Mac Jones hasn't quite gotten a chance to catch his breath since his whirlwind 2021 began by winning a national championship with Alabama and now finds him headed to a late-season bye week as the New England Patriots' starting quarterback, but he isn't complaining.
After being selected 15th overall, Jones won the job by starting strong and quickly improving with each training camp practice and has barely had a day off since. Now, the Patriots are 9-4 and hold the top spot in the AFC, and despite the weekend off, Jones was focused on the finish.
"Just getting ready for our next game and evaluating the past but not looking too much into it and not worrying about the future and just being where our feet are," said Jones on Wednesday before the team takes a well-deserved four days off. "The older guys I think have a great message, it's just don't let anything in the bye week that will ruin something in the future. Just go get your rest, enjoy your family and stay safe. I think that's what we're gonna do."
While Jones said he's spend some time on self-evaluation, he was more focused on consistency, as he's carried with him since arriving in Foxborough.
"I think it's been awesome," said Jones of his 2021 thus far. "There's been ups and downs along the whole deal and it's very fast-paced, it's just being consistent is the most important part. Everyone's going through it. It's not just me. We have other rookies and we have other guys who are older, whatever their situation may be, where they know how to grind it out. I'm just trying to do the same thing because I enjoy it and it is fun to come in every day. Sometimes you have good days and bad days, but you've just got to keep pushing towards the final goal."
Now, the Patriots offense must set their sights on the final four-game stretch of the season. A big part will be continuing the improved ball security of late, with them committing just two turnovers in the last four games after starting the season off with 14 in the first nine games.
Jones has been a big part of it with just two interceptions in the last seven games.
"I think just playing within the offense," said Mac of what's made the difference. "Understanding how to win games and what teams do badly and exposing that. I've learned, obviously been taught my whole football life that when you don't turn the ball over good things happen. The more you can do that, the more you can play within your offense's scheme, the better."
One spot to improve is in the red zone, where the Pats hover at 26th, scoring touchdowns at a 54.35 percent clip once they get inside the 20-yard-line.
"It just comes down to execution and a mindset, 'Hey we're going to score here,' instead of kicking field goals and we can do a better job of that, obviously," said Jones, calling a plus-70 percent rate the goal. "You want to put up six points instead of three, but if we can get three then that's also good, maybe better than turning the ball over."