Josh McDaniels hypes up Mac Jones, talks Patriots exit at NFL Combine

"I'm not sure I’ve been around a more mature young football player...[than] Mac was."

Josh McDaniels NFL Combine
Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels speaks during a media availability at the 2022 NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Wednesday, March 2, 2022. (AJ Mast/AP Images for NFL)
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INDIANAPOLIS – Josh McDaniels will no longer be the man mentoring Mac Jones in the nascent stages of the young quarterback’s Patriots career, which was made all the more clear as he took questions at the NFL Combine Wednesday as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Without the now-former Patriots offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in the fold, New England’s offensive coaching structure and outlook remain murky heading into 2022. No one knows whether it will be Joe Judge, Nick Caley, or even Bill Belichick himself calling plays for the offense.

But McDaniels, who arguably knows Jones better than any coach in the league, believes the second-year passer has what it takes to overcome that uncertainty.


“Mac’s a great kid,” the coach said. “He works extremely hard. I was really fortunate to have a chance to coach him.

“The people who touched Mac Jones prior to him coming to New England deserve a tremendous amount of credit. The people who coached him in high school, the people who coached him at Alabama, the parents that raised him, they did a great job with him as a human being.”

As for Jones’s on-field performance, McDaniels pointed to the quarterback’s football intelligence as a reason he proved himself the most NFL-ready quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft class and won the starting job right away in New England.

“I’m not sure I’ve been around a more mature young football player in terms of understanding the game and being able to process at such a speed and such a level that Mac was. I don’t have any doubt that he’s going to meet the challenge head on. I wish him nothing but the best and I’ll be pulling for him except for when he plays Vegas this year.”

McDaniels also said he communicated openly with Bill Belichick before hiring away offensive assistants Mick Lombardi and Carmen Bricillo to join him in Las Vegas and reiterated his respect for the Patriots coach.

The new Raiders headman also said there were no hard feelings toward New England about not doing more to retain him as he searched for coaching jobs.

“This was just an opportunity I felt I couldn’t pass up. I’ve waited a long time to try to have an opportunity to do this,” he said.

“What they’ve done for me, the opportunities they’ve given me, what they’ve rewarded me with personally and professionally, there was no need to do anything like that. This was really a decision about what was best for me at this time and the challenge I could take on in Vegas.”


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