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Alabama in the Pros

Cam Newton has nicknamed Mac Jones “Mac and Cheese”

Mac Jones of Alabama executes handoff drills for American team at Senior Bowl
Vasha Hunt - USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots are in their second week of organized team activities.

Bill Belichick and his staff are happy to have Dont’a Hightower back; however, it is Mac Jones making headlines. He has earned Belichick’s respect for his hard work, and his relationship with Josh McDaniels is smooth. Jones is now starting to grab the attention of Cam Newton.

The 32-year-old is in his second season with the Patriots as its projected starting quarterback.

RELATED: Mac Jones earning respect from Bill Belichick and Patriots during OTAs

He suffered a hand injury last week but has returned to OTAs. According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss and NBC Sports Boston, a list of nicknames has been created for players and coaches.

Newton nicknamed Jones “Mac and Cheese,” and the former Alabama signal-caller said his relationship with the former NFL Most Valuable Player (2015, Carolina Panthers) has been good.

“He’s done an awesome job being a good mentor,” Jones said of Newton. “He brings great energy.”

Jones said Newton, Jarrett Stidham, and Brian Hoyer have all helped him in the film room.

As he continues to progress, the 15th overall pick of this year’s NFL Draft has an offensive coordinator who is as much of a perfectionist as he is. Whether it was Joe Dickinson, Corky Rogers, or Nick Saban, Jones has been around tough coaching throughout his football career at quarterback.

McDaniels will continue the trend; nevertheless, Jones is prepared for it.

RELATED: Mac Jones ‘threw the best ball of anybody in camp’ according to a report from Patriots OTAs

“I am super hard on myself,” Jones said. “Sometimes it’s hard, but Josh expects everything to be perfect. That is why he is great at everything he does. Our relationship is great, and he works with all the quarterbacks. If you miss one detail, then that is not good enough. As a rookie, you want to try and get everything right but you are not going to. I just have to accept that and try to be the best that I can be, but Josh has put us all in a great position. He is a great teacher, a great coach, and a great person.”

Hard coaching turned Jones into a national champion. It allowed him to win some individual accolades in college and be voted a permanent team captain by his peers at Alabama. He likes the nickname, but Jones is continuing his push for the starting job.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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