QUARTERBACK MAC JONES
July 27, 2022
Q: What was day one like for you? How nice is it to get out here?
MJ: It's good. The weather was really nice. We got to come up here as an offense, defense got a little special teams. But just putting it together. Day ones are day ones. You just want to get around, get moving, compete a little bit but it's more about just getting in the right spot and setting the tempo.
Q: Bill [Belichick] talked about dramatic improvement you made from year one into year two what do you think your improvement is and what helped you this offseason?
MJ: I think just evaluating what I wanted to get better at whether that be footwork, where the ball location is on certain throws, just trying to learn how to hit every throw in different ways and then obviously, you have to apply that during the season. The offseason is great, but you want to take what you learn and apply it and being able to use it in games, is the reason you do it. It's the reason you work hard. I know a lot of guys on our team have worked really hard and just seeing that, us growing together is going to be good, but we have a long way to go and today is just the start.
Q: What does this second year feel like?
MJ: It feels good. It's another year playing football. There's guys on our team that have played for 15 years, there's guys that are rookies, so I'm not a rookie anymore. I just have to go out there and kind of do what I've always done in fall camp and just compete and compete against myself, get the guys around me better. It's year two but at the same time it's still football and that's the important part to realize. We're all in this together. How old you are doesn't really matter. You're here in this together and that's the whole point.
Q: Does the game feel slower?
MJ: We've had one practice, but I think that will come along during the games. You just get out there and compete. You learn so much your rookie year, you absorb it in the offseason, study and figure out what you want to do to get better. I kind of feel like I did that but it's going to happen in game experience. You see it, you try to see what you saw and confirm it and then react. That's the whole point, whether you're a rookie, a second-year guy or 10-year guy, it doesn't really matter.
Q: How is it coming in this year compared to last year when you didn't know anything about the NFL?
MJ: I think the NFL is a total business and it's all about having that championship mindset and coming to work every day. Whether you're, like I said, a young guy, old guy, everyone's in here competing whether that's against each other, the other team or against yourself. That's what I've learned, it's a job. People come and show up and put on for themselves and put on for their families and that's what it is.
Q: How much more confident do you feel entering into your sophomore season?
MJ: I think it all comes down to building the relationship with the guys and we have great team comradery. I think that will grow as time goes along. It's a lot of our second year in the Patriots system whether that was the new guys from last year, rookies or the guys that we brought in, so I think there's a lot of growth that has to be done and we are here to do it together. That's the important part, regardless of your age. Go out there, compete together, have fun and play football, it's the game that we love.
Q: Was that the most fun you've had at a practice in a while?
MJ: Yeah, I think just competing is fun in general. You have to be able to do that every day. Everyone has juice on the first day of practice but it's the consistency of doing it every day and that's going to be a challenge for all of us to come out here when it's 100 degrees or so or whatever it may be, and we've got to come out here and compete and compete against other teams eventually but right now it's compete against ourselves and one another and get each other better. It doesn't have to be a different colored jersey on the other side to get better, to work on your technique and things like that.
Q: How much collaboration will you have with Matt Patricia in coordinating the offense?
MJ: I think obviously Coach Belichick's done a great job kind of explaining exactly what we want to do as an offense, and Matty P has seen so many different defenses along with Coach Belichick, so it's like they combine their knowledge of how to attack the defense. That's something that's really stood out to me. They're great guys who, and Coach [Joe] Judge, they all bring this different energy to the room when they're presenting. So, they all are trying to get us to work together and that's the most important part, is we're all on the same page regardless of who's talking, who's making the decision on a play or what not and it's always an open conversation which I love.
Q: Do you feel ownership?
MJ: At the end of the day, the players play and the coaches coach. You want to listen to the good coaching that you can get from three coaches who have all been head coaches. So, they've seen a ton, a ton of football and that's what I'm just trying to take in, is what is something that each one of them said in a meeting that I can take with me, whether that's about life or football and then apply it to the game. Like I said, they all bring a different perspective, but I feel like they're listening to the players, 'hey we kind of like this concept, alright let's try it,' or if they want to put in something else, they explain the why. That's the important part for me is understanding why we're doing something and from there, as a player, my job is go execute the plays.
Q: How is it to hear so many different voices when it comes to play calling?
MJ: I think plays are plays regardless of who's telling you what the play is. You just listen for the formation, you know all that stuff in the play and then you execute the play. There is a rhythm to it and they all have good rhythm in their meetings and talking through the plays, 'alright you start here, we go here,' you know type thing. So everyone, we're in there having an open conversation which is important. At the end of the day, we take the coaching they're giving us whether that's fundamentals or scheme or reads and we apply it out here. So that's what we have to do more consistently.
Q: How different was the vision Coach Belichick laid out for this is how we want to play from what you understand last year with Josh [McDaniels]?
MJ: I think at the end of the day, Patriot offense is Patriot offense and we're trying to hold on to the ball in a way that we're not turning the ball over, that's the number one thing. But we want to be able to move the ball downfield in any way we want to, short, medium or long passes. It can be catch after run, it can be in the running game. So explosive plays and play within ourselves and use our strengths. I think it's all about the guys in the room and using those guys and using their strengths and me just distributing the ball to different people, which is what I've been good at and I need to continue to grow with, it's just getting it to the right guy, the guy that's most open and let him get the yak and make the play or make the deep play or the gadget play. There's elements to every offense and I think there's a very clear layout this year.
Q: Matthew Slater and Devin McCourty said yesterday they want you to be more you, how do you interpret that? What is you?
MJ: Me. I don't know. I think just be myself like you said. Everyone brings their own personality to the table and for me, I always think football is fun and always will be but it's all about competing and winning is the most important thing. Wining is fun. We learned last year what winning felt like but we also learned what losing felt like. So we want to be able to combine, you know, having fun during practice but also competing, putting good plays together and everyone brings a different piece to the table. From there, we just put it together and then when the games come, they come but we just take it day-by-day and just be yourself.
Q: What were you able to do this offseason now that you didn't have any of the rookie responsibilities?
MJ: I think it's good to always take some time off. But at the end of the day, we're always working, always trying to get better, whether you're on vacation or not or whatever you want to call it. You're trying to fix the things you wish you could've done better the year before. I've always tried to do that, as a little kid in Pop Warner, 'what did I do bad last year that I can do better? Alright let's work on it in the offseason,' so it's that simple. You obviously, you have a life but at the end of the day my life is football and a lot of guys on our team, our lives are football. We're constantly thinking about football, thinking about the next year and what we have in store. It's sometimes hard to look forward and look ahead too much but you want just be where your feet are and focus on those days to get stronger, get faster, all that stuff.
Q: We talked to Trent [Brown] and Kendrick [Bourne] a couple of minutes ago and they both said that the changes to the offense they think will let you guys play faster, do you get that same sense?
MJ: Yeah, I mean we have a long way to go but I think we are doing a lot of good things schematically to get up there and snap the ball a lot quicker. We have really good skill players that get lined up to make those plays and obviously a great offensive line. It all goes down to distributing the ball whether that's handing it off to the running back, throwing a swing to the right, throwing a deep ball, it doesn't really matter what I'm doing if we can do it quickly, it puts stress on the defense. It makes everything harder. We've got a long way to go there. It's day one, we got to do for eight months so we got to continue that but I think the idea in what we're trying to get to is there.