Patriots veteran Matthew Slater praises rookie QB Mac Jones
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots veteran Matthew Slater praises rookie QB Mac Jones: He has 'gifts' as a leader

Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones had an impressive showing in New England's 17-16 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. However, the Alabama product's statistical success wasn't on the mind of veteran Matthew Slater. 

During his weekly appearance on the Mut at Night show on WEEI Sports Radio Network, Slater said Jones has "gifts" as a leader that he believes will only grow stronger with time.

"Every situation that presents itself is a little bit different and you just handle it in the moment. I think Mac's already a leader on this football team and he'll continue to grow in that role and certainly he's got guys on the offensive side of the ball that will support him and put him in position to be successful as a leader and a as a player," Slater said. "So, collectively, we'll do the best that we can to support Mac but at that same time we don't want to stifle the gifts that he has as a leader. I'm sure that's an area that he'll continue to blossom in and ultimately I'm sure the finished product will be a great one."

Slater, a 14-year veteran and nine-time special teams Pro Bowler, has been a Patriots captain for each of the last 11 seasons. So when he says Jones is already blossoming into a great leader, that's undoubtedly a good sign for New England.

Jones was impressive in his Patriots debut, completing 29-of-39 passes for 281 yards and one touchdown. If he continues to play as he did against Miami on Sunday night, Bill Belichick's squad certainly is in good hands. 

Jones and the Patriots are scheduled to play fellow rookie quarterback Zach Wilson and the New York Jets this weekend. With both teams off to 0-1 starts, it'll be a big matchup for the AFC East rivals.

Erin Walsh is a Boston sports fan through and through. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Bridgewater State University and currently is in pursuit of her Master's Degree in Journalism from Northeastern University. Follow her on Twitter @ewalsh90.

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