With the Patriots beginning their preparations for the regular-season opener against the Miami Dolphins, head coach Bill Belichick announced six team captains for the 2022 season ahead of Wednesday's practice at Palm Beach Atlantic University.
As he enters his second NFL season, Patriots quarterback Mac Jones is a team captain for the first time in his career. Jones's improved ownership of the offense was notable throughout the summer, as the second-year quarterback joins six-time team captain David Andrews as the offensive captains.
"I think it's really cool. I have a lot of work to do. I want to become an even better leader, and I think we have great guys around us that make everything better," Jones said of being named a team captain.
"I'm going to learn from the older guys like I did when I first got here and continue to do that. Hopefully, some of the younger guys can come to me with issues or things they want to get fixed or things they are struggling with, and I'll be happy to help anyone on our team."
During training camp, Jones's comfort level leading the Patriots offense was evident. The Pats quarterback set the tone from an effort perspective, demanded a high execution level, and had constant discussions with his teammates to perfect certain things.
Some teammates also noted Jones's relentless approach this season with his constant presence at the Patriots facility throughout the spring and summer setting a standard.
"His leadership has been crazy this year. He's always in the building, and he knows what he wants. It's been helpful for us. We are just trying to make sure we are there for him," Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers explained last week.
But in true Patriots fashion, Jones is not fixated on earning the title of being a team captain.
"Titles are titles. Really good leaders lead no matter what. If they're the number one guy or not, it doesn't matter. They're good leaders. I think it's great, but you just have to be yourself, and that's what is important to me."
"I just need to continue to grow and try to figure out how to get better as a player, as a leader, and as a person. It comes with time, experience, and learning lessons," Jones added before Wednesday's practice.
Although it's not shocking that Jones was named a team captain, it's another indication that he has taken more of a leading role in his second season with the Patriots.
Along with Jones and Andrews on offense, the Patriots named three captains on the defensive side of the ball and one captain on special teams for the upcoming season.
Patriots safety Devin McCourty and special teams ace Matthew Slater were named captains for the 12th time, linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley is now a two-time team captain, and defensive end Deatrich Wise is also a first-time team captain.
McCourty is entering his 13th season with the Patriots and has been named a team captain in every season besides his rookie campaign. Slater, on the other hand, was now voted a captain in 12 of his 15 seasons with the team.
The Patriots will practice at Palm Beach Atlantic University this week to prepare for the expected weather conditions in Sunday's Week 1 matchup against the Dolphins.