Mac Jones looks like he'll be ready for Week 2's trip to Pittsburgh, as the quarterback was a full participant at Patriots practice on Wednesday, telling reporters in the afternoon, "Everything feels good. You know, just keeping it warm and throwing the football."
That's good news for a Patriots offense looking to find its footing against a Steelers defense that forced five takeaways and sacked Joe Burrow seven times.
"Super talented defense, play a lot of different coverages definitely fly to the ball," commented Jones on Pittsburgh's latest Iron Curtain. "Obviously Minkah [Fitzpatrick] does a great job. He was my former teammate at Alabama and I have a lot of respect for him and all the guys in their defense."
Fitzpatrick was a menace from start to finish in Week 1, returning an early pick-six that set the tone. He's a versatile piece of their defense and one that Mac must be aware of on every snap.
"He was like the epitome of just a great football player and person and I looked up to him a lot at Alabama," continued Jones. "He was a great team captain and leader on our team. And obviously, he's done great things with the Steelers...He makes really good plays and obviously off the field he's an even better person."
Before they worry about Fitzpatrick though, the Patriots offense will have to iron some of their own problems out this week in practice before they have to really worry about the Steelers D. Mac expressed confidence that things are headed in the right direction even if the results weren't there immediately against Miami, where they produced just a lone touchdown.
"It's Week 1, and we did a lot of good things out there and we're moving in the right direction in practice and a lot of the communications improving and that's what happens as the season goes along," said Jones. "You know, you fix the things you want to work on and keep the things that you're doing well, so we feel confident about it and we just got to go out there and do it, really there's no talking to be done."
The offense has flashed the ability to make big plays throughout the summer, but they've been inconsistent at best. Finishing both days of joint practices with touchdown-scoring drives were two highlights that showed what they might be capable of. Eliminate the self-inflicted mistakes and they might just string some drives together, even against a good defense like Pittsburgh's.
"It's more about can we stack... can everybody do their job to stack up good plays, can I get it to the right guy who makes his yards after catch, can we block up front, the blitzes, stunts, all that stuff," said Mac. "So it's what we're just working through and once we can do that we'll be good."