PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK MAC JONES
October 11, 2023
Q: We've heard a lot from both Bill Belichick and Bill O'Brien the last couple of days about starting over. When you hear something like that, what does that mean for you when it comes to your job department?
MJ: Yeah, the fundamentals are really important to me. The footwork, I know we've talked a lot about. Footwork, where are my eyes? All that stuff. Then, obviously, also just having fun, too. That's what I think of, when I'm at my best I'm having fun, enjoying everybody. That's one of the good things that I can do, is communicate, and I need to do a better job of that. We're out there playing a game that we love. Right now, it's not looking too good, but we've got to flip the switch, right? And start over and figure out ways to go out there and have fun, sling the ball around and guys go make plays and then celebrate with each other, too. We work so hard. It's been such a theme that we haven't really scored a lot of points but when we do, we've got to go out there and celebrate and enjoy it.
Q: Both your head coach and offensive coordinator have reaffirmed their faith in you as this team's starting quarterback. What does that mean to you and how do you take that going forward?
MJ: Yeah, I appreciate that. I think a lot of that is really good and a lot of things that I need to improve on as a quarterback. So, that's what I think of. What can I do better? You know, what are the actual issues? Instead of just throwing stuff up in the air, let's look at the tape, you know, like the plays in the game, 11-on-11 and really see what's going on. That's the important part to me because you can always try to problem solve that way. But, when you are kind of just chasing different things and narratives and things like that, it's hard, right? But, when you sit in the room together and look at the tape, there's a lot of things that you can be like 'okay, I'm going to do this or I'm going to try to do this drop on this play or read it this way,' or whatever. So, it's all about trial and error. At the same time, you want it to be really good on game days. That's where I've been disappointed with myself, because it hasn't been great on game day. So, why hasn't it been? That's something I'm focused on.
Q: You mentioned some of the issues, and I know you're primarily focused on the Raiders this week, but 2021, you had a very solid statistical season as a rookie, and then there's been some issues ever since then. What do you point at as the cause for some of those issues since 2021?
MJ: Yeah, I try not to look back and look back that far. But, at the same time, I really look at the positive things. What have I done well as a quarterback, in college, here, or whatever? I haven't been consistent enough, so really focus on the positives. Alright, I get the ball out on time, when my feet and my eyes are in the right spot, usually it's pretty good. So, that's something that I'm trying to focus on, and like I just talked about, my ability to communicate with the younger guys on the team. I'm not necessarily a younger guy anymore, it's my third year, and I've got to start playing like that and communicating like that. So, that's important to me, whether it's route depths or 'Hey, Pop [Demario Douglas], this is what I want you to do here', or whatever. It's all about communication and taking it both ways, from coaches to the players, players to the coaches, and that's something that I am going to focus on this week – I already have – and that's one of the things that I've done really well in the past.
Q: Bill [Belichick] and all of your teammates have all commented about how mentally tough you are. How do you go about overcoming any feelings of self-doubt?
MJ: Yeah, that's definitely a real thing, right, when you're not playing too well. But, at the same time, like I said, there's a lot of things I can do really well, and one of those things is my ability to communicate and be myself. I haven't done that here at times, and I just need to be consistent with that and be Mac. A lot of the guys I have a great relationship with, and they're some of my closest friends, not only on the field, but off the field, so let's carry that into the games. I feel like we do it in practice. Obviously, you guys saw that in training camp, we were out there having fun, and then the game comes around, and I don't know what it is. I want to go out there and have fun and do our jobs and celebrate with each other, when somebody gets knocked down, pick them back up and all that stuff. So, trying to change the narrative there and really just play football together.
Q: Has it been frustrating, from the sense of a guy that whenever you face adversity, you just roll up your sleeves and work harder – has it been frustrating when it seems like you're putting in the extra work and the results just aren't there?
MJ: Yeah, that's what I always think about, is why aren't they there? Keep grinding away. It might take a little bit of time, but keep grinding. It may not happen the next day, or whatever. You work really hard. You guys work really hard at your jobs, and it might take a year or so to get where you want to be. That's something that's hard, right? I really want it to be good right now, so just continuing on the process is my biggest thing. Like I talked about earlier, communicating with the guys, whoever is in there, however I can help win and have good plays on the field, I'm going to try and do.
Q: How do you avoid getting too tight or playing too tight trying to avoid turnovers?
MJ: Yeah, I think just playing free and kind of going through – I call it my pre-snap checklist. I try to do that every play and just stay consistent with that, and once the ball is snapped, you've just got to go out there and play. When I've done that, it's been a lot better than when I haven't. So, definitely want to focus on that. And, I've talked about doing my job a lot, and what's my read, and all that stuff, and that's really good, but at the same time, you have to play free. You can't be locked in on one guy or whatnot, whatever the situation is. It takes all 11 guys, and that's something that I need to improve on for sure.
Q: It's been an odd couple of weeks, right, pulled in back-to-back games. It's hard to imagine getting pulled in a third game and still maintaining your role as the quarterback of the team. Is there more pressure on you this week knowing, this is what the last two weeks have looked like, and if it goes that way again?
MJ: I always talk about how, really, each week is a new week, and I know it's tough to say that when they kind of looked very similar, but it is. It's a new week, and we didn't play our best. I didn't play my best in the last game, and we've moved on. Now, it's alright, we've got a really good opponent in the Raiders, and I'm going to focus on – like I talked about – communicating with the guys, having fun, and then doing my part as the quarterback and communicating on the sidelines and all that stuff. So, that will really help. I know it will. It's been proven to do that, and I think that's what I'll focus on and not really focus on the results. The results will come. You've got to stick with the process and the communication.
Q: Speaking about energy and joy, you seem to be speaking with more energy and joy in the last 5, 10 minutes. Where has that come from in the last 48 hours or so?
MJ: Really just thinking about a lot of things and talking with the guys in the locker room, or guys like Hunter [Henry], or whoever, guys who have played a lot of football in this league. One of the best things that I do is my ability to communicate, so somebody told me that in the locker room, and I really took that to heart. So, that's really good information for me, and that's who I am. I need to do a better job of that, and I haven't done that here the past couple years.
Q: You mentioned Hunter, and he's someone who has come up here every week and just talked about he's always going to be riding with you, and all that. What's it like to have his support throughout this?
MJ: Hunter, Hunt-dog, that's my guy. He's awesome. Like I said, he's played a lot of football. He's one of my closest friends off the field. I want to get him the ball as much as I can and let him make plays, and same with all the other guys. So, I really appreciate that, and I've got to do my part and make sure that I can put him in a position to make the plays.
Q: Mac, obviously you'll see Jakobi [Meyers] again this weekend. How important was he to you during his time here and were you disappointed when you found out he wouldn't be re-signing here?
MJ: Yeah, Jakobi is awesome. I just remember when I first came in, everyone talking about him and finally got a chance to work with him and he was great. He did a lot of things really well. He still keeps in contact with me and all that stuff. I definitely have a lot of love for him, and he's the man. A great guy off the field, but really just looking forward to seeing him play. He's done a great job on film.