Sunday being the first night he was going up an NFL legend. “And that’s how it always will be, and it’s not like one person versus one person, so I think that a lot of it is 11 on 11, and that’s what goes into it, and that’s how they’re going to look at it. That’s how every team looks at it. It’s just you’re getting a chance to compete in a primetime game, and it just kind of is what it is.”

Playing in a ton of big games for Alabama could be huge for Jones in this situation and others like it down the road. There is always going to be pressure on Jones with the expectation that he’s the guy after THE guy, but when you play in packed SEC stadiums and for national titles all the time, the bright lights and extra cameras don’t bother you as much as it might some other rookies.

“I think it just goes back to really with pressure, you just got to focus on doing what you’re supposed do, and people who have jobs in high pressure situations, that’s what they do,” Jones added when discussing whether he felt any added pressure facing Brady considering how successful he was for 20 years.

“They do their job really well, and they prepare really hard, so it’s all you can control, and once the hay is in the barn, the hay is in the barn, and you just got to go play, and I think everyone will be excited, and we’re just going to be ready to play when it happens.”

Brady said he “hadn’t seen much” of Jones when he was asked about the rookie on Thursday, but surely Brady is a quarterback Jones emulated growing up, right?

“Yeah. I watched a lot of NFL football and college football growing up, so just watching teams that were good, like the Patriots, obviously, learning a lot from all the quarterbacks I got to see on TV and different things that they do,” Jones said. “Just getting the ball out and moving the offense down the field, so nothing specific. Just in general, just trying to, when you’re young, you just want to watch and learn, and a lot of it, for me, was like the X’s and O’s, so just learning the X’s and O’s and offensive football and the detail that goes into it, so I’ve always just enjoyed watching good quarterbacks who know how to do that.”

It’s probably a pretty safe bet that Jones won’t have the career that Brady had, but as he faces an extremely difficult situation on Sunday, the rookie has shown throughout this week that the moment doesn’t seem too big for him. That could all change once the bright lights come on and if it does then his future may already be shot depending on how ugly it gets, but for now, fans should be pleased with how Jones has handled himself during what must be a very awkward week.

“I think it will be a great, great atmosphere,” Jones added. “You know, you play games and big games and stuff like that, and you want to play in games like this, so it’ll be really exciting, and the fans will obviously be great, and I think it will be a great atmosphere.”