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Belichick, Jones earn nods from NFL execs

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NFL.com's Tom Pelissero released the results of his annual awards poll of 23 high-ranking NFL executives, including 10 GMs, and the Patriots are well-represented with Bill Belichick getting nods for both Coach and Executive of the Year, while rookie quarterback Mac Jones was the pick for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

It was a frenzied offseason for the Patriots, as they put their free agency dollars to good use, signing a number of impact players who have all made contributions. Add in a rookie class with three immediate high-level contributors and it was exactly what New England needed after going 7-9 in 2020.

"He's just kind of reinvented himself," one AFC executive is quoted in the article of Belichick the coach. "Not the scheme, but whole new free agency (approach), spent all the money, got a rookie quarterback, bunch of new pieces and it's all kind of come together. Took a year off, and now they're back. It's amazing what he's doing."

Not only did Belichick restock the roster, but he also helped the team overcome a 2-4 start and rise back atop the division and conference.

"The one thing that stood out when they were struggling early -- (Belichick) made adjustments to the defense and all of a sudden their defense started to play really well," said an NFC executive in Pelissero's post. "That's because of who he is and knowing his personnel and adjusting his scheme accordingly to what's working. He's one of the rare birds that will change things up to fit the personnel. That's why he is who he is."

Perhaps the biggest piece of it all is rookie quarterback Mac Jones, who was named the starter out of training camp and has put together a solid season at the most important position in the game. Of all the things the Patriots needed, a long-term answer at quarterback was the biggest and it looks like they found their guy.

Jones was just able to edge out receiver Jamarr Chase by an 11-9 tally. It will likely be another tight vote for the real award.

"He's poised beyond his years," said an AFC executive in the article of Jones. "He has less 'rookie moments' than the others, but really processes quickly within their offense, moves the team. He plays in rhythm, doesn't turn over the ball too much. He just plays like a vet."

The NFL Honors will be presented on Thursday, February 10, three days before Super Bowl 56 is played in Los Angeles.

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