Astute football fans know what the preseason is, and what it isn’t. It isn’t competitive football with game-planning and high stakes and the best players on the field at all times. It is, however, an opportunity to see how new players look against NFL-caliber competition.
For Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones, he looked the part on Thursday night against Washington.
Jones operated the New England offense smoothly and efficiently, exuding the kind of confidence more often displayed by a seasoned veteran. It is, by all accounts, a translation of the work he has done during training camp.
For the game, Jones completed 13 of 19 passes for 87 yards. One pass ruled incomplete looked to be a catch, but coach Bill Belichick didn’t throw the red flag.
“Yeah, didn’t feel like challenging it,” Belichick said after the game.
Jones relieved starter Cam Newton and played into the second half, with the Pats using a no-huddle offense to start the third quarter.
“”We would have gone two-minute at the end of the second quarter but we didn’t have one, so we just went two-minute at the start of the third quarter,” Belichick told reporters.
It’s too early to make any broad conclusions, but Jones can at least check one box. He has passed the eyeball test.