Bourne: Mac Jones' leadership at 'another level' heading into Year 2

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Quarterback Mac Jones' emergence as a leader is being noticed by his teammates on the New England Patriots.

"It's just at another level now," wide receiver Kendrick Bourne said, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss. "He's more comfortable, more confident. He knows what's going on, and the muscle memory is there (from having gone through it) - OTAs, then camp, and the season.

"Going into his second year after having a year like that, it's going to be a challenge, but he's a guy that likes challenges, like all of us in that Patriot building."

The 2021 Pro Bowl passer is in the running to be named a captain next season - a rarity for second-year players under head coach Bill Belichick.

Jones was named the Patriots' starter to begin the year and led the club to a 10-7 record. He threw for 3,801 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions while owning a 67.6% completion rate.

The 2021 first-round pick led New England to a postseason berth, but his club was dispatched by AFC East rivals the Buffalo Bills in the wild-card game.

The Alabama product has undergone a transformation since the conclusion of his rookie campaign, focusing on his diet and getting in the weight room ahead of his 2022 season.

"He's a young guy but he's developed as a leader. That's what this team needs," said wideout DeVante Parker.

Meanwhile, it remains unclear who will be calling plays on offense following the departure of former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Joe Judge, Matt Patricia, and Belichick have rotated the play-calling duties during OTAs.

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Bourne: Mac Jones' leadership at 'another level' heading into Year 2
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