Mac Jones went from potentially serving as Cam Newton's backup as a rookie to leading the New England Patriots to the top seed in the AFC after 13 weeks.
It's been a spectacular first season for the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He isn't on pace to shatter any statistical records, but his quick adjustment to the NFL has propelled the Patriots to a 9-4 record and a real chance to make some noise in the postseason. Much of that success can be attributed to how his coaching staff has eased him into the offense.
On a brand new episode of the Next Pats Podcast, former Patriots assistant coach Dante Scarnecchia joined Phil Perry to explain how New England has done such a great job of developing their rookie quarterback.
"I think they've done a magnificent job of bringing this kid along," Scarnecchia said. "I think that, number one, of all the quarterbacks in the draft -- and I'm not saying this guy's this or this guy's that -- this guy was a perfect system fit for them. The perfect system fit. To bring him along the way that they've brought him along, I think they've done a superior job of coaching this guy."
Jones, the fifth quarterback taken in the draft, has by far been the top QB in his draft class this season. In fact, he's currently the frontrunner for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Scarnecchia credits the immense amount of time offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels spends with Jones for the Alabama product's success in Year 1.
"When you watch the Patriot games, and after every offensive series they go to the bench, tell me what you see," Scarnecchia said. "The guy calling the plays is sitting next to the guy who on the field is calling the plays and has the toughest job in all of sports, and they spend a tremendous amount of time together when he's not on the field. They spend all their time together.
"I think Josh has done a magnificent job with him and I think to Mac's credit, he's embraced it. He's a cerebral guy, he's not emotionally a way-too-high, way-too-low guy. I think the key to their success has been the marriage between those two guys and integration of those two guys on the sideline. I think they've done a tremendous job."
Also discussed in this episode: Scarnecchia’s reaction to the Patriots' bully-ball performance against the Bills. How does a good run game impact the rest of the offense and defense? How Jones' ability to get the ball out in rhythm has benefited the offensive line. And how tough is it for opposing defenses to prepare for the Patriots' offensive scheme?