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This week hasn’t been all sunshine for New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones.
The Patriots misplaced their season-opening sport 20-7 to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, and the previous Alabama All-American got here out of the competition with a painful again.
However he was able to follow on Wednesday. Then he missed follow on Thursday with an upset abdomen.
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Now he will get to play in opposition to Pittsburgh Steelers security Minkah Fitzpatrick on Sunday. Within the Steelers’ opener in opposition to the Cincinnati Bengals, Fitzpatrick made 14 tackles, returned an interception for a landing and blocked an additional level with no time remaining within the fourth quarter to offer Pittsburgh the chance for a 23-20 additional time victory.
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When Jones was a redshirt freshman for the Crimson Tide in 2017, Fitzpatrick was in his second season as a consensus All-American for Alabama.
“He was like the epitome of just a great football player and person,” Jones stated. “I looked up to him a lot at Alabama, and he was a great team captain and leader on our team.
“Obviously, he’s done great things with the Steelers. You’ve just got to know where he’s at. He’s a great player. He makes really good plays, and, obviously, off the field, he’s an even better person. That was something that I learned from him. Super easy-going, just really easy to talk to, friendly with everybody, so I have a lot of respect for him.”
Jones stated his again wouldn’t be an issue this week.
“Just the normal treatment plan,” Jones stated. “I always like to work with my guy Brian (Dolan, a team trainer), and he does a good job. That’s what we always do. Whatever hurts during the game, just fix it and then play the next week.”
Fitzpatrick had considered one of Pittsburgh’s 4 interceptions in opposition to Cincinnati, which additionally misplaced a fumble in opposition to the Steelers.
“Steelers defense has just always had that hard-nose, turnover-type football team,” Jones stated. “They’ve kept that M.O., I guess you could call it. They’ve done that throughout their whole history, and this year they have a good turnover-making defense as we saw in Week 1. That’s what good defenses do. They take away the ball from the offense and then score points from it. We just have to do what we do and see where they’re at on the field and just play our game and try to focus on ourselves. We know that they’re a good defense. That’s obvious. It’s on tape.”
New England misplaced three turnovers in opposition to the Dolphins. Jones had a tipped go intercepted in the long run zone and misplaced a fumble on a sack that Miami returned 2 yards for a landing.
“It’s Week 1, and we did a lot of good things out there,” Jones stated, “and we’re moving in the right direction in practice. A lot of the communication is improving, and that’s what happens as the season goes along. You fix the things you want to work on and keep the things that you’re doing well. We feel confident about it, and we just have to go out there and do it. Really, there’s no talking to be done.”
Like Fitzpatrick, Steelers offensive lineman J.C. Hassenauer and cornerback Levi Wallace had been of their closing seasons at Alabama throughout Jones’ redshirt yr. Pittsburgh working again Najee Harris spent 4 seasons at Alabama with Jones. Just like the quarterback, Harris began within the backfield of the Crimson Tide’s 2020 undefeated nationwide championship crew, made the NFL All-Rookie crew and went to the Professional Bowl final season.
Harris stated on Thursday he didn’t suppose he had any suggestions that will assist the Steelers protection in opposition to Jones.
“Other than he’s a tough player, not really, man,” Harris stated when requested about that. “A whole different system. I think (Patriots coach Bill) Belichick and all of them have a done a good job of exposing what it is to be an NFL quarterback, and he embraces all that. He’s a really good leader.”
The Patriots and Steelers will sq. off at midday CDT Sunday at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh.
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Mark Inabinett is a sports activities reporter for Alabama Media Group. Observe him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.
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