PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK MAC JONES
October 18, 2023
Q: Mac, you have no touchdowns and five interceptions over the last three games, I know you mentioned you were still confident but is it difficult to maintain that confidence when you haven't been getting the results that you want?
MJ: Yeah, those are the results. What I try to focus on is the process. When you think about trying to make plays you usually don't, and I think that's important. I think you have to operate within the system, within yourself as a quarterback and those things will come when you do the process right, but if you're not doing the process right then you won't get the result.
Q: Mike Gesicki was saying yesterday that he was encouraged in what you guys were able to do in that second half. How nice is it to see that on film and use that as kind of a building block going forward?
MJ: Yeah, every game is a new game and definitely want to build on some of things we've done and learn from some of the things we haven't done very well. That's all you can do. I definitely feel like we need to take that positive energy and carry it through and keep fighting, keep working together and talking and communicating. I feel like we communicated well during the game. We've communicated well these past couple of days in meetings. So, that needs to keep going.
Q: In this Bills defense, how much do they sort of make you drive the ball because they really protect against the big play, is that sort of their trademark or not necessarily?
MJ: Yeah, I mean they do a great job up front creating turnovers and sacks and all that stuff. A very sound defense. I've obviously played against them a lot, but they're very good. They work well together. They've played a lot of football together. Definitely one of the most sound defenses in the NFL, for sure. They create great turnovers. Obviously, they do it all of the time, so you see it all over tape. Up front is really where it starts. Definitely an impressive defense.
Q: You've seen a lot of good pass rushes. Bill [Belichick] called their pass rush the best in the league, do you agree?
MJ: Yeah, I do. They have great players at each spot. In some teams, there might be a really good edge rusher or a really good inside person. But they've got everybody. So, definitely a good group and going to be a big challenge for the offensive line. Obviously, just operating within the system of our offense.
Q: How difficult has it been dealing with all the changes on the offensive line?
MJ: I try to not focus on that. I think what I try to do is just instill confidence in each guy and let them know that I trust them. Whether they are young rookies or older players that are hopping in there. I feel like it is hard when there's a lot of different guys up there with injuries and things. At the end of the day we've got to find ways to make it work. Whether that's getting the ball out on time, taking a couple deep shots or moving the pocket. Whatever we have to do to help them, but they are doing a good job. Overall, I feel like the group has really come together really well and David's [Andrews] has done a good job holding everybody together and making sure that they're learning and James Ferentz, too. Just helping them out and showing them what they see on film.
Q: The changes, has it limited how much you can do offensively?
MJ: Yeah, I'd say, like we talked about, the injuries are tough, right? So, sometimes, each game, you go in and you have a plan, and maybe something changes during the game because of something you see. So, I don't think it's necessarily that. It's just, every game is different, and sometimes you're going to have a plan and you're going to stick with it and sometimes maybe they do something and change it a little bit. So, there's two types of game plans.
Q: Going through a stretch like this, how difficult can it be to, as Coach Belichick has used the phrase in the past 'ignore the noise'? I don't imagine you're a big Twitter guy or social media guy.
MJ: Yeah, I don't really do that stuff, and I just try to focus on the guys in the locker room. Because, like I say, they're my friends. They're my teammates, and as long as we're together, then we should all be together. I feel like that's what's happening, and that's important. To work through tough times shows a lot about people's character and who they are, and I feel like we have the right group to do it. So, I definitely want to face the challenge, look at it in the eyes and attack it.
Q: It sounds like he's doing better now, but was it scary for you to see what happened to Damien [Harris] the other night as a former teammate?
MJ: Yeah, I did see that. I texted him and it sounds like he's doing good. So, Damien's definitely one of my good friends and he's a great football player and has played a lot of plays in this league and for us as a Patriot, so I have a lot of respect for him and his family and everybody.
Q: It seemed like the quick game was a pretty big part of what sparked the offense in the second half, but how do you balance being able to lean on that without becoming predictable and putting yourself in a position where defenders are putting their hands up or jumping routes?
MJ: For sure, each defense will defend it differently, but like, you said it could be hands up. It could be dropping more guys into coverage or blitzing more. So, it kind of just depends, but that's a part of every offense. I put it in the short, quick-game category, and then there's the medium passes from play action and maybe the deep passes, which can come from play action or drop backs. So, there's kind of different categories and I definitely feel like that's a bucket that we want to continue to grow in, and then also the other things as well. It's the other types of plays, play action and all that stuff too.
Q: With the trade deadline coming up, is there any concern for you about getting traded or about your teammates getting traded?
MJ: I'm not focused on that right now. Honestly, just really focusing on coming together as a team during tough times and seeing how we respond, seeing how I respond. I'm definitely excited for the challenge, looking at it in the eyes and taking it head on.
Q: When there are struggles, how do you balance between sticking with your routine and trying to change things up in order to get a different result?
MJ: Yeah, that's one of the tough challenges in sports, and in life, right? Am I doing something so wrong that we're just missing it, or whatever? A lot of the times, you really do have to trust what you know, trust your routine. That's what really good people do. They just stick with it, maybe adjust something here or there, but at the end of the day, they're going to stick to their routine. Like we've talked about, the results will come if you just focus on what 'you're supposed to do, 99 percent of the time.
Q: So, have you stuck with your routine, or have you tried anything new?
MJ: Yeah, I have. I've stuck with it. I've taken advice from people, and maybe tweaked something here or there, but for the most part, that's what I've done going back to playing when I was little. Just sticking to my routine and adding things that I can add.
Q: Malik [Cunningham] was brought up and served as your backup on Sunday. What have you seen from him over the course of this season and what was it like having him on the sideline on Sunday?
MJ: Malik's a good player, definitely very athletic and can make plays. He's been a great addition in the locker room too, just enjoy having conversations with him, and he keeps it fun and all that. So, really enjoy him and feel like he's done a good job.
Q: We've talked to you a lot about communication. You told us last week, I haven't done that here the past couple of years. You felt like you communicated well with your teammates this week. When you think about communicating with fans about yourself, speaking your truth, truthful eyes and truthful voice to us, how do you think you've done communicating who you are in these press conferences?
MJ: Yeah, that's a good question. I think for me, football is a big part of my life, but I also have other parts of my life, you know? I think I'm definitely sometimes misconstrued, or whatever, but I just try to be Mac. I do have really close friends on the team, and football is my life, and it's very important to me. Standing up here every week, I try to talk with you guys and I have a lot of respect for what you guys do, so hopefully you guys feel the same. Definitely try to keep it about football, right? I'm not going to sit up here and talk about personal stuff. I do feel like I'm a very private person as well, so I don't like to share too many things.