New Jaguars QB Mac Jones thrilled to be back home in Jacksonville

• New Jaguars QB Mac Jones is excited to return to Jacksonville.

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) drops back to pass against the Miami Dolphins during
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) drops back to pass against the Miami Dolphins during / Jim Rassol / USA TODAY NETWORK

Out of all the teams that could've traded for quarterback Mac Jones, the Jacksonville Jaguars was one of the most unlikely ones. Then again, they couldn't pass up the chance to add competion to their quarterback room. Jones, for one, is excited to play for the team he rooted for growing up.

Jones, a Jacksonville native, told the media in his introductory press conference that he's thrilled to play for the Jaguars after spending the last three years with the New England Patriots.

"I love this place, it's my hometown," Mac Jones told the media. "There's a lot of good things going on around here. Looking forward to learning everybody's names and getting back into playing good football... Coming to the games and growing up as a fan, seeing all the good times and some of the bad times, it was important for me to fulfill my dream of playing in the NFL."

"I had a great opportunity in New England and I can't thank them enough but I'm happy to be here. As a kid from Jacksonville, it's a dream come true," Jones said.

Jones was the 15th overall pick in the 2021 draft. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie but regressed the past two seasons. He says he enjoyed his time in New England but believes that moving on was the best for him and the Patriots.

"Like I said, I have all the respect in the world for those guys up there. Their my first team, drafted me in the first round. Can't thank them enough. We decided that mutual parting away was the best decision for both of us. For me, it was about moving on, getting back home. I can't be more excited. And for them, it's about moving forward and turning the page. Really, that's what we decided. I think it's a great decision."

Jones goes on to say that he learned a lot from Bill Belichick, even if things didn't work out. However, he's now focus on getting the most out of his time with the Jaguars.

"Learn from a great coach, one of the greatest of all time. Been fortunate to work with some great coaches, played a lot of games, and started a lot of games. Things went the way they did, my goal is to get the train back on the track, so I think I can do that here and the coaches here talk to me about that, how I can help the room, how I can learn from Trevor and everybody here. He's playing great football and he's done a great job here in Jacksonville, so I'm excited to get back with him and C.J."

Jones was benched several times the past two years. While his performance was far from great, the Patriots deserve lots of blame for his regression. Matt Patricia became the de facto offensive coach in 2022 and didn't have a clue of what he was doing. Bill O'Brian replaced Patricia last year, but by then, it was too late to reverse the damage.

Nevertheless, Jones posted solid numbers during his three-year stint in Foxbough, completing 66.1 percent of his passes for 8,463 yards with 46 touchdowns and 36 interceptions. In Jacksonville, he provides insurance in case Trevor Lawrence gets hurt while he gets to rebuild his stock.

Mac Jones is poised to be QB2 for the Jaguars in 2024

One of the reasons it was a bit surprising to see the Jaguars trade for Mac Jones was that they already had a backup quarterback in C.J. Beathard, who signed a two-year deal to remain in Jacksonville last season. That said, Jones is more talented than his veteran counterpart.

Last season, Lawrence dealt with a myriad of injuries but only missed one game. He might've pushed through injuries because there was a steep dropoff from him to Beathard. If he has to miss time again in 2024, the coaching staff may feel comfortable letting him rest and roll with Jones.

Of course, Jones will need to beat Beathard for the backup job first. Jacksonville has no incentive to release Beathard right now, so they'll probably hold onto him in the offseason. But when everything is said and done, Jones should come out on top.

While trading for Jones may have come as a surprise, there's no doubt the Jaguars' quarterback room is in much better shape. Ideally, he won't play a single snap in 2024, but if he does, he'll give Jacksonville a chance to win games.

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