Patriots QB Mac Jones
PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK MAC JONES
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
SEPTEMBER 10, 2023
Q: Mac, what do you think contributed to the slow start to this game, and how proud are you of the way you responded despite that slow start?
MJ: Yeah, I think just working through some things. I really didn’t throw any good passes on the first drive, so definitely a slow start, and it starts with me. Just got to watch the tape and clean it up, but definitely felt like we fought hard. Rookies played really well. The offensive line played really well. The skill players played really well. So, definitely let the team down tonight. Couldn’t score early, and we just fell behind because of me, and I put it on myself.
Q: The defense got you the ball a couple of times late in the game with the possibility of getting the ball in to go ahead. How would you sum up those two drives that you just weren’t able to finish it off?
MJ: Yeah, not good by me. They gave me the ball twice to win the game, and I couldn’t do it. I just got to go back and watch and see what I can do better, but as a quarterback, that hurts; right? You get a chance to win the game twice and can’t do it. You just got to learn from it. You only get so many opportunities in the NFL to do that, and I felt like I definitely let the team down.
Q: Starting with the offensive line, played down two starters. How do you assess how the protection was and how those guys executed overall today?
MJ: Yeah, great. I think starting two rookies on the offensive line is tough, and they played really, really good all night. Didn’t really feel the pressure at all against the best defensive line in the NFL. I felt like they did an amazing job. Couldn’t thank them enough for the job they did tonight and just have to grow and continue on. Those will be some of the best guys we’ll go against all year, but in the NFL everybody everyone is good; right? So they know that. They’re working hard. Everybody. David [Andrews] is doing a good job leading, and Trent [Brown] and some of the older guys. Been really proud of those guys, and definitely felt like I let them down a little bit at the end. I didn’t play my best game so definitely just got to keep working.
Q: Then also to be in that two-score hole, what did it say to you about the team the way you responded as a whole?
MJ: I loved it. I think they kept fighting just play-by-play. Don’t look at the scoreboard, and Coach Belichick did a great job explaining that to us. Just play each play for what it is and definitely had too many bad plays versus good plays for me. Just have to watch it and see what I can do better, but everybody around me played a great game, and just have to be better.
Q: Mac, we speak a lot about leadership. You yourself are hard on yourself. You just talked about it, and you could have come back in that fourth quarter. But down 16-0, that was the time that looked like any team could fold. Your team did not. What does it say about you and your growth here in this third year and being able to lead your team back in that way?
MJ: Yeah, I think the defense obviously played great, and special teams had some good returns and stuff so honestly just have to watch it and see what I can do better from a schematic standpoint. I felt like in the most critical times, I played my worst so I just have to go back and look and see what I can do about either better. All you can do is learn. That’s what you do as a good quarterback. You go back and learn. When it’s the hardest, that’s when you need to play your best. I definitely can do it. I know I can do it. I’ve done it before. Just have to be better, and definitely came back and had a chance to win the game a few times. Just felt like I let the defense down, and I’ll have to live with that.
Q: Mac, the offense was stagnant to start, and then you had that run there. The touchdown drives in the second quarter added more of a vertical element to the offense at that point. What really settled you guys in and made you comfortable at that point?
MJ: Yeah, I think Coach O’Brien just doing his thing, calling the game how he knows how to call it. He did a great job preparing us all week. We knew what we were getting. It was just a slow start kind of, first game. But definitely wanted to have a better start. I felt like we did some good things, but it wasn’t consistent enough. Definitely just him just keeping calm, just talking through with the offensive line and us and the quarterbacks and everybody. I felt like we had a good plan. Kind of like the game declared. We knew what they were kind of doing. So came up with some plays that we liked, and just need to execute a little better in those critical points.
Q: Mac, you’re being hard on yourself. Question, though: In terms of things that you don’t like what you did, was it a decision-making standpoint that you didn’t like or just physical ability, something you didn’t do physically in terms of not making the play?
MJ: I’ll have to go look. I felt like there was definitely a couple of times when I probably didn’t throw it to the right guy. Just have to watch the film, sometimes when you are out there, it’s going fast. Just trying to stay neutral and don’t go up and down, which I tried not to do tonight. Yeah, just have to watch it from a schematic standpoint. I do think I have the ability to make all the throws. It’s not that. It’s just doing it at the right time. Like you said, just trying to watch the film and make it work.
Q: How would you describe your relationship, your chemistry, or confidence in Kendrick [Bourne]? Obviously a big target tonight. Had the miscue early on where it seemed like the pass went off his hands, but no hesitation to keep going back to him. How confident are you with Kendrick to bounce back from that kind of stuff and when the game is in an important situation that he is going to make the play?
MJ: KB [Kendrick Bourne] is one of my closest friends, and I know that he is going to run as hard as he can on every play and fight for the ball, and our receivers have been doing that very well. That one I threw too high, and the rain was — that’s going to happen. It was a bad throw. Yeah, he kept fighting, and I know that about KB. We’ve kind of been in these situations far too often where we’re behind, and I know that’s my go-to guy and the other guys, too, they were all open at some point in the game, and we just have to hit them, and sometimes we did, and the line gave us great time all night, so that was never an issue.
Q: Mac, what was your reaction to watching Jabrill [Peppers] lay that hit on Jalen [Hurts] and getting the ball back for you guys, another chance to go?
MJ: That was a great play. Pep [Jabrill Peppers], he is the man. He told me to go win it, and we couldn’t, and that hurts me. They gave me back the ball to win it multiple times, and Pep always brings that energy to practice, and it feeds through the team. He is going to continue to make those plays, and we talked in the locker room, and I feel like we’re on the same page. Just got to do better on my part, you know. When the defense holds the best offense to that few points and gets the ball back, just got to be better.
Q: Mac, the old saying in the NFL, “you have to learn how not to lose,” you guys played well on offense today, but there were just a couple of mistakes kind of sprinkled throughout the game. Is it getting frustrating kind of learning these lessons in losses, I guess?
MJ: Not really. I think — I mean, it’s hard; right? You are trying to win every game, but you have to learn. If you don’t learn, you’ll never end up winning. I do think that losing is not fun. Never has been. Never will be. But just trying to move forward. If we score a few more points on offense, that would be a different story. So we’re not far off, it’s just trying to just do better.
Q: Mac, it seemed like the offense started gaining momentum when you were using bunch and stack formations to create some miscommunication. Why was that something you thought would be an advantage heading into this matchup?
MJ: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think really with the defense and all the coverages that they play, it felt like we needed to do that and spread out the formations and also bring them in tight. I’m not really picky about it, I just want the play to come in fast, which it did, and then get up there and execute. I felt like our tempo was good. When we use the tempo plays, you have to make the tempo plays work or else there’s no point in running the tempo plays. We had a few out of bunch. We had a few out of stacks and stuff like that. But, yeah, that’s a really good question.
Q: Can you speak to what you have seen from Hunter Henry and what your relationship is like with him?
MJ: Yeah, Hunter is awesome. Him, Mike [Gesicki], Pharaoh [Brown], everybody, Matt Sokol. They have a great room over there. Really proud of those guys and the way they had a good camp and carried it over to the game. He is definitely a great teammate, just always positive, and I’m just disappointed that I let him down. We couldn’t score there at the end. We’re going to keep working. Hunter is real positive. Mike is real positive. They’ve played a lot of football in this league, and I can definitely lean on them as some of the veteran leaders.
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