We're still a couple months from legitimate training camp competition, but we're already spending significant time on New England's most important position.
On Thursday, it was offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels' turn to field questions about his team's quarterback situation. He started at ground zero.
"You coach them all hard, you coach them all fairly, you coach them all to what they need," McDaniels explained, via 98.5 The Sports Hub's Alex Barth. ... "What they all need is good, honest communication."
Communication has been a point of strength for the incumbent starter, Cam Newton, according to McDaniels, who said the strange first season in New England has proven to be beneficial to Newton entering year two.
"He came back certainly this year at a much different position," McDaniels said of Newton, via the Boston Globe's Ben Volin. "He has a different grasp of the offense, a different understanding of the terminology."
A firm grasp of the offense seems to be near the top of McDaniels' desires, for which he said Thursday he was looking closely when watching Mac Jones' performance during his pre-draft workouts.
"Presence. Command," McDaniels said when asked what he was looking for at Jones' and others' pro days. "Are they in control of the workout? Are they talking to the other players there to participate with them? Are they coachable?"
With this information in hand, it's easy to see why New England felt Jones was the right quarterback for the Patriots to take in the first round in April. Now it might just be a matter of how quickly Jones gains his own grasp of the offense, a process that won't just happen overnight.
"Are we making progress in the areas we targeted?" McDaniels asked, adding it's important to "lay a foundation so when they come to training camp, it may be the third time they hear the material."
Once the mental part is complete, then it comes down to physical execution. That's the element we should expect to see tested in training camp. For now, it's all about digesting the offense.