QUARTERBACK MAC JONES
August 9, 2022
Q: How do you feel the offense did today?
MJ: I think we're close on a lot of things. It's just that two percent that we need to fix.
Q: What's it been like the last several days for you guys – we saw David Andrews address you guys yesterday after practice – what's it been like trying to get to where you want to be?
MJ: It's good. I think we're going to figure it out, and that takes time and patience. And I think we're making a lot of progress, so, it's good.
Q: Has your patience been tested? It seems at times you've been a little frustrated out there.
MJ: I mean, I care a lot about the guys around me and when I don't produce, or we don't produce together, sometimes it's a little frustrating for whatever reason. It takes 11 people and if one guy doesn't do his job, me included, then the play doesn't work. So, we're trying to get 11 people to do it right and do it right more consistently.
Q: How much pressure do you put on yourself when things aren't going the way you want?
MJ: I think it all goes back to the games and how you respond in the games. In practice, it's practice. I'll always try to be perfect in practice, but, when I get to the game, I know what I can do. I'm confident in myself and the people around me. But during practice, I'm always going to make it harder than the game, so when we go out there it's easy and we feel like we know what we're doing.
Q: Are you seeing progress from day to day here at practice?
MJ: Yeah. Every day you watch the film and it's that two percent, like I was talking about. We're close, and we just have to get there and buy in and trust it and just do what we're supposed to do and do our job.
Q: When it comes to the offensive line, what are you seeing out there? What would you like to get better at?
MJ: I think we have good offensive linemen, good players up front. A lot of it's just figuring out the scheme and making sure that there's no free guys. That's the biggest thing for me: as long as there's no one free, I should be able to make the throws, like any quarterback can. And I know my offensive line can do that. It's just getting the communication down. It's different than what we've done in the past, so, just figuring that out and trying to watch it together and all that. It is a little frustrating sometimes, but our offensive line – the actual players and coaches – are trying the best they can. It's practice, and you can't really tell until you get into a game. But I have all the trust in the world in those guys. Like I said, the communication needs to improve, and we did a good job of that today. It's the two percent we're trying to get to.
Q: What is so different about it from your perspective?
MJ: I've done protections my whole life, so, I've seen every type of protection that there is so far, and I'm sure I'll see a lot more, hopefully, playing a long time. But, you have to understand how many blockers you have and make sure where your issue is, and at the end of the day, you don't want any free runners. So, that's the biggest thing for me, and our guys and our team. The fundamentals are really good. They're giving me a good pocket, and we just want to clean up those few plays where they're not. A lot of it's just me stepping up and getting the ball out quick, too, so it's a full group effort here. And I trust those guys, and we're going to grow together. It's not going to happen overnight, but we're going to grow, and that's the whole point of having those guys up there.
Q: You said that yesterday was a little bit rough and today was better. What's the process in getting that two percent better every day?
MJ: I mean, it has to be more consistent, but, when you're out there and you know what exactly is supposed to happen on the play, you can actually see the play and how it's supposed to work. And that might be perceived as one thing, but really we're trying to do something and we know what we're trying to do. So it might not look pretty, maybe, to you guys, but it could be exactly what we're supposed to be doing. It's football, and completions are completions, and we need more of those. As long as you're going to the right guy, sometimes, they either catch the ball or they don't. Sometimes it just gets away from you, or the other team makes good plays. All you can do is try and put it in the best position, and I feel like we've done that, like I said, it's just coming down with the plays and making sure that we do that more consistently.
Q: What's your reaction when you see a scrap like the one that broke out today? I saw you running right into the pile there.
MJ: Yeah, I tried to get in there a little bit. I just try to break it up. It's two guys I have a lot of respect for, and at this point in camp, that's going to happen. I just want to make sure that I can talk to both those guys and try and stop it. But, at the end of the day, we're teammates and we all know that. We're just competing and it's just tough love.
Q: What did it mean to you to see David Andrews address the offense yesterday?
MJ: I think he's done that several times. He's a great leader. He speaks from experience, rightfully so playing in the NFL and here for so long. He knows what the standard is, and I was fortunate to see that last year with him. And then obviously trying to carry that over to this year, and raise the bar a little bit here is kind of what we're trying to do. It really just goes back to the individual efforts – what are you supposed to do on the play: hand it off, throw it, run it, whatever. Just do that as best as you can.
Q: Would you say there's a lot of confidence and buy-in that eventually this new offense will work?
MJ: Yeah. I think right now there's nothing to focus on besides watching the tape and figuring out what we can do better. You can always assume things, but, I've been in different offenses, and a lot of guys on our team have, and we feel confident about it. And that just has to come with reps, and in-game reps, too. We have to see it on tape and see how it looks and – the buy-in has to be the buy-in. You have to trust it. But at the end of the day, we're going to figure it out and make this thing work. We have good coaches that are laying the path for us, and we just have to see it how they see it, and come together and dominate together.
Q: How difficult is it when you're learning new rules and you're trying to apply that to a defense that's in the same system it has been in forever?
MJ: I've practiced against them plenty of times now, and they give us a lot of different looks. They're a tough defense, but, at the end of the day, when I have my rules I'm going to try and stick to them. We've been going against each other for a while now, so, just trying to get more positive plays out of everything. Competing is a big thing, the actual effort and toughness and things like that. Beyond the x's and o's, I guess – that stuff is up to the coaches and that'll take care of itself.
Q: How much does the frustration you've expressed lead to personal growth for you and the team?
MJ: I'm going to figure it out. I always have, and I always will. At the end of the day, you're going to have your ups and downs with anything new. But, I've learned a lot of different systems, and the guys around me have, too. We know what football looks like. We know what a good play looks like, and the schematics behind it. It's not just the result, it's the process of how it looks. Run play, hat-on-a-hat, pass protection, hat-on-a-hat, and then the guys getting you open, which they've done. It just needs to be more consistent, and we all trust in each other at the end of the day. When I walk onto the field and there's ten people that look into my eyes, I know that they're going to trust me to do the right thing on gameday.
Q: Are you guys able to compete a little bit more and have a little bit more freedom in terms of what you're calling and what your goal is out here?
MJ: At this point, we're doing the same stuff, just running these plays and trying to figure out what the best matchups are and see who can make plays, and Coach Belichick's done a great job explaining it from the defensive point-of-view. That's something that's been kind of cool for me, like 'hey, this is what stresses them.' But you've got to apply it to every play. Like, how to do we get the guy that's most open ball, based on what the defense is doing. Like I said, our defense is very multiple and when we get to the game-planning part, we will get there. But right now, I think we're just trying to iron everything out, and get, like you're talking about: The effort, the toughness, and just go out there and play a little bit.