QUARTERBACK MAC JONES
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Q: Did I hear right that your pregame meal is spaghetti and also steak and eggs at the same time?
MJ: Yeah. I think it's just simple and easy.
Q: It seemed like after the game, it was kind of like the happiest we've ever seen you postgame. Is that just kind of what happens to you after a win like that when you guys put up a bunch of points?
MJ: Yeah. Honestly, any win everyone has the right to be happy, and that's why we play the game, so as long as we're scoring more points than the other team, then it's a good day, and it's hard to win, so you just got to enjoy it for a little bit, but at the end of the day, you can't be satisfied, and you have to get right back to work the next day and start a new week, so we've done that, and we've moved on from that game, and we're ready to just have a good week and compete.
Q: What do you think have been your biggest areas of growth from training camp to now as we're kind of at the mid-season mark? Where do you think you've grown the most?
MJ: I think it's just an endless list of stuff just trying to work on. Always try and improve on things that I can get better at, and that's just a daily battle that I have, and it's partly because this is a really complex offense, but that also makes it really good, so I have to just keep learning the nuances and keep listening to Josh [McDaniels] and taking his advice and his coaching really well and listening to Brian [Hoyer] and Jarrett [Stidham] and Garrett [Gilbert]. Just take what they've seen and try to apply it to my game, but yeah. I think there's just, I mean, there's things that pop up physically, mentally within the offense, so it's not just, hey, you didn't bend your knees on this play. It's hey, this is what we're doing this week, and we have to learn it quick and get ready to roll.
Q: How difficult is it to not just learn your offense, but to adapt to what defenses are showing you on a week in, week out basis?
MJ: I think that's something that's good about here is just our defense and how multiple it is, and OTAs, at first, you're kind like, wow, this is pretty complex, and then, you know, you get to go against them for a few months and fall camp and stuff like that and just throughout the summer, and our defense is very multiple, so they give us a lot of different defensive looks, and it's good practice, so we always have to use that to our advantage when things change and we're playing a defense that might have some similarities, or even if it doesn't, it's just good to get those reps against a talented defense.
Q: What's the next step for you guys offensively as you prepare to face the Chargers?
MJ: I think just consistency. We've addressed the issues that we had, and, you know, we still have to work on stuff, and red zone is always important. Third down, and being good on first and second down, so we always want to take care of the ball and just stick to our principles of the offense and kind of what our M.O. is, and that's just not turning the ball over and being productive regardless of the call, so I think there's plenty of improvement to be made, and every week provides a new challenge, and every week the improvements, you know, they can change drastically depending on the defense and stuff like that and what we need to focus on, so it's just a week-to-week grind, and it makes it a lot of fun.
Q: Do you feel like you guys have, at this point in the year, created an offensive identity?
MJ: Yeah. I think the offensive identity has been established throughout the past 20 years here, and we're trying to get there and trying to establish playing to the standard that we have, and, you know, this year it's our team, and we're kind of figuring out our pieces, and we're putting them together, but like I said, you can't just do it for a few games or a game or a few plays. You have to do it every day, every week and on every Sunday, so we know that, and we're not satisfied. We're just trying to continue to work to find our identity and just work from there.
Q: We were talking to Coach [Bill] Belichick this morning and Coach [Josh] McDaniels yesterday, too, just about Chargers' defense and how they disguise so much in the back end and rotate a ton after the snap, and Coach Belichick also mentioned pattern-match coverages as well, and I was just wondering how much of that you have gone up against? I know Coach [Nick] Saban does it quite a bit, so maybe in practice at Alabama?
MJ: Yeah. You've been watching your film, I see. I think there's a lot of stuff that there's crossover, but this defense that we're about to play is very multiple. They do a great job with disguise, and they have great players and a great coaching staff, a really smart coach and smart players, so they know what they want to do on each play, and we just have to try to, you know, focus on us and do our best, and, like I said, we've definitely seen multiple looks from our defense, but this defense is different in its own way, and we just got to be ready to go, and you can't prepare too much. You just kind of have to go in there and just be ready to go for whatever they give you and just go from there.
Q: How confident do you feel in your receiver group and yourself and the chemistry to make those post-snap decisions where you might have to make it a little bit differently than kind of getting the indicator before the snap?
MJ: I think that just goes back to trust, and I trust everybody on our team, and we have to talk this week especially and just make sure we're on the same page, and the offensive line has done a great job giving me time to read it out, and we'll do that this week, and the receivers just have to be decisive and stick to what they've been taught for the past months that they've been here, and some guys years that have been here for a while, so we just are going to stick to our rules and go from there.
Q: How do you stay mentally sharp here in your first season in the NFL? Is there anything specific you do or a process you have just to stay mentally sharp as you embark on this challenge?
MJ: I think just staying consistent and just trying to take it day-by-day and not looking too far ahead or too far behind, and I know that's cliché, but that's just how I've always worked and operated, and yeah. You can't really like overblow it or anything like that. Just kind of take it day-by-day and just focus on what you can control and be where your feet are, so there's a lot that goes into it. It's not just sunshine and rainbows, but at the same time, you have to have fun while you're doing it and just get away when you can from football, but at the same time, football is really fun, especially when we're winning, so we want to just be ready to go when the game comes, and that comes through good preparation.
Q: How much do you find yourself learning from Brian [Hoyer] on a weekly basis and how helpful is it to have someone with that much experience in that room with you?
MJ: I think it's really amazing. Brian's been a really close friend of mine since I've gotten here, and I know he's older than me, and he might be closer in age to his son, Garrett, but he's still a really good mentor, and he just does a great job every week. He's super supportive of me and trying to help me in any way he can, and, you know, he's hard on me sometimes, which is good, so he holds me to a high standard, and then he also has fun and enjoys the game, so he's been around for a long time, and I think all the quarterbacks in our room have done that, and Brian is just a great example of a great team leader and a great team player, and, you know, if he ever needs to get in there, I know he's going to do a great job, so he's always ready, and I'm just happy to be able to learn from him and just be in the same room as him.
Q: The broadcast showed you and Damien [Harris] after J.J.'s [Taylor] final touchdown the other day. What was the vibe like on the sideline during that drive watching Brian [Hoyer] and the rest of the offense go down the field?
MJ: I think it was great. You know, obviously, we've watched the film, and we got to see everything and everyone play well, so we're excited to move on, and they did a great job, and that's what we want to get to every week to where we can just go out there and have fun and try to keep winning.
Q: I think it was after the game the other day where you mentioned the offensive line and how well they played, and you thought you'd only been hit one time. I think maybe it was once or twice. As that group has performed better, how helpful is that in terms of your comfort level behind center? Can you feel your confidence growing and your awareness maybe even growing to a different level?
MJ: Yeah. I think, obviously, really good quarterbacks have good offense alignment, and they do a great job understanding protections, and I think the communication part is the most important just talking with them and making sure we're on the same page, and at the end of the day we have, you know, a really good group, and multiple guys can play at any time, and they've kind of jelled together, and they just got to keep doing that, and I know they will because they work really hard, and they're always together as a unit communicating, whether it's pre-practice or post-practice, and we're all just trying to get on the same page, and we've got to just continue to do that and take it week-by-week, and every week is different, but I have all the trust in the world and those guys, and we'll just try to keep getting better.
Q: We've heard Coach Belichick talk often about kind of waiting for a game to declare itself, like how that game is going to go and what's going to be unique to it, and I'm wondering, you know, even though you're early on in the league, do you ever have a sense, kind of first quarter after a couple of drives, about how a game will go as you've gotten more experienced here?
MJ: I think I get your question. I try to just focus on my job, and how a game will go is just up to the coaches, and they have to make the decisions to, you know, make the right calls, and we just have to execute them, so I try not to play, you know, as a coach. I try to just play as a player and just do what I'm supposed to do, and however the game plays out, I just listen to, you know, what they think and what we're seeing from the defense, and that's all I can focus on, and then, you know, the defense focuses on their communication with their coaches. Special teams, same thing, so try not to look too far ahead and just stay in the moment and focus on what's important now, and whatever that may be, the play call or just getting an issue fixed, so pretty much just staying in the moment.
Q: Can you tell from what the defense is doing a couple drives in what their game plan might be and what they might adjust based off that because of all your preparation? Do you feel any certainty after a couple of drives?
MJ: I think just each week it's different, and it just depends on the situation, and some teams do a lot different than what we thought, and some teams do the same, so you can't ever be a fortune teller, and you just have to go out there and play and stick to your rules, so I don't really have an example. I just try and go out there and do my thing and just have fun and do my job and then support the players around me by getting them the ball and getting it out on time.
Q: You're a kid in Jacksonville, and you're trick-or-treating, and you get up to the door, and the candy that comes that you're like, yes! What is that? What do we got? What's number one on the list?
MJ: That is the most loaded question I've ever got. Honestly, I have no clue. I have too many favorites to, I mean, even go with. Just anything chocolate or like Starburst. Sweet. I do it all, and, I mean, it's whatever they have at the door, you know. You can't complain. You just got to take it, and if you're supposed to take one, kids, only take one. Don't take more than one.