How much do the New England Patriots believe in their rookie class from 2021? Just read Josh McDaniels’ sweatshirt from Monday, September 6 and you can see.
NBC Sports’ Phil A. Perry tweeted this image which also included a quote from McDaniels explaining his clothing choice:
McDaniels’ quote: “Nobody knows anything yet about this rookie class. … Hopefully they can keep their head down and continue to grind.”
McDaniels added the shirt was placed in his office, and since it was free, he was into it.
We hear you, Josh, but it is hard to believe this wasn’t a show of support and a bit of chest pounding based on the coaching staff’s belief in their rookie class.
After being much-maligned for their recent draft history, the Patriots finally seem to have hit the target with several picks. The confidence begins with the quarterback Mac Jones, whom the team liked so much, they released former NFL MVP Cam Newton.
Jones Has All the Support He Needs to Succeed
The rookie quarterback out of Alabama is getting about as good of a start to an NFL career as any young quarterback could want. Don’t take that to mean things are being handed to him.
Jones has worked for this too. Still, he has landed on solid ground in New England.
Jones has garnered tons of respect from his teammates. To a man, they all speak about his work ethic and confidence. He has seemingly earned their buy-in for his rookie season. Players like Jonnu Smith recently voiced his support and endorsement for Jones.
This is a far cry from some of the things we heard coming out of Miami in regards to Tua Tagovailoa in 2020 when it appeared as though veterans were against him playing over Ryan Fitzpatrick. Jones has a lot to live up to based on the decisions made by Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels, the love he’s gotten from his teammates and the media, and the lofty comparisons he has received from fans.
Jones was dynamite in the Patriots’ preseason, but he must prove he can continue on this pace when the games count.
Patriots’ Rookie Class Goes Deeper Than Jones
The conversation always starts with the quarterback, but when you look at the early returns on some of the other picks New England made in April, there are multiple positive signs.
Running back Rhamondre Stevenson has been predicted by some to overtake Damien Harris as the team’s starting running back. Stevenson led the NFL in rushing yards and TDs during the preseason and he boasts better hands in the receiving game than Harris.
Christian Barmore has proven to be a force upfront and rookie undrafted free-agent Quinn Nordin won the starting kicking job over veteran Nick Folk. There are others who could make an impact as well like Ronnie Perkins.
While all of their contributions could be key in wins and losses for the Patriots in 2021, the overall success of the class will be determined by Jones’ performance. We won’t know the definitive answer after 2021, but McDaniels’ shirt indicates hopes are high.
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