Despite the unfortunate ending to the season, Mac Jones' rookie campaign should give New England Patriots fans some optimism heading into 2022.
Jones exceeded expectations by leading the Patriots to a 10-7 record and their first playoff berth of the post-Tom Brady era. It was a challenging season filled with ups and downs for the young quarterback, but an encouraging one nonetheless.
Former Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia watched Jones from afar and was impressed with what the 15th overall draft pick showed in Year 1.
"I think this guy really acquitted himself very, very highly this year," Scarnecchia said Tuesday on Early Edition. "To go to the playoffs as a rookie quarterback -- you could see, honestly, the preseason where this guy was in empty formations, redirecting protections, and functioning the offense the way it should be functioned. You look at that and you say, 'Wait a minute, this guy knows what he's doing.'
"And then you see the skillset, and I think for that system he's a perfect system fit for the Patriots. He's smart, he's cerebral, he's got talent, and as you saw at Alabama -- he had some pretty good guys around him at Alabama -- you get enough good guys around him and this guy I think could be really pretty good."
If you get a glowing review from a legendary coach like Scarnecchia, you're doing something right.
Scarnecchia left the Patriots in 2019 after 34 years as an assistant in New England. The five-time Super Bowl champion served as the offensive line coach in Foxboro from 1999-2013, then from 2016-19.
Jones is in the Offensive Rookie of the Year conversation after completing 67.6% of his passes for 3,801 yards with 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Watch the full interview with Scarnecchia below: