Perry: Belichick has to love Edelman’s advice for Mac Jones originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
FOXBORO — For more than a decade, Julian Edelman had an up-close view of the processes of the greatest quarterback to ever play. Outside of Tom Brady, Edelman may have as good an idea as anyone of what it takes to thrive at the quarterback spot in New England.
Thus it was pertinent to make note of Edelman’s advice for Mac Jones, with the rookie hoping to thrive as Brady’s long-term replacement.
“The advice I would give him is just worry about what you got on your plate right now, and really put on the blinders,” Edelman told reporters Thursday. “I know it’s harder for this generation, younger guys — and it started with my generation — to kinda not read the clippings and all that. But they’re in an environment where it’ll help. They’ll keep him busy.”
Edelman reveals what he’s rooting for when Patriots play Tom Brady
Sounds an awful lot like the Bill Belichickism, “Ignore the noise.”
Jones has almost 117,000 followers on Twitter, but he hasn’t tweeted since retweeting the Patriots team account on May 6. He’s liked a handful of tweets related to college football. He posted an ad on Instagram for his 437,000 followers to see three weeks ago. Prior to that, nothing permanent has been posted to that account since the draft.
Jones is keeping a relatively low profile. Other than his media responsibilities — on radio and in press-conference settings — little is seen of Jones when he’s not on a football field. It’s hard to know how much Jones is ignoring on the outside, of course. But whatever he’s doing, Edelman seems to think Jones is on the right track.
“Just from the jump, [he] looks like a poised, calm, cool, collect kid,” Edelman said. “Regardless of what he turns into. As of right now, he looks like he’s doing all right. I’m not much of a guy that’s like, ‘Hey, this is what you need to do.’ I’m more of a guy who’s like, ‘Literally, do everything they ask you to do and put in a little more time, and just see where it takes you.’
“Because if you’re a baller, you’re going to make plays. These guys have all played at a very high level for a long time. And that’s just how it goes. There’s going to be a next generation. Take pride in trying to be that next generation. It’s an unbelievable thing to go out in the northeast… Boston, New England, and play for the history of these fans and this area. It’s a fun town to win in. You want other people to experience that.”
Where that “next generation” comes from has been a topic swirling around the Patriots for years now as core players like Edelman, Matthew Slater, Devin McCourty, Dont’a Hightower and others reach 30 years old and beyond.
Slater mentioned back in June that he would like to see some young players take “ownership” of the team. On Thursday, he indicated he likes what he’s seen since then.
“I think it starts with being able to listen and learn and take coaching,” Slater said. “Take the experience of the players around you and apply it. Those guys have done a good job of that. The humility piece is so important. You have to be humble enough to know that you don’t have all the answers, regardless of who you are, and try to learn. And I think our guys have done a good job of that.
“As this season continues to progress, you’ll see certain guys step up and lead. I think of a guy like Damien Harris who’s stepped up and showed some great leadership. I can list off a couple dozen guys who’ve done that. For them it’s really about staying in their lane, being true to themselves. Don’t try to be this guy, that guy. Just be you. Take what’s being taught and apply it and just go from there. They’ve done a good job, but we still — all of us — have a ways to go.”
Harris (third season) performed well in Week 2 after fumbling late in Week 1. Ja’Whaun Bentley (fourth) was one of the best defenders on the field for the Patriots in Week 2. Jake Bailey (third) is one of the team’s best players. Josh Uche (second) is off to a fast start as a pass-rusher, and Kyle Dugger (second) has turned into a dependable starter. Mike Onwenu (second) has the tall task of filling in for Joe Thuney as the team’s left guard, and Christian Barmore (first) is already looked to as a key piece up front in Belichick’s defense.
But the young player thrust into the most obvious leadership role is the one who earned the starting quarterback job this summer.
“There’s only 32 of them,” Slater said. “We all know that when you’re a player on the offensive side of the ball that touches the ball on every single play, people are going to look to you whether they should or shouldn’t. In this case I think that they should because of the fine young man that he is.
“We’re gonna encourage him and give him fertile ground to step up and be a leader, support him however we can, and as it comes, it’ll come naturally, and he’s gotta try to do it his way. He doesn’t need to try to do it anyone else’s way, he’s just gotta do it his way.”