Jun 8, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) during the New England Patriots minicamp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots, Bill Belichick praise new, improved Mac Jones

The return of the Mac is far better than Bill Belichick anticipated.

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones was praised by teammates in the offseason for his physical transformation. But Belichick said Tuesday, the official start of New England’s training camp, that the transformation goes far beyond locking the snack drawer.

Belichick, who said Jones checked in for camp last week with the team’s rookies and six days ahead of schedule, identified “physical work and conditioning, mechanics, footwork, understanding of our offense (and) opponent defenses” as some of the areas where Jones made improvement.

“He’s made tremendous strides,” Belichick said, speaking Tuesday before the Patriots held their first full-squad workout of camp. “He did a great job last year, but he’s starting from a much, much higher point this year from where he started last year. His offseason work has been significant, and I think everyone recognizes how well he prepares and how much further along he was than a year ago.”

When Jones, 23, reported to his first training camp last July, he was considered a developmental quarterback holding the clipboard behind Cam Newton. That narrative lasted less than two weeks as Jones worked his way into first-team reps and Newton lost ground on the practice field even before a hiatus due to a positive COVID-19 test.

“It all goes back into just trying to be a better player and person. That was my goal this offseason,” Jones said. “I feel better, I feel confident, and that’s what’s important. I’m just gonna try and go in there and do my thing and lead everybody and help us come together as a unit.”

Jones started all 17 regular season games, posted a 10-7 record and solid numbers: 3,801 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Belichick said the offensive system has not been defined for 2022. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels left to become head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders and the Patriots did not name coordinators on offense or defense. Former Giants head coach Joe Judge and former Lions head coach Matt Patricia are back as New England assistants and likely to contribute to preparation of Jones in the month ahead.

“We have a much better feel for what he can do, what his strengths are, and how to try to play into those. He’s self-aware, too. He knows what he does well. We want to try to feature those,” Belichick said.

–Field Level Media

Dec 23, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA;  Florida Gators quarterback Emory Jones (5) is hit by UCF Knights defensive lineman Big Kat Bryant (1) on a pass attempt in the first half of the Gasparilla Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Florida QB Emory Jones transfers to Arizona State

Former Florida quarterback Emory Jones indicated Thursday that he is transferring to Arizona State.

Jones posted a picture on his Twitter account with artwork showing him in a Sun Devils’ uniform.

Jones’ decision will give Arizona State an experienced quarterback after starter Jayden Daniels transferred to LSU in March.

Last season, Jones passed for 2,734 yards, 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions for the Gators. He also rushed for 759 yards and four scores.

He played parts of four seasons with the Gators, throwing for 3,347 yards, 26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions and rushing for 1,273 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Due to the free eligibility season of 2020 due to COVID-19, Jones has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

–Field Level Media

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Julio Jones (2) exits the field after their loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in a AFC Divisional playoff game at Nissan Stadium Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022 in Nashville, Tenn.

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Report: Titans to release WR Julio Jones

The Tennessee Titans plan to release veteran wideout Julio Jones, ESPN reported Wednesday.

Jones was a disappointment last season in his first campaign with Tennessee. He established career lows of 31 receptions, 434 yards and one touchdown in just 10 games due to multiple hamstring injuries.

Jones caught six passes for 62 yards when the Titans were upset 19-16 by the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Divisional round of the playoffs.

Jones played his first 10 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons before being dealt to Tennessee.

The 33-year-old Jones was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection with Atlanta and topped 1,300 receiving yards in a span of six consecutive seasons from 2014-19. He also had more than 100 receptions three times and set franchise marks of 136 catches and 1,871 yards in 2015.

Jones holds Falcons’ career records of 848 receptions and 12,896 yards. His 60 touchdown receptions rank second behind Roddy White (63).

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones (55) pressures the pass by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) in the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-Arizona Republic

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Report: Raiders land DE Chandler Jones, CB Rock Ya-Sin

The Las Vegas Raiders have agreed to a three-year deal with free agent All-Pro pass rusher Chandler Jones and acquired cornerback Rock Ya-Sin via trade with the Indianapolis Colts, NFL Network reported Wednesday.

With a deal in place with Jones, the Raiders traded defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to the Colts for Ya-Sin, per the report.

The deal for Jones is worth about $17 million per year, NFL Network reported.

Jones, 32, racked up 71.5 sacks in six seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, who acquired him in a trade with New England in March 2016.

Jones is coming off his fourth Pro Bowl after recording 10.5 sacks in 15 starts in 2021. He has 107.5 career sacks in 139 games (136 starts) with the Pats and Cards. He was selected No. 21 overall by the Pats in the 2012 draft.

Ngakoue, 26, racked up 10 sacks with the Raiders in 2021, his first season in Las Vegas. He had 71 quarterback pressures in 2021, good for third in the NFL, according to Next Gen Stats.

The Colts will be Ngakoue’s fifth team in seven seasons despite 55.5 career sacks. He was selected in the third round of the 2016 draft by Jacksonville and played four seasons for the Jaguars, earning a Pro Bowl nod in 2017.

Ya-Sin, 25, has two interceptions and 20 passes defensed in 41 career games (29 starts) for the Colts, who selected him in the second round of the 2019 draft.

The Raiders also reportedly released DE Carl Nassib earlier Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

Oct 3, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA;  Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) hands the football off to running back Aaron Jones (33) during warmups prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Jones thinks Aaron Rodgers will stay with Packers

Green Bay running back Aaron Jones believes quarterback Aaron Rodgers will play for the Packers in 2022.

“I’ve heard what everybody else has heard, what they’re reading,” Jones said Tuesday on the NFL Network. “But I think he’ll be there, in my heart. Green Bay, I can’t imagine him anywhere else, that’s where he’s been his whole career. I just can’t picture him anywhere else. I think we had a lot of fun this year, I hope to have him back and I believe in my heart he’ll be back.”

Rodgers, 38, delivered another MVP-level season in 2021 with 4,115 passing yards, 37 touchdowns and just four interceptions in 16 starts.

However, the top-seeded Packers (13-4) lost their playoff opener at home to the San Francisco 49ers, kicking off another offseason of speculation about Rodgers’ future with the franchise.

Appearing on the “Pat McAfee Show” after the divisional playoff loss, Rodgers said “everything is definitely on the table,” including retirement, relocation or a return to Green Bay.

–Field Level Media

Jun 3, 2021; Frisco, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy and CEO Stephen Jones and owner Jerry Jones on the sidelines during voluntary Organized Team Activities at the Star Training Facility in Frisco, Texas. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys’ Mike McCarthy to return as head coach

Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones expects head coach Mike McCarthy to return to Dallas next season.

Jones said Monday he “absolutely” felt McCarthy would be back and later in the day, Jones’ father and team owner Jerry Jones, said a coaching change was “not on the table.”

However, Jerry Jones said after Sunday’s wildcard loss to the San Francisco 49ers that he couldn’t remember being “this disappointed” after a loss.

The 49ers held on for a 23-17 victory but Dallas had a chance on its final possession despite setting a franchise record for penalties (14) in a playoff game.

With zero timeouts, the Cowboys drove into 49ers territory with quick passes toward the sideline to stop the clock. But Dallas’ last chance ended when Prescott ran 17 yards up the middle to the 49ers’ 24-yard line and could not spike the ball to stop the clock before time expired.

“That was the best option … it’s the right decision,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy said officials told him after the play that they would review and, if necessary, put time back on the clock. Then, they announced instead that the game was over and exited the playing field.

“When you get this combination of players together, you need to have success,” Jones said Sunday night.

Changes are expected to a coaching staff that could be spun into flux with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore interviewing for current NFL head-coaching openings.

–Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12), offensive tackle David Bakhtiari (69)  and head coach Matt LeFleur against the New York Jets during their preseason football game on Saturday, August 21, 2021, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Wm. Glasheen USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

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Packers LT David Bakhtiari completes practice, could play vs. Lions

Left tackle David Bakhtiari completed a full practice with the Packers on Friday and could play in Sunday’s regular-season finale against the host Detroit Lions, Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur said.

Bakhtiari hasn’t played this season and the team wasn’t confident he would be cleared before the playoffs after undergoing a scope on his sore knee on Nov. 23. A two-time All-Pro, Bakhtiari was replaced by guard Elgton Jenkins. But Jenkins is out due to a season-ending ACL tear in Green Bay’s 34-31 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 21.

LaFleur said the Packers want to see how Bakhtiari feels Saturday before deciding his status versus the Lions.

Also questionable is running back Aaron Jones, a limited practice participant all week due to a knee injury.

Cornerback Jaire Alexander participated in the practice but was ruled out. Alexander is working his way back from the reserve/COVID-19 list.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) celebrates his touchdown pass with center David Andrews (60) against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots steamroll Jaguars to clinch playoff berth

Mac Jones passed for 227 yards and three touchdowns as the New England Patriots bounced back from back-to-back losses to clinch a playoff berth with a 50-10 rout of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday in Foxborough, Mass.

Jones’ second TD pass of the game was his 20th of the season, breaking a tie with Jim Plunkett in 1971 for the most by a rookie quarterback in franchise history. Jones completed 22 of 30 passes in the victory.

Kristian Wilkerson caught his first two NFL touchdown passes and both Rhamodre Stevenson (career-high 107 rushing yards) and Damien Harris added a pair of rushing TDs for New England.

Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson recorded his eighth interception of the season and the 25th of his career, tying Lester Hayes and Everson Walls for the most in a players’ first four seasons in NFL history.

New England (10-6) clinched its 12th playoff berth in 13 seasons following Miami’s loss to Tennessee. Meanwhile, Patriots coach Bill Belichick notched his 20th career 10-win season to tie legendary coach Don Shula for the most in NFL history.

It was the Patriots’ second 50-point game of the season following a 54-13 rout of the New York Jets on Oct. 24.

Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence finished 17-of-27 passing for 193 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions — giving the reigning No. 1 overall pick an NFL-leading 17 picks. Jacksonville wideout Laquon Treadwell had six catches for a game-high 87 receiving yards.

Jacksonville (2-14) suffered its eighth straight defeat and dropped to 0-7 all-time in Foxborough.

The Patriots led 28-3 at halftime after scoring touchdowns on their first four possessions.

Harris’ 2-yard TD rush with 5:49 left in the first quarter put New England up 7-0. Jacksonville drove to the Patriots’ 11-yard-line on the following drive, but was forced to settle for Matthew Wright’s 29-yard field goal.

New England took control for good with three TDs in the second quarter and scored 43 unanswered points before Lawrence’s 28-yard TD pass to Dare Ogunbowale late in the fourth quarter.

–Field Level Media

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) looks to throw in the first half. The Giants defeat the Eagles, 13-7, at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in East Rutherford.

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Giants rule out Daniel Jones, Mike Glennon likely to start

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones will miss his second straight game with a neck injury and backup Mike Glennon appears ready to start Sunday’s road game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Glennon was a full practice participant on Friday and the team later confirmed he was removed from concussion protocol and taken off the injury list. Glennon sustained the concussion in last week’s 20-9 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Glennon wasn’t diagnosed with the concussion until after a game in which he completed 23 of 44 passes for 187 yards and one interception.

Giants coach Joe Judge said Jones was ruled out because he wasn’t cleared for contact. Jones, who reportedly visited a specialist in Los Angeles this week, was hurt in a 13-7 victory against the Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 28.

“We’re still optimistic in pushing forward to prepare him to be back on the field this year,” Judge told reporters. “When the doctors clear him for contact, and they say he’s good to go, we’ll have him ready to go.”

New York signed Jake Fromm off the Buffalo Bills practice squad last week and he will likely back up Glennon. Fromm, 23, has never played in an NFL game.

Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (quadriceps) and receiver Kadarius Toney (oblique) also were ruled out. Receivers Kenny Golladay (ribs) and Sterling Shepard (quadriceps) and defensive tackle Danny Shelton (calf) are questionable.

The Giants are training in Tucson, Ariz., for the contest in Southern California.

–Field Level Media

Oct 24, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Julio Jones (2) before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Titans WR Julio Jones (hamstring) placed on IR

The Tennessee Titans placed receiver Julio Jones on injured reserve Saturday due to a hamstring injury.

The move means Jones must miss at least three games.

The 32-year-old Jones has struggled to stay healthy in his first season with the Titans. He sat out three games earlier this season due to a hamstring injury.

Jones has 21 receptions for 336 yards and no touchdowns in six games this season. The seven-time Pro Bowler was acquired from Atlanta in the offseason after playing 10 seasons for the Falcons.

Also, Tennessee activated cornerback Kristian Fulton (hamstring) from injured reserve and placed safety Dane Cruikshank (knee) on IR.

The Titans (7-2) host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

–Field Level Media