JuJu Smith-Schuster played with a pair of likely Hall of Fame quarterbacks for the majority of the first six seasons of his NFL career. So, entering his seventh season – and his first with the New England Patriots – Smith-Schuster’s standard for a quarterback is likely pretty high.
But just a few weeks into his Patriots tenure, Smith-Schuster has been impressed with Mac Jones.
“When I signed, Mac was in the building already. That was during that whole process of free agency. He was in the building and just constantly in and putting in the time to work,” Smith-Schuster told reporters Tuesday. “I think his role and his leadership is something that I’ve seen from afar. His work ethic is hard. He’s a hardworking guy. Very, very smart at what he does and working on his craft.
“For Mac though, the sky’s the limit. I think with all the guys that we have here and all the weapons, it’s going to be a fun year.”
JuJu Smith-Schuster says "the sky's the limit" for Mac Jones this season pic.twitter.com/0HZuGwoSRl
— NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Coverage (@NBCSPatriots) May 2, 2023
There were some questions surrounding Jones’ future with the team earlier this offseason after a second-year slump. Jones threw for 2,997 yards, 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with an 84.8 passer rating in 14 games, taking a notable step back in production as the Patriots fell short of the playoffs after making it in 2021.
Some of Jones’ downplay in production was believed to be in part because of the lack of great talent the Patriots had at receiver. Smith-Schuster was obviously brought in to help fix that, signing a three-year deal worth up to $33 million. They also signed tight end Mike Gesicki to help replace Jonnu Smith, who they traded to the Atlanta Falcons.
While some were concerned by the Patriots not doing much to address the wide receiver position at the NFL Draft, Smith-Schuster thinks the team is fine at that spot.
“Most definitely. Most definitely. We definitely have enough,” Smith-Schuster said when asked if he thought there’s enough talent around Jones. “I mean, we’ve got guys who can run down the field. We’ve got guys that can do a lot of different things. What’s crazy about this offense that I didn’t even know about until I got here was that there’s guys that play both ways. There’s guys that can play receiver, that can play in the backfield. Seeing that you can have so many different weapons with these players, it just gives Mac these opportunities to do whatever he wants.”
Up to this point, players have only been able to work together in meetings at the team facilities. So Smith-Schuster said he hasn’t been able to actually catch passes yet from his new quarterback.
Even though he hasn’t taken the field yet with his new team, Smith-Schuster thinks there could be something special brewing in Foxborough.
“Just being here, I love it,” Smith Schuster said. “I can’t express it more than what I feel just being here and being part of this team. We have something special here. I feel like it’s going to show. It’s going to show this year.”