Patriots QB Mac Jones
PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK MAC JONES
September 20, 2023
Q: Obviously, not the start that you guys wanted, but what gives you the confidence that you guys can turn things around and get the results that you want?
MJ: Yeah, definitely just moving on to the next game, the most important game, against a really good defense, for us. They have a lot of talented players who have played a lot of football in this league. They present challenges – physical, mental, and all that stuff. So, really just focused on that and doing my job.
Q: It’s hard not to notice how comfortable you look this year as compared to points last year? I guess, can you speak to that, even though there’s been a lot of stuff happening around you with offensive line combinations and pressures, that you seem like you’re in a really good place?
MJ: Yeah, I think every year’s a new year. I’m definitely done talking about last year, and just looking forward to trying to improve. Done with the first two weeks, just trying to focus on what I can do each play – what’s my job? Who is the ball supposed to go to? – and focus on that.
Q: You mentioned the challenges the Jets present mentally. I know, I think you’ve spoken, and at least Bill has – they’re kind of a do what we do defense. So, where are those challenges mentally?
MJ: Yeah, obviously, I’ve had a chance to play against this defense a lot, but they’ve done a great job. They affect the quarterback. They push the pocket. They’re relentless. They run to the ball. They do everything right. So, it’s a big challenge. For me, like I said, I’m going to focus on each play, regardless of the situation. I’m going to go out there and execute my job, and hopefully bring everybody with me.
Q: What challenges does having a guy like Sauce Gardner out there bring to a quarterback?
MJ: Yeah, he’s a great player, obviously had a great rookie year. He’s going to make a lot of progress. He looks great out there, him and D.J. [Reed]. So, tough group to go against. I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen on film, definitely long, athletic guys across the defense. So, powerful up front, linebackers play with a lot of range. C.J. [Mosley]’s amazing. He’s a great player, always has been in this league. Definitely, he’s the bell cow, but you can tell they all have their own unique things they can do. So, definitely one of the – probably the most impressive team I’ve seen on film.
Q: How close do you guys think you are on offense after two games?
MJ: Yeah, like I said, just trying to move forward, focus on what I can control. It’s hard to do when sometimes the results aren’t there, but really just focus on, ‘What’s the play? What’s my job? How can I do it really well and how can I bring others with me?’
Q: What’s the feeling in the locker room like this week? Is it kind of an us against everybody mentality?
MJ: Yeah, obviously there’s a greater urgency, but that needs to happen every week. That’s the challenge, is just trying to do it every week, and like I said, just play the play for what it is. Do your job – line up, assignment. For me, what’s my read, who am I supposed to throw the ball too, and keep it simple.
Q: You guys have been pretty good in the red zone so far, when you get down there. What have you seen that has led to some of that success?
MJ: Honestly, we’ve got to do better, really, score more points. Just by doing that, try not to focus on the result. Focus on the play. How can I execute the play? Who can I get the ball to? And, let that take care of itself. We have great playmakers; offensive line is coming together. For me, I’ve just got to stay within the structure.
Q: What is it about empty formations that maybe you like?
MJ: I like empty.
MJ: I think it’s good. I think it presents some challenges for the defense, depending on the week. So, sometimes we use it. Sometimes we don’t.
Q: Is there anything to – maybe does it feels like to you that it fits your skill set well? You’ve talked earlier about wanting to be a point guard and distribute. Is that the kind of approach that you take in that sort of situation?
MJ: Empty’s somewhat new to me. I played in the Wing T in high school. So, college is the first time I got to go into empty. I like being in the gun a little bit. I like to spread it out. But, it depends on the week, right? We just do things based on what we see, and how we can predict the game. When the game comes, if it’s not looking good in empty, then we change.
Q: So, you’re saying you’d like to run the Wing T, maybe?
MJ: Yeah, we’ve got a few plays.
Q: When watching film, what stands out to you about Quinnen Williams?
MJ: Yeah, I’ve known Quinnen for quite some time. He was a great player in college, obviously, and that’s translated really well to the NFL. He’s got a great motor, very strong, savvy. He uses his hands really well, wiping blocks off or swim moves. Obviously, his power is there as well, and they have other great guys around him, too. It’s hard, when you have one good guy, but you really have four good guys. So, that’s the challenge.
Q: When you face a defense with a top-tier corner like Sauce, how do you balance the risk of throwing to a guy like that without making yourself predictable in the passing game?
MJ: Yeah, I think it comes with the game plan. Obviously, you’ve got to know where a guy like that is, and there’s multiple people on their defense that are like that. For me, just trying to execute the play. Trying to focus on that during the week, then when I get out there, just keep it simple and let it fly.
Q: Obviously, one of the biggest plays from last game was the Brenden Schooler blocked field goal. I was just wondering what your reaction to that play was when it happened, and maybe now, having watched it back a little bit more?
MJ: Yeah, that was great. Really excited to see more of those plays, and they’ve done a great job on special teams.
Q: Speaking of Sunday, I know you weren’t the only one to call for doing more to us. Since then, have you seen more from your teammates?
MJ: I think the biggest thing is stick to your routine. Obviously, we keep talking about being close, and I think a lot of that just comes from a little bit of extra work. That’s what I’ve noticed with different people, and I like to read, and see other athletes and what they do, and that’s just what a lot of good athletes do. So, I’m trying to do that, but you can’t press. You have to let things come to you. For me, focus on the little things, like I said. What’s the play? Where is it supposed to go? Is it a run or pass, RPO? Then, how do I get the ball to the playmakers?
Q: You guys have had to go up-tempo. How do you feel you guys have been organized and performed in those situations?
MJ: Yeah, good. I like up-tempo.
Q: You talked about playing fast a lot over the summer. You want to play fast. How close are you guys to what you want to be in that regard?
MJ: Yeah, it’s been skewed, just because of some of the starts and stuff. For us, really, we want to try to balance everything out and show our identity. We can use that if we need to, but it all starts with running the ball and doing things well there too.
Q: Do you have any relationship with Zach Wilson?
MJ: Yeah, it was COVID, so it’s kind of hard, but he’s a great player, has done a lot of things to improve. I’ve always thought he threw the ball very well, watching him throw whether it was on tape or whatnot, he has great ability and he’s obviously competitive. So, looking forward to going against him again.
Q: What do you guys think you need to do or change to have more success on some of these deep balls?
MJ: For me, what’s the drop? Who is it designed to go to? Where am I looking, and the timing of it, and that just comes from practice.
Q: Jalen Reagor was elevated from the practice squad the other day. What have you seen from him at practice since he got here?
MJ: Yeah, he looks good. He’s fast, obviously picking up the playbook pretty good. He looks pretty good.
Q: Have you seen guys picking up Pop [Demario] Douglas this week after what he went through on Sunday?
MJ: Yeah, I think, for sure, the older guys – including myself – just trying to lift him up and let him know that he’s a great player, and one play, one week doesn’t define anybody. So, he’s going to come out and keep swinging. He has a lot of speed, smart kid, tough, dependable, all the stuff. So, he’s going to bounce back and so are we.
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