Patriots rookie Mac Jones already has a nickname from new teammate Cam Newton.
“He calls me ‘Mac and Cheese,’ ” Jones shared Thursday afternoon after practice.
Newton’s nicknames were embraced by nearly every player on the roster last year, and heading into a new season, Jones is no exception. The 22-year-old first-round draft pick said Newton has been welcoming and supportive since his arrival in New England.
“It’s been good,” Jones said. “He’s done an awesome job being a good mentor. He brings great energy.”
With Newton sidelined because of a right hand injury, Jones is now sharing the quarterback responsibilities in OTAs with Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer.
Coach Bill Belichick has stated that Newton is the team’s starter for the upcoming season, but the depth chart at the position seems fluid. The competition, however, hasn’t engendered any bad blood, according to Jones.
“There’s four guys in total, and I’m the rookie, so I’m just learning from them,” he said. “They’ve all been very nice to me, treated me very well. I’m just trying to help them out as best I can, too, whatever I can do. We’re all in this together.
“There’s competition. People want to have a misconstrued word there, like it’s bad competition or it’s unhealthy, but we’re all close. We’re all going to get better together.”
Jones noted his mind-set hasn’t changed as a result of Newton’s absence.
“For me, it’s just about me getting better,” he said. “It’s not being selfish or anything, but I have a lot of room to grow. I have to make strides every day.”
With New England’s final OTA scheduled for Friday and mandatory minicamp beginning Monday, Jones is focused on learning as much as he can via drills and film. Even if he’s not participating in the rep, he’ll be sure to pay close attention.
“You don’t have to be in on that play to learn,” he said.
And when Jones is not at the facility, he stays busy studying the playbook.
“You can’t just do the work while you’re here,” he said. “I’ve always been that way.”
Nicole Yang can be reached at email@example.com.