Following in Tom Brady's footsteps can't be an easy task, and Mac Jones found out the hard way.
The 23-year-old was a first round pick for the Patriots in 2021, with the side looking for a new franchise quarterback as Brady departed.
Jones was never going to instantly fill the boots of Brady in his rookie season, but he did impress in 2021, passing for 3,801 yards at a completion rate of 67.6%.
It's a solid foundation to build on as he prepares for his second year in the NFL, and his teammates believe they're already seeing an improvement from him in the offseason.
Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne spoke of his quarterback earlier this week, and was full of praise for Jones' development.
"It's just at another level now," said Bourne.
"He's more comfortable, more confident. He knows what's going on, and the muscle memory is there - OTAs, then camp, and the season.
"He's just more locked in, more secure in his position."
Bourne specifically praised Jones' leadership in the locker room, which was one of the standout characteristics that drew the Patriots to him during his college years with Alabama.
"He connects with all the players really well. I'm proud of that dude, because it's not easy," Bourne added.
"Going into his second year after having a year like that, it's going to be a challenge, but he's a guy that likes challenges, like all of us in that Patriot building."
DeVante Parker has only worked with Jones for a matter of weeks after moving to New England from the Miami Dolphins, but the 29-year-old has already picked up on the workrate of his new quarterback.
"He's a young guy but he's developed as a leader. That's what this team needs," Parker said. "I've only been here a few weeks, but I still see it."
The Patriots are currently enjoying their mandatory minicamp this week, before they begin to ramp up the preparations ahead of the start of the new season in September.