QUARTERBACK MAC JONES
Wednesday, December 28, 2022
Q: How was Christmas?
MJ: Good. It was good. How about yours?
Q: It was good.
Q: Mac, how do you look at another opportunity, a big opportunity coming up on Sunday for you guys with the way things have worked?
MJ: Yeah, I think that's the word, is opportunity. We have a great chance to kind of go out there and compete against a team that we're familiar with, but also a team that has played really well this year and has great players on offense, defense, special teams, great coaching. From top to bottom it's just a really good team that we're going to get to go against. So definitely starts with us just cleaning up things at practice, attacking each day and realizing what type of opportunity we have in front of us. You've got to understand what's at risk, what we want to get to and you just have to play your heart out, play for each other and go against a really good team.
Q: How closely did you watch that game on Christmas, the Dolphins game, knowing it might have implications for your season?
MJ: I kind of just enjoyed my Christmas. Obviously, watched it on film. It was a really close game there up until the end. It was a really good football game from top to bottom.
Q: I asked Matt Slater yesterday, so I kind of wanted to give you the chance to speak on it too. With the fine with the Eli Apple hit and then the Brian Burns thing last year, there's sort of a narrative about you being potentially a dirty player going around. What do you think about that? Do you look too much into that? Or is it just kind of noise outside? How do you react to that?
MJ: I think obviously that's a big part of it, is everybody has an opinion and the biggest thing for me is focusing on being the best teammate I can be and earning the respect of the people in this building and the people I care about. Obviously, I have respect for everybody around the league. It takes a lot to get to this league. There's really good players out there, and we're all playing hard and trying to win. At the end of the day, you have to keep that in mind. It's a game and you want to just have fun, enjoy it and compete against each other. That's something that I've always done and I know my teammates appreciate that about me. So excited about the opportunity this week. Obviously, a great team we get to go against. Another opportunity, you don't know how many more you're going to get with this group of guys. That's what it's all about, is the players in our locker room and on our team. Excited, great day of practice today and obviously need to build on it and stack up these days.
Q: Do you plan to appeal the fine?
MJ: Really just focused on this week and let everybody else handle that stuff for me. I'm focused on this week and doing my job. That's the important part, is every week you look at the game film of the game you just played and then you try to find out what you can do better. I'm kind of in that process right now of what can I do better and how can I execute my job better.
Q: I think I've asked you this before this year, but do you feel like maybe in the second half of the game the other day that you guys unlocked some things offensively and built some confidence that has sort of seemed to ebb and flow this year?
MJ: I think it's just a good example of not quitting, playing for each other and just trying to do everything right. When we do things right, it's really good and when we don't, it's not so good. Just having that mindset of, 'hey, let's go out there and have fun and compete.' We've got nothing to lose, so just go out there and let it rip and play the game we love. That's what it's about. Doing that from the start to the finish, not just one quarter, like we've done it some games for a quarter. We've done it in some games for two, three quarters and some games for four. So it's like, how can we just do it consistently, all the time. That's the important part, is doing it all the time.
Q: As somebody who's said he likes to aim for perfect, I think you've said that before. That's got to be somewhat frustrating for you, right? To have these moments but we can't consistently do it.
MJ: Yeah, I think at this point, we're in a good spot here. We have a great opportunity this week to compete in a really big-time game. This is the type of game everybody wants to play in where both teams have a lot at stake. We've got to give it everything we've got. Everything that happened in the past is just a learning experience. Then everything that's happening now is the present and that's what you have to focus on. We're focused on the present and what we can do better and how can we just put together the best game plan and execution of that game plan for this weekend.
Q: I wanted to ask you about timing in the passing game. Sometimes it seems like maybe you're holding the ball kind of waiting for the routes to develop a little bit longer than maybe you'd like. Do you feel like that's something that you guys have been working on and just overall anticipating guys being in the right spot so you can get the ball out a little bit quicker?
MJ: Yeah, I think we've made some progress there. It's important. Every passing game has some element of that timing, spacing, rhythm. We need to do that. We've gotten better. It's all about communication. So, need to have that this week, obviously, with this big game coming up. That comes from practice, watching film together and alright, 'hey I want you to try it this way.' In practice it's always good to try it and if it doesn't work then we adjust it. So that's the best part about practice. Then when game time comes it's got to be just in rhythm. The spacing needs to be good. That's how really good offenses work.
Q: When you're focused on the Dolphins defense, how much do you feel for your counterpart, Tua [Tagovailoa] and what he's going through?
MJ: Yeah, I love Tua. I think he's just a great dude. I was fortunate to learn from him and be his friend, obviously, at Alabama. Obviously, had kind of a tough year here with the injury stuff but also has had a great year. Has played really well in almost every game. So, tough to hear that news. I have all the respect for him, his family, his brother, everybody. It's a great family. I hope he feels better.
Q: What changes if anything for you in must-win games like Sunday? Over you're career, you've been faced with them.
MJ: I think I've been fortunate to play in some big games. I know a lot of guys on our team have too, obviously the older guys. That's always the best thing to do, is talk to them about what to do and how do you prepare differently, is there anything different. A lot of them say the same thing, it's another game. You've got to go out there and play the game just like you're a five year old kid. Regardless of the stakes at hand or anything like that, it all comes down to execution of the plays. That's true. I think when you can stack up a bunch of really good plays and then you look up and focus on what the actual plays are and not the results then a lot of times good things happen. It's really about focusing on the process and doing everything you can throughout the week to just continue to do your normal routine.
Q: I remember talking to you, I think it was during training camp, talking about just going through plays and running plays, just the way they were called, and having freedom at the line of scrimmage or how much or how little you had to be able to change things at that point. How has that changed now that we're towards the end of the season for you? Do you feel like you have the freedom you need at the line of scrimmage to change plays?
MJ: I think every week is different, right? You're doing different things to attack a defense. For me, it's just making sure that we get everything communicated top-to-bottom and talked about before it happens. Honestly, I like changing plays. I think it's good. It helps everybody. But I also want to run the plays that are called because when you know what we're trying to get and you get the look then you've got to nail it. So that's always fun. It's all part of the game as a quarterback, you need to manage the game and also run the plays as they are. So, there's a fine balance between the two.
Q: What do you notice from game-to-game and week-to-week about the way this field plays?
MJ: Yeah, I think it's pretty consistent. Having been here for two years, I think I've had some good opportunities to throw in it, watch them kick and ask for their advice too with the kickers. I think Nick [Folk] has great experience with that. He has a bunch of secret tools that he has. He does a great job with it. Really, it's about not overthinking it and just going out there and playing it. Like a golfer, just play the wind.
Q: Has it been more variation this year than last year with the construction?
MJ: Not really. I think just every day is different in some way, whether it's a lot of wind or not a lot. But the pattern's generally the same. It just depends on the day. But generally, it's the same. That's why you always want to get out there for warmups, go with the guys and do all that stuff.