“He has a swag to him that I didn’t know that he had at first,” receiver Kendrick Bourne said Thursday. “He’s out there confident, and that is what you need in a quarterback. Good energy, awesome guy, comes to work and you just can feel his energy and leadership already.”
Jones, selected 15th overall after helping lead Alabama to the national championship, went through his third voluntary organized team activity on Thursday. He worked behind Cam Newton, who head coach Bill Belichick has said is the team’s top option.
At one point, the Patriots split their four quarterbacks into two groups, with Jones and Newton on one side of the field and Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham on the other. That could foreshadow what is to come in late July at the start of training camp — a competition for the top job.
Asked what he has learned about Jones from working with him over the past few weeks, Belichick said: “Mac dove into the playbook and continues to do that. We all have a lot of things we got to work on, and so that’s what he’s doing.”
Maybe the only thing that looked out of place for Jones was his No. 50 jersey. NFL rules allow quarterbacks to wear only numbers between 1-19 in games, but in recent years, Belichick has had all rookies wear non-traditional numbers in spring practices — a reminder, in part, to focus on more important things and earn their standing on the team.
Jones is working toward that, according to teammates.
“Mac’s doing a great job,” tight end Hunter Henry said. “We’re just all going through it together, him being even new to the atmosphere of this next level. Good to have him here, and we’re all excited for him.”
Meanwhile, Newton’s work also seems to be paying off. His presence is notable, as his voice often booms across the field, and his decision-making appeared decisive Thursday.
Belichick noted how Newton, 32, has responded to Jones’ arrival as a top draft pick.
“Cam was here at the beginning and has been a consistent participant, continues to give us the usual leadership and energy that he brings, so Cam’s very professional and I’m sure that he’ll continue to work hard and do his best out there like he’s always done for us. It’s never been anything but that from the day he got here,” he said.
Bourne, the former San Francisco 49ers receiver who was part of the Patriots’ offseason free-agent spending spree, has developed a quick bond with Newton.
“He’s just all-around a great teammate. He just knows how to keep the game fun,” he said.