New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones completed three deep balls into tight coverage during the team's final practice of this offseason's mandatory minicamp.
Pats safety Devin McCourty described the plays as "haymakers," per ESPN's Mike Reiss.
One of the knocks against Jones in his rookie year was that he managed games well and handled the pressure of playing in the long shadow that Tom Brady cast for every future Patriots' quarterback but didn't necessarily show the ability to beat teams down the field or hit his receivers in tight windows.
Some of that narrative further crystalized after Jones attempted just three passes in a blustery, 14-10 win in December against the Buffalo Bills.
Jones, 23, threw for 3,801 yards, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions during his rookie season, completing 67.6 percent of his passes, and led the Patriots to a 10-7 record and a playoff berth. He was also a Pro Bowler.
But he struggled in a 47-17 blowout loss against the Bills in the postseason, throwing for 232 yards and two touchdowns but also was intercepted twice and sacked three times.
One of the questions coming into his second year, then, was whether Jones would take the next step as a quarterback, and whether Bill Belichick and the coaching staff would trust him enough to open up the passing game a bit more.
So far, so good.
Mike Reiss @MikeReiss
Highlighting a top observation from Patriots practice: Mac Jones’ growing comfort level with WRs to express what he is looking for route-wise.<br><br>This video from Tuesday, after DeVante Parker takes a rep, shows one example. <br><br>Rolling the route, instead of a sharp cut, was emphasis. <a href="https://t.co/miHqn728bH">pic.twitter.com/miHqn728bH</a>
Mike Reiss @MikeReiss
Question: How do you see Mac Jones in terms of taking ownership of the offense?<br><br>Jakobi Meyers: “That’s a capital YES, exclamation mark, exclamation mark. We’re all trying to catch up to what’s in his mind, his vision.” <a href="https://t.co/zkhAvacsm7">pic.twitter.com/zkhAvacsm7</a>
"It's just at another level now," receiver Kendrick Bourne told Reiss last week about Jones' growing leadership. "He's more comfortable, more confident. He knows what's going on, and the muscle memory is there [from having gone through it]—OTAs, then camp, and the season. He's just more locked in, more secure in his position."
"He has great energy on and off the field," veteran cornerback Malcolm Butler added. "His confidence, his swagger—I love that about him."