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Mac Jones Is Preparing Like He's The Starting Quarterback, Even If Job Belongs To Cam Newton

BOSTON (CBS) -- Bill Belichick still won't name his starting quarterback. But based on practice reps and preseason starts, the answer all along has clearly been Cam Newton.

Despite that order of work, and despite mostly working with the second offensive unit, rookie Mac Jones put together a rather impressive summer of work. He completed 36 of his 52 passes (69.2 percent) for 388 yards with one touchdown and, importantly, zero interceptions. Had a few drops been caught, those numbers could have been even better.

And though all signs are pointing to Newton being under center come Sept.  12, Jones said he really only knows one way to prepare -- and that's as if he is the starting quarterback.

"I learned at a young age -- just prepare like the starter. You don't have to be the starter, but prepare, get in your routine," Jones said after Sunday's preseason finale win over the Giants. "That's something Coach talked about today was just, 'Hey, we're going to be in the stadium. Just get in your routine.' And that's kind of what I did. Just eat the same thing I eat every game day and kind of go about my business how I would. And then you kind of get in to your routine and that's how you can get into a flow."

Jones was asked directly if he believes he's played well enough to have earned the starting job. The rookie sounded like a veteran who's well-versed in the Patriots' way of speaking to the media.

"I mean, I've gotten a lot of opportunities to play, and I can improve on everything that I want to improve on," Jones said. "So I think just learning from [Brian] Hoyer, Cam, Jarrett [Stidham[, anybody I can, and just listening to Josh [McDaniels] and his coaching, there's a lot of work to do. But I think I've made progress. But honestly it's just, the only thing that matters is today. And then tomorrow I'll focus on tomorrow. But I think the past is the past and we're kind of moving onto the new season here."

And while a competition for a job doesn't always foster a positive environment, Jones reiterated that the quarterbacks on the roster have all supported each other through the summer.

"I think it's been good. There's no bad business in our quarterback room," Jones said. "We're all trying to help each other. Obviously I played in college last year, and I've never played in the NFL. So, I'm here to learn from Josh, from Cam, from Hoyer, from everybody. They've seen a lot of football, whether they played or were a backup or whatever, but they've seen NFL football and they've been a great help to me. And I hope that I can help them whenever they ask for it. If I see something or I have to do something for them, I'll do it, because I'm trying to be a great teammate. So, it'll play out how it's supposed to."

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