Mac Jones studies tape of former Patriots quarterbacks, including Tom Brady, and studies his playbook with his girlfriend. Whatever it takes to succeed, he has been willing to do it. Rich Schultz/Asociated Press

So, Mac Jones brings the playbook home, and has his girlfriend, Sophie, help him walk through the plays.

Cute story.

Surprising?

“Not at all,” Patriots defensive captain Devin McCourty said with a laugh. “He’s a hard-working guy.”

Indeed, he is. Jones has taken the “do your job” mantra to an extreme ever since he landed with the Patriots as the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft.

No doubt, Bill Belichick must be smiling.

The Patriots head coach expects his players to be totally committed and devoted to the job – none more than the quarterback.

So much of any team’s success relies on that position. That’s why Belichick established a routine with Tom Brady when Brady took over the starter’s role in 2001, having him come in on Tuesdays of game week, which is typically the player’s day off, to have a skull session.

Belichick and Brady never left any stone unturned when it came to preparation.

Jones seems cut from the same cloth.

Asked Wednesday if he considered Brady’s legacy in New England as an added pressure, or an opportunity given the standards that were set, Jones chose the latter.

“I think, obviously, he’s a great player. The word ‘standard’ kind of hit me there, because we all want to play to that standard, the Patriot Way,” he said with respect to the foundation Brady laid. “It comes down to just doing your job. As a quarterback, that’s leading the people around me as best I can. And that’s also executing the plays … it’s pretty much what it comes down to.”

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels recently applauded rookie quarterback Mac Jones for his for his preparation, and for continuing to “put the game and the team first.” Steven Senne/Associated Press

No surprise, Jones has spent countless hours studying tons of Brady’s tape from his two decades in New England, as well as other past quarterbacks who spent time in Foxborough.

“Obviously, he was on (the tape), and did a really, really good job,” Jones said of Brady. “Hopefully I can do a good job, too.”

Having watched Jones the past few months, it’s pretty obvious how seriously he takes his job, and how much work he puts in. As linebacker Dont’a Hightower explained, Jones has even taken to studying the Patriots defense to try to get a leg up and assess how a defense operates.

“I give him credit for that,” said Hightower. “Not a lot of young guys would see that as an opportunity. If you take that for what it’s worth, the kid works hard.”

Sometimes, a little too hard. Sometimes he’s too critical of his mistakes. His teammates have seen that, too, and have done their best to offer perspective.

McCourty relayed a story to the Boston Herald about taking Jones aside and speaking with him after one of the preseason games. The Patriots captain noticed the kid was still grinding, and kicking himself over something that happened in the game.

“I told him to just relax,” said McCourty, “don’t be so hard on yourself. There’s going to be ups and downs, especially when you’re young … I told him how Randy Moss beat me asleep day after day my rookie year. And you just gotta get better.

“So that being said, I’m not at all surprised that he’s doing all that in his backyard,” McCourty went on. “And if (his girlfriend is) helping him get ready for Sunday, then she’s a keeper. So he should do the right thing with that as well.”

Perhaps, in time, Jones and his girlfriend will take the next step. But for now, he is singularly focused.

This week, it’s dealing with the Dolphins defense. Next week, he’ll be onto the Jets.

Jones has dreamt about this moment, of being a starting quarterback in the NFL, and now that the job is his, he doesn’t plan on letting the opportunity go to waste.

“When you’re young, you always want to play in the NFL,” said Jones. “Obviously, it’s a great opportunity. I just have to be prepared, and focus on what I need to focus on, and block out any distractions … just roll with the punches, everything’s not going to be perfect. You just have to play each play, and move on.”

It’s obvious he is passionate about the game. That’s another prerequisite when it comes to Belichick. If a player loves the game, he’s going to put the work in.

As a visual learner, practice and repetition is so important to him.

“Practice, especially, you gotta have a picture of how it’s supposed to go in your head,” he said. “You want everything to be perfect.”

It doesn’t always go that way, but Jones refuses to allow failure to result because of a lack of trying, or preparedness.

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels sees the correlation between work and performance. He recently applauded Jones for his preparation, and continuing to “put the game and the team first.”

Even if that extends to the backyard when he’s home.

McCourty said hearing stories about Jones enlisting the aid of his girlfriend, and sharing that love of football, acts as a bond between teammates.

“Whether it’s the rookies, free agents, veteran guys, I think that’s what you first bond over when you first come together as a team. We all obviously love football,” said McCourty. “When you have a guy, or a couple guys that don’t, it sticks out.”

Has McCourty gone to Jones’ extreme of conducting walkthroughs with his wife in the backyard?

“I haven’t,” he said. “But we’ve conditioned together. She’s studied before in 90-degree weather while I ran. That’s when I knew she was a keeper. So I gotta let Mac know and give him some advice on that.”

Whatever Jones has been doing, whatever method he’s chosen to prepare each day, it certainly didn’t hurt when it came to earning the starter’s job.

We’ll see where it takes him from here. He’s definitely driven to succeed, and this week, that means defeating the Dolphins, and the blitz.

“It’s about coming together as a unit, that’s where my drive comes from, doing the right thing, just being prepared, and figuring out what I can do to help the team,” he said.

No wonder he goes home after a full day at Gillette Stadium, and proceeds to throw balls into a net while simulating plays with Sophie.

Just doing his job.

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