They may have the distinction of being drafted by the Super Bowl champion Patriots, but Tre' Jackson and Shaq Mason aren't taking their NFL jobs for granted. Even though there appears to be a starting job up for grabs at left guard. Either player could be considered a candidate either to fill that void or at least contribute on a regular basis.
"I haven't paid attention to it. I just came in and am doing what my coaches ask me to do," Jackson insisted Thursday right after finishing up an organized team activity (OTA) workout.
The two former ACC linemen, who are now rooming together in Foxborough, say they've been keeping their noses in their massive playbooks whenever they're not on the field taking part in practice.
"We're quizzing each other on different things, trying to make each other better," Jackson told reporters. "I mean it's competitive, getting in the playbook with each other. It can go for a long time."
"I just expect to get great coaching and learn more and more every day, get better at something every single day," added Mason. "Just out here trying to work, get better every day. I'm learning every day, in my playbook, just trying to get prepared for this opportunity."
Both players maintain that they're not star-struck by having to block for one of the game's best quarterbacks of all time in Tom Brady.
"I'm thinking about protecting all the quarterbacks. It doesn't matter who's in," Mason asserted.
"It's great to be with a guy like that," acknowledged Jackson, "but it's not just Tom Brady. Being with all the Patriots… it's a great feeling. It's the whole locker room. You can go to anyone and get help. Everyone's a great resource."
"All of them. It's a great atmosphere here," Mason agreed. "All the guys are giving me good advice. We're all just working together to reach a common goal… I know that nothing's given."