PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK MAC JONES
November 22, 2023
Q: What, if anything, has Bill [Belichick] shared with you about who is going to be starting at quarterback on Sunday?
MJ: We've had good conversations, and really what I've been focusing on is what I can control. Put a lot of thought into that, the things that I can control throughout the year, in the past and in the future, and right now that's today. Really focused on having good walkthroughs, which we did, and then have a good practice. So, that's what I can do, control what I can control.
Q: What did the bye week do for you, being able to wind down and get away but also just think about the way things have gone?
MJ: Yeah, for sure. Like I said, I spend a lot of time thinking about and focusing on things that I can control. That's important in this league. There's a lot of things that pop up, but at the end of the day, I can control my attitude and my effort, which I have great effort every day. I come in and work hard, and that's all you can ask for, really. Like I talked about, have a good day-to-day and carry that into the weekend.
Q: The last time we talked to you, you were coming out of the X-ray room and mentioned it was a bruise and all that. Physically, I'm curious how you feel?
MJ: Good. I feel good. Obviously, when you play half a season, there's going to be some bumps and bruises, but overall, I feel pretty good. Definitely working through some things, but everyone is, right? We have a great training staff here that does a great job of getting us ready for the game so I really appreciate those guys.
Q: Are you limited in any way?
MJ: Like I said, not really. I have things that I'm working through, everybody does. You're playing NFL games every week. Every week's a car crash in its own way, so you're trying to get back from that. I do think the bye week, like you talked about, definitely helped get the body back, and I'm looking forward to finishing this thing strong.
Q: Are you starting Sunday?
MJ: Hope so. I mean, that's the plan. I think I always work really hard for that, really put a lot of attention and detail into the week, like I talked about. A lot of that decision making is things I can't control, but I can control my attitude and my effort like I talked about, and I'm really thankful overall to be in the NFL and be playing quarterback on Thanksgiving. It's a great week to be grateful for a lot of things, and to play this game, the game that we love, together, I think that means a lot to me regardless of the situation.
Q: You've been involved in a lot of quarterback competitions over the course of your career, here, going back to Alabama. Can you draw on any of those experiences when it comes to your current situation?
MJ: Absolutely. I've dealt with this my whole life, whether it was Pop Warner, high school, college. I was part of – I wasn't really in it – but I was with Jalen [Hurts] and Tua [Tagovailoa]. I witnessed everything. I heard every conversation, watched everything, watched every move between each guy. So, I learned a lot about both of them and learned a lot about myself, too. Just trying to learn from their situation, and talking with Jalen and Tua and having those friendships is always good.
Q: You said you think that's the plan for starting Sunday. Is that your plan or what you think the team's plan is?
MJ: We'll see, right? We've had those conversations, and like I talked about, just focusing on the controllables and being where my feet are is very important. At the end of the day, like I said, I'm thankful to be here and to be the quarterback, and I'm going to continue to work hard and put in the hours every day – that's all you can do – and see where we're at.
Q: Bill O'Brien said that you and Bailey [Zappe] and even Will Grier all got first-team reps at last week's practice. Has that been different sharing first-team reps with other quarterbacks?
MJ: Not too bad. I think everyone has to get a chance to get their reps, and we've been splitting them for a little bit of time here. So, just trying to take advantage of my reps when I go in there, and when I don't get the reps, just go off to the side and throw with the receivers or with an equipment manager and make sure I get all the throws that I need.
Q: Would it be unfair to the quarterbacks if you didn't know who was going to start right up until Sunday?
MJ: I've seen it all, so I'm not really worried about that. Like I said, I'm going to control what I can control, and my attitude and my effort every day is going to be very important, and attention to detail and preparation and feeling confident, regardless. At the end of the day, I've seen a lot of different things play out and a lot of different competitions and all that stuff. I've learned a lot from different people and my main point is that you can only control what you can control.
Q: Is there anything different that you did this week to try to earn that starting role that you maybe haven't done the past few weeks?
MJ: Not really, just being me. Just focused on – I know I'm saying it over and over – but focused on bringing the juice to practice and really just executing my job and trying to figure out what I can do better and learning from the things that I haven't done well. It's all a learning experience, and I know it'll work out in the end.
Q: Mac, even in a game like Germany, you had a lot of good drives and just couldn't finish. Do you almost feel like – kind of a baseball analogy – you just need a break to get yourself going?
MJ: Yeah, sports have a lot of ebbs and flows. Sometimes it doesn't go your way. I think the important part is why, figuring out why things maybe went well or why they didn't go well. That's very important. I feel like we moved the ball, but I could definitely improve my execution consistently, and that comes from doing all the little things right throughout your day. From the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. Just do everything right and that will carry over to the games.
Q: Where would you say your confidence level is right now?
MJ: It's good. I think, like I always talk about, when you're a competitor, there's things you're going to bump into but you just have to keep going. I know I'm going to keep going. Like I said, it will all work out. It always has. As long as you keep working and fighting through the vines, right? You've got to keep pushing and keep making it work. It might not happen today or tomorrow, but you're got to make it work. Just through you're work ethic and all those things.
Q: Mac, you guys are sharing reps. How does that put you in the best position to succeed on gameday if you do end up starting?
MJ: Like I said, I think you take advantage of the reps you've had, right? The ones that you don't get, you just make sure you hit on the side or things like that. So, at the end of the day, I've played a good amount of snaps in the NFL, I feel confident that I can go out there, feel prepared based on my preparation, film study and all those things. Which this defense that we're about to play presents a lot of issues. They blitz a lot. Obviously, their coach is a very good coach. They're not afraid to bring the house. The quarterback has to be really in key with how to do protections, you're reads and everything. It takes a lot of experience in this league. Whether you've failed at that or didn't fail, but it takes experience. So, I'm looking forward to that.
Q: Mac, what do you have to do to be a successful quarterback?
MJ: Really, just do my part and it's very simple, you hand it off if it's a run play and get into the right play if it's a run play that's not good, get into the right play. As a quarterback passing, throw it to the open guy. Keep it simple, right? I always read about people keeping it simple in hard times and that's very important. To just boil it down to 'this is what I'm supposed to do', that's really what it comes down to.
Q: Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving dish?
MJ: I'm not super picky, but I like the sweet potato casserole with the marshmallows.
Q: Do you have any Thanksgiving memories from high school or just anything playing ball?
MJ: Yeah. One of my favorites of Thanksgiving, is we'd always practice in high school on Thanksgiving and our coach, – he passed away – but he was a very successful coach, we'd always dress him up in neon. So, we gave him an outfit for the day, so he'd wear neon from head to toe and then he'd go out there and coach. It was just funny because he never wore anything besides the same outfit everyday and then after practice, we'd go off the field and then the families and fans and classmates were all there giving us like candy or whatever and just supporting us. Then usually that Friday we'd play our big rival in Raines. They were a really good team, and it was always like that each year. So, that was definitely some of my favorite memories.
Q: Do you think Coach Belichick would go for the neon?
MJ: Probably not.