PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK MAC JONES
August 16, 2023
Q: How are you doing?
MJ: Good, how are y'all?
Q: How'd it go today?
MJ: Good, I think. It's really fun to get out there and compete against another group. We had a lot to watch and learn. I feel like we do a good job of that, the Patriots, just trying to watch everything, learn from it and not make the same mistakes twice.
Q: It seemed as if the early part of practice, the 11-on-11s, were going really well, then some of the situational stuff — there were penalties, sacks – just didn't look as clean. Is that the way you saw it?
MJ: Yeah, I think you can't judge it until you watch the film, right? But, I definitely think we need to just be more consistent. I know we had a couple situations, just penalties and things like that, we've got to get fixed. We're trying to use the tools that we have: cadence, motions and things like that. We're just trying to use it to our advantage. When you don't, it turns into a disadvantage. So, we definitely want to clean that up. We've got a lot of guys out there having good effort and things like that. It's just the little things. It's not really the big things; it's just the little things.
Q: Bill [Belichick] seemed to get hot during the situational things right after a field goal. What happened?
MJ: Yeah, we scored on the two-minute drive with a field goal, and then we just wanted to try a situation again. We just kind of re-did the situation, I guess. That was fun, I guess, but it was my fault. I think it was just a miscommunication between all of us. It was fine. It was a good learning experience. It's too hard to explain in football terms to the media and stuff, but it was kind of a nuance, because we kind of repeated a situation we just did, you know what I'm saying? That's what we need though, so both teams can get the situation, try and practice it and then do it again to get it right.
Q: In these practices, how much do you enjoy the fact that you can go through today and then come right out tomorrow and learn from what you did?
MJ: Yeah, I think that's my favorite part. I think a lot of us really enjoy that. It's a new team for both sides. So, we're just trying to focus on us, really watch the film, make adjustments and just continue to do what you want to work on, right? You can't look too much at the other team, you've just got to focus on what you can.
Q: What do you think of practicing here in Green Bay and the history of this place?
MJ: Yeah, I think it's really cool. I think we talk about that a lot, the history here, obviously Lambeau Field and everything. It's pretty cool. Just to be able to come out here and work hard with our guys is fun. It felt like it was a clean practice, and that's what we need to do tomorrow.
Q: Did you and Jordan [Love] get a chance to talk to each other?
MJ: Yeah, I said hello. I'd never talked to him before, so just said hi. He looked good out there, so it was fun.
Q: What did you learn from him out there?
MJ: Learn from who?
MJ: Yeah, I try to focus on us, but I think you're always trying to watch football when you're out there. I really look at our defense to kind of see what pointers I can give them when we go back to meetings, but I thought it was good. I thought the two-minute drive was good and all that. So, those are all situational things that we're working on, they're working on, so it's a win-win.
Q: What do you think of [Ezekiel] Elliott's signing?
MJ: Yeah, Zeke's awesome so far. He already was jumping in there, getting some reps, so that was pretty cool to see fresh off a plane trying to come out here and compete. But yeah, he seems like a great fit. We really just want to take him under our wing. He's a guy who has played a lot of football in the NFL, so we're just trying to learn from him, too.
Q: Bill said that he went through some plays with him, some blocking techniques, that kind of stuff. Were you able to go through any of that with Zeke so far?
MJ: Yeah, I think he just got here, you know? He was like in his pajamas, so we're really just trying to get him some Patriots gear and make sure he's good to go. He knows football; it's just the terminology's a little different. I'm not worried about him. I think most importantly, the line is doing a really good job in the running game right now, so I know he sees that and he's excited. I know him and Rhamondre [Stevenson] are going to be a great one-two punch, and the other guys, too. You can't forget about the other guys in our room. It's going to be good.
Q: I know the offensive line is kind of a work in progress, but where's your confidence level with that group?
MJ: It's good. I think we've really addressed some things we want to work on, and those guys are doing a good job getting better every day. There's a lot of experience with Trent [Brown], David [Andrews] and those type of players, and then some young guys in there with Sidy [Sow], [Atonio] Mafi and everybody. So, it's fun, you know? I remember being a rookie in there with the older guys, and for me, I just want them to go out there, play and have fun. Don't worry about making mistakes, just go 100%, and they're doing a good job of that. It takes some time to mold together, right? You're not going to get it on the first practice, so we're still working through that.
Q: Mac, how do you feel like your anticipation and timing out there…it seemed like a couple of those deep outs you were able to find a little bit early. How is that going?
MJ: Yeah, good. I think it depends on the play, right? Sometimes it's a rhythm play, sometimes it's not, or a check or anything like that. So, you've just got to kind of play the play for what it is. If it's a rhythm play, then get it out on time. If it's not, then go through your reads and stuff. So, I think we've definitely worked on that. We've done a lot of routes on air, done a lot of one-on-ones. So, I feel comfortable with the guys. I think we have a lot of depth and a lot of skill scattered across the board. We're just trying to work through which ones work best out there.
Q: You haven't gotten to play against Green Bay yet in your career. What are you most looking forward to?
MJ: Honestly, I'm just looking forward to tomorrow. It's kind of hard here, you know? We've got to go lift, then I've got to go watch film. That'll help for the game, right? But, I can't really focus on the game right now. It's a few days away. But, I think it's a great opportunity when it comes in the preseason, just to go out there and let it fly.
Q: You replaced, not directly replaced, [Tom] Brady, but you had to replace Brady. What were the expectations like? How did you handle those, and any advice for Jordan [Love] as he goes through kind of the same deal?
MJ: Yeah, I think Tom Brady's the greatest quarterback to ever play in the NFL. So, to follow up on him, it's just trying to chase the standard that he set, every day. Honestly, we're definitely two different players, and that's the only advice I'd have. Just continue to grow and be yourself, right? That's all you can do, is put your best foot forward and compete. But yeah, it's definitely big shoes to fill.
Q: Mac, how much contact, if at all, do you have with Malik Cunningham when it comes to playing quarterback?
MJ: I mean, Malik is a great athlete. I feel like we have a good bond. He's kind of a funny guy. He has good jokes and stuff, so I like to talk to him in the locker room. He's from Alabama and stuff, so we always talk about that. He's doing a good job. I think it's awesome to see him out there running those plays. I guess I'm not fast enough yet to try those out, but maybe one day.
Q: I was going to say, are we going to see you at wideout or gunner?
MJ: Yeah, there you go. I can play some receiver, but we'll see.
Q: What do you think of the traditions here? One of them was crossing the street this morning, kind of like an old-school way coming onto the field. What kind of things do you like about this place?
MJ: I think it's cool. Like we talked about earlier, just the tradition and everything that's been set here in football stone, you know? It's kind of like the heart of football. I think it was cool to walk across and see the stadium that I've seen so many times on TV, but to finally be there was cool. So, I'm looking forward to it.
Q: Do you ever still feel, a little bit, the shadow of Tom and the presence of him, because he was so about of the organization over the past 20 years? Does it still resonate with you?
MJ: Yeah, I got drafted three years ago, so it's just trying to move on from that part of it and understanding how you can set the standard that he already had set, you know? For us, every year's a new year and you've got to go out there and earn it. I know that he did that every year, and I'm going to continue to do that as well.