Slater explains how rookie QB Mac Jones has earned respect from teammates


Rookie quarterback Mac Jones has made quite an impression on his New England Patriots teammates.

After practice Tuesday at Gillette Stadium, longtime Patriots special teams ace Matthew Slater explained how the 2021 first-round draft pick is already earning plenty of respect from his peers, including the veterans on the roster.

"He's a great young man. Character really counts," Slater told reporters. "When you talk about what we do off the football field, how we carry ourselves, the way we approach our profession, the way we do things in the community -- that translates onto the football field. I think Mac is a fine young man. His family should be proud of the way they raised him and how he carries himself.

"The way he commands respect, even from guys like myself, older guys on this team who have been here for a while. He's earned that respect by the way he's gone about his craft. He's been a joy to work with."

Belichick puts ball in Mac Jones' court with Newton sidelined

It's not easy for a rookie to earn respect from the veterans as quickly as Jones. How he's handled the quarterback competition in his preparation, work on the practice field and performance in two preseason games has been really impressive.

It's unknown whether he'll start Week 1 of the regular season when the Patriots host the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 12. Jones will have to beat out veteran Cam Newton for the starting quarterback job.

But whenever Jones does get his opportunity during the 2021 season, he'll be ready to go based on all the hard work he's put in to learn the offense and build relationships with teammates, among other factors.