Mac Jones has impressed for most of New England Patriots training camp, and his best day of practice came Wednesday when Cam Newton was absent.
The rookie quarterback made his case for the Week 1 job with accuracy, decision-making and leadership well beyond his years. His performance earned him a high-five from head coach Bill Belichick and praise from members of the New York Giants, who the Patriots have practiced with all week.
Our Tom E. Curran spoke with former Giants center and current NFL Network analyst Shaun O'Hara about what has stood out most from Jones in camp.
"Unbelievably poised," O'Hara said of Jones. "To have that opportunity and to maximize all of those reps was phenomenal. He didn't look like a rookie. So his poise was unbelievable. I thought his accuracy was really impressive. All of his throws seemed to be very catchable balls right where they needed to be and I didn't think he hesitated, which one of the things you see a lot and I've experienced it with young quarterbacks, especially rookies, they hesitate a little bit. They're a little bit indecisive. I didn't see any of that.
"So, he was really impressive, I thought he had great command of the offense. Even things at the line that I saw him do, I saw him alert a couple of plays at the line and change a couple of plays based on what the defense was doing. That's next-level thinking at the quarterback position. You rarely get somebody this early on in camp that's able to handle all of that and process all that at the line."
Jones' poise and pre-snap reads remind O'Hara of what his ex-teammate Eli Manning looked like his rookie year.
"I definitely see some similarities there," he said. "I think at the line and the mental stuff, that was one of the things that I was so impressed with Eli coming in. ... Eli came in as a rookie and he could already read coverages. It helps when you have a brother named Peyton and a father named Archie, so he was as well-prepared as I've seen from a rookie at reading defenses, understanding what they're trying to do from a concept standpoint.
"It looks like Mac Jones has that mental acuity and that football intelligence. But I think the poise is one thing that you see, and it's something that you have to be in the huddle with to get that command because as a quarterback, that's where you have to win. You gotta win the huddle before you win any football game, and that's something Eli did. And he did it by being one of the guys."
Also discussed in the new episode: Has Mac Jones put the QB competition to bed? What reasons does Belichick have to not start Mac? Brian Hoyer praises Mac’s ‘mental capacity.' And reaction to the Patriots trading for CB Shaun Wade.
Check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network, or watch on YouTube below: