PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK MAC JONES
November 1, 2023
Q: You guys are in last place in the conference. What gives you the confidence that you guys can climb out of the basement?
MJ: Just take it day-by-day, and not worry about the results. It's really hard, but focus on what you can do better as a player. Young guys, old guys, everybody, it's all about striving for getting better and working together and communicating and figuring out how to win by week versus looking at the grand picture. Just look at the week. What do we need to do? How do we practice to do it, and then go out there and have fun and do it on Sunday.
Q: I don't know if you saw, but Josh McDaniels was let go this morning by Las Vegas. I know that you only spent a year with him, but can you comment on the relationship you had with him and kind of what he meant to your career?
MJ: Yeah, I have a lot of respect for Josh and his family. I had a great experience with him and, like you said, we have a good relationship and it's a tough part of the business. Like I said, I have a lot of respect for Josh and his family and what he's done for this place, and all that too. So, definitely, thoughts are with him.
Q: There's a lot on your plate, it seems like, pre-snap in this offense, making checks and things like that. Does that ever become cumbersome, like there's a lot going on mentally before the snap?
MJ: Yeah, I think that's a big part of the offense, and as the quarterback, that's something that you want. That's something that you need to learn how to do quickly. Like you said, some teams are doing some things to slow it down. So, I just need to figure out how to play faster pre-snap, and I think there's different ways to do that schematically and also from a mental standpoint. That's definitely a good point, and I feel like I can improve in that area.
Q: To that point, I noticed an RPO where Zeke [Ezekiel Elliott] looked kind of confused. It was a throw where you kind of went through a few reads.
MJ: Yeah, so the guy wasn't set, so I pulled the ball to throw it, and kind of like, he ran out there. So, sometimes on those plays when you're going fast, people are all over place. Not to get into super details, but that happens on those plays. I should have just handed it off, right? When you look at the tape, you're like 'oh, dang'. At the same time, sometimes when you go fast, people are in the wrong spot or they have 10 guys, or this guy's running across the field to try to cover somebody. So, really for me, just slow down and make sure the play is correct. A good play is better than a fast play, that's what I always say. So, make sure that the play is executed properly versus quickly.
Q: How tough is that balance? Because you're trying to make a play, you're trying to do everything right, like you said, to slow down the place. How difficult is that as you're going through it?
MJ: Yeah, I think it goes back to slotting the plays, which I can do a better job of. Just taking each play one play at a time, every play is different. It might be a run. What do I have to do on this run play? It might be a pass. What do I have to do on this pass play? So, each play is slotted. That's how I always look at it. I feel like I've done a good job of that but can improve in that area. Really, that's one of the things I'm going to focus on this week.
Q: What's the biggest thing you took away from working with Josh, or biggest lesson or something he did to help you the most?
MJ: Like I said, we had a great relationship. He has a great family, and he's a great person and a great football coach. So, I definitely learned a lot from him. Right now, it's hard for me because I'm trying to get ready for a game, right, and just focus on what I can do better. I always take coaching points from all the coaches I've worked with, and you kind of carry those along with you in kind of your workbook in your head. What did coach tell me in high school? What did coach tell me in college? And, with Josh, what did he tell me my rookie year? You kind of take a little bit from each coach and learn.
Q: When it comes to replacing Kendrick Bourne, how difficult is that and who would you like to see step up and who has to step up when it comes to replacing that production?
MJ: Yeah, for sure. I think this week of practice will be really good to see who wants it, who wants to go out there and compete and who wants to pay attention to the details and work to get on the same page, the spacing, the depth, the splits and all that stuff. As a quarterback, that's what I'm going to focus on is helping them understand how important that is for me to have success, and that ultimately gives them success. We're definitely talking through that, and like you said, there's plenty of guys that we have –young guys, guys like JuJu [Smith-Schuster]. There's all sorts of guys, so looking forward to just practicing and ironing out the details.
Q: One of those guys is Tyquan [Thornton], who I know didn't play on Sunday, but as far as his speed, how do you see his presence, if at all, affect defenses knowing that he can get behind you in a hurry?
MJ: I've always enjoyed playing with really fast receivers. That's a quarterback's favorite thing, right? You have guys that can threaten the defense vertically, and the really good ones are the ones who can have multiple routes, as well. So, I think Tyquan definitely has that, and he has the right mindset right now. I'm looking forward to seeing him progress and grow, for sure.
Q: Who do you think is going to take over Kendrick's dancing duties during practice now? Any guesses on who is going to step up for that one?
MJ: I guess you guys are out there, so you can take your votes.
Q: How tough is it losing Kendrick and then what do you see from the group of receivers that you have?
MJ: Like I just talked about, Kendrick's a very good person to have out there in terms of energy and stuff, and also just from a leadership standpoint. Like you said, I think the young guys and old guys have a great chance, a great opportunity for us to work together, go out there and create some explosive plays and see what we can do to kind of get this thing rolling.
Q: You mentioned in practice the details for those receivers will be really important, just the splits and spacing and that sort of thing. Have you seen enough from the other receivers, the guys that you do have, to trust the guys that are available to you right now?
MJ: I have a lot of trust in everybody. Like I talked about, I want to make sure that as the quarterback, they understand how important it is for the timing of each play. Just watching other games and all that stuff, you're always looking at film and trying to figure out what offenses are doing really well. One of the things that I want to improve on is getting the ball out on time, and a lot of that is with the routes and spacing. They know that, and like I'm trying to do, be more consistent, and that's what they're going to try and do too, right? Young guy, old guy, it doesn't really matter, I want people to play free. But, as the quarterback, I also want people to understand what I'm looking at, too, and make sure we're on the same page.
Q: With Pop Douglas, you talked about early in training camp about how you guys had a tight relationship when he first came in. How do you feel like that relationship has helped you guys on the field as you've seen him get more involved?
MJ: That's another guy that we've all talked about a lot and have a lot of respect for him and how he works. For him, just stay consistent and don't listen to any noise, good or bad, and just be Pop, right? Like I always talk about, I know where he comes from. I watched him play football when he was growing up. He was the quickest, fastest guy on the field, and you can tell. I have a lot of respect for him and want to grow with him, for sure.
Q: What is your reaction when you see him pull some of those moves in the games? He's got defenders going the other way.
MJ: It's great. I want to be able to give him the ball as much as I can.
Q: When it comes to the deep passing game, Coach [Bill] O'Brien said you guys tried to dial up some shots against Miami, but some things happened. What are you seeing on the film of how you can kind of make some of those plays downfield?
MJ: Yeah, for sure. Really, for me, it's just keep my eyes up and make sure I'm seeing everything with open vision. That's important as a quarterback, is try to see a lot but not too much, too. Keep my eyes, up, read the play out how it's supposed to be read. For me, watching the film, where are my feet and my eyes at the top of the drop? That's all important stuff for a quarterback, and every quarterback would say the same thing. Where are my feet and my eyes and how is the timing looking?
Q: Have you found it harder to keep your eyes up knowing how many different combinations you've had at the offensive line up front?
MJ: That's kind of what I talked about earlier, just the slotting of the plays. Each play, it might be really good. It has been good on a lot of plays the last couple of games, so I just have to trust that. I have a lot of trust in those guys. Regardless of who's up there, they've done a good job, especially the past couple weeks of just staying solid up there, working together. A lot of the times, like a couple of the plays last weekend, was just me holding onto the ball a little bit too long. I watched the film and see that, or maybe it's something else. You have to look at the film, like I always say, with truthful eyes and see how you can get better.
Q: One of the things we talked about yesterday with Coach O'Brien, ineligible lineman. You guys have had a number of those calls whether they've been enforced or the flags have been picked up. What's the cause from your perspective?
BB: It's just different from college, and they're definitely looking for that nowadays. Sometimes, when you're looking at old film, they kind of get away with it or you're engaged with somebody as a lineman and then you go downfield. There's a little bit of gray area, but for the most part in the NFL, like we talk about, it's pre-snap plays that you have to read out and make a decision and be decisive. At the end of the day, I'm the one with the ball, and I've got to make a decision, and I have to do it quickly and efficiently. That's important to me, ironing out those details of 'hey, what's my read? Where am I looking? Where are my feet? Where are my eyes?' on any play.
Q: Dan Orlovsky recently said that he communicates with you and gives you pointers. What kind of help has he been to you?
MJ: A lot of people text me throughout the week. Sometimes it's hard to get back. I don't talk to everybody. But, I do see some texts from people, and I always take advice, whether it's players or coaches, or whatever. I'm not really focused on that. I kind of focus on 'what are we doing in the building'? That's the important part. What can I do with my coaches to communicate and make sure we're on the same page. I'm always going to take advice. That's what I do. I'm trying to get better. I'm always trying to listen.
Q: Does he make the cut of people you get back to?
MJ: There's a couple kids in my elementary class that probably text me and I don't get back to. It's just one of those things, where people will text you, and we're pretty busy, right? I try to focus on my routine throughout the week and staying present and being in the building. So, it's kind of hard.