With the Patriots season coming to an end, now the attention shifts towards the future, and with Mac Jones under center, the players are looking forward to it.
“I’m very excited," wide receiver Jakobi Meyers said Monday. "I feel like I saw all year effort and consistency. Those were my big two for him, and he really was the same guy every day and he put in the same work every day. He never slacked up. He always came in ready to work. I think if all the guys get that mindset, and we all get together this offseason and just work and work and keep our head down and just keep attacking every day the best we can, I think we’ll have a really good offensive unit, especially skill unit, going forward.”
Jones was one of the bright spots in the 47-17 loss to Buffalo on Wild Card Weekend, as he made some impressive throws and showed the moment wasn't too big for him.
Towards the end of the game, Hunter Henry put his arm around Jones on the sideline and the two had an extended conversation. The two wouldn't share exactly what was said, but it was for sure encouraging.
“I think the biggest thing is I’m just trying to — it’s a long season, man, and I’m really proud of Mac,” Henry said. “I’m proud of how he handled it. We didn’t play like we wanted to (Saturday) night. We honestly didn’t play well down the stretch, like we wanted to. But the biggest thing from this is how we grow, how we learn from this. Obviously, we got a lot better throughout the year, and I think I’m excited to grow with him this offseason — grow together in our relationship, grow together in our chemistry.
“I’m excited to have him as my quarterback, and (I was) just reaffirming to him that this is a big moment and something that we’re going to learn from and grow from and continue to get better. That’s the biggest thing: improvement. He’s got 18 games, (with) preseason, 20 games behind his belt now, and you can’t take that lightly, so that’s huge for him.”
Safety Adrian Phillips is excited for the future, not only with Jones, but the other Patriots rookies that made impacts this season.
“I think the nucleus that we’ve got is really good, and we’re building with some great players, some great young players," he said. "Like Rhamondre [Stevenson] came in and balled, B-More [Christian Barmore] came in and balled and I think Mac came in and did an outstanding job. Throughout the next few years, it’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be exciting, but it’s going to be work.
"It’s hard to win in this league and you can’t be comfortable just going to the Wild Card playoff game and thinking the next few years are going to be easy because everybody is going to be trying to get better. I think it’s going to be exciting, but at the same time I think it’s going to be a lot of hard work.”