FOXBORO -- There was a lot of bad blood between the Patriots and the Panthers during their joint practice sessions this week. However, none of it was between Mac Jones and Brian Burns.
While a number of scrums, tussles, and feisty shoving matches erupted on the practice field behind Gillette Stadium on Tuesday and Wednesday, Jones and Burns got along great. It turns out the two have patched things up after Jones was Public Enemy No. 1 in Carolina for much of last season.
Jones sparked some controversy in last year's Week 9 matchup between the Patriots and the Panthers, when he grabbed Burns by the ankle while going for a fumble. Burns wasn't happy and neither were his Panthers teammates, declaring it open season on the Patriots quarterback for the rest of the NFL.
That's all water under the bridge now. According to Jones, it's all good (man) between the two players, and it has been for a while.
"I talked with Brian and we already made up at the Pro Bowl," Jones explained Wednesday. "Everything's good.
"We're definitely friends now," Jones added with a chuckle.
Friends may be a stretch, but at least the two didn't get involved in rumpus time in Foxboro. Two more fights broke out during Wednesday's session in Foxboro after there were three dustups on Tuesday. A total of seven players were ejected between the two practices.
"I think everyone's competitive and then sometimes that's how it gets out here," Jones said of the incidents. "The big thing is it's football and we're here to practice and try and have a good day. The coaches handled it properly just calling up the teams, and Coach Belichick obviously gave us good advice about just playing the next play, and play football, and not worry about fighting other people and stuff like that. Just come together and get the good work in that we need to get against a good team."
Jones was pleased with how the offense played over the last two days, though there is still plenty to work on ahead of the regular season. But he's pleased with the progress of the unit so far, and downplayed the communication issues that have reportedly plagued players and offensive coaches this preseason.
"We're getting there. I think the coaches have done a good job just kind of listening to us and if we don't like something, it's something that they're going to listen to and tell us why we should do one thing or another. At the end of the day they have a lot of experience and they know exactly how to attack a defense and that's something that we've kind of bought into," said Jones.
After sitting out last Thursday night's game against the Giants, Jones is eager to take his first snaps of the preseason. Will those come on Friday night against the Panthers?
"I hope so," Jones said with a laugh.
Tune in to Friday's Patriots-Panthers preseason game on WBZ-TV -- the flagship station of the New England Patriots. Coverage begins at 6:30pm with Patriots GameDay, kickoff is set for 7pm, and stay tuned after the game for full reaction and analysis on Patriots Fifth Quarter!
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