PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK MAC JONES
September 13, 2023
Q: You were very hard on yourself after the game. Just curious how you take that self-criticism along with the film and how that carries into this week and your prep work and mindset heading into the Dolphins?
MJ: Yeah, I think the biggest thing for me is the 24-hour rule, win or lose, just enjoy the win if you win and then learn from the loss if you lose. Just trying to get better at those things, apply those things this week in practice, and move on to a really good team, honestly, just as good of a defense. They're really good up front. They've got everybody back, pretty much, and it's always been a big challenge going against these guys. They're definitely one of the top defenses, in my opinion.
Q: When you look at the division overall, what do you see?
MJ: Honestly, I'm not really focused on that right now. Just trying to get ready this week and get ready for the Dolphins in a division game. So, that's what you have to focus on, the division game in front of you. But yeah, that's pretty much it.
Q: How important is it to you that your teammates see you as a tough player?
MJ: Yeah, I take a lot of pride in that, but just standing in there, taking shots if I have to. Just continuing to grow in that matter, I've always felt like, as a quarterback, you have to show that in your own way. Some guys do it differently than others, but you also have to be smart. This is a league full of a lot of really good players, and they're coming to knock your head off. So, you've got to make sure to show that passion, and show it in unique ways. For me, it's standing in the pocket and ripping it.
Q: You guys aren't playing the Jets, but just wanted to get your reaction to seeing Aaron [Rodgers] go down, someone who has obviously been in this league for a long time?
MJ: Yeah, obviously, prayers to him. Great player, Hall of Fame player, and I hope he has a good recovery.
Q: Bill [Belichick] talked today with a lot of respect about Vic Fangio's defenses through the years, and Hunter [Henry] talked about it as well, having gone against him with the Broncos. Curious when you watch the Chargers game in particular, the head coach of the Chargers came from the Fangio tree, does that give you any kind of insights into – I know it's a different game, different personnel, this will be a different scheme from them – but, in terms of how to attack a defense like that?
MJ: Yeah, I think Coach Fangio has a lot of respect around the league. He's been around for a long time. He was in Philly [Philadelphia] last year for a little bit, obviously Chicago, Denver. So, he has a great background. He's called a lot of football plays, and his defense is pretty sound, always. The guys know what to do. They're very disciplined. I think each week, there's going to be some carryover, just with coaching trees and things like that. But, at the end of the day, he's kind of the top dog. He's the originator of all the stuff, and he's done a great job his whole career. I'm just looking forward to going against him.
Q: I know you guys worked on two-minute drills quite a bit during training camp. How much do things change in those two-minute situations and how can you continue to improve in those situations?
MJ: Yeah, I think it's just, like you said, working in practice. We've done really well in practice, and just carrying it over into the game, not putting too much on a certain play. Just play each play one play at a time, really, we've already talked about what we can do better, and just going out there and trying to do it is a challenge. But, that's the fun part about the game, you get a chance to learn from your mistakes and then go out there, and it's going to come up again. It could be this weekend; it could be down the road. So, you never know when it's going to come up, but definitely want to improve in that area.
Q: Is there anything specific you guys have talked about?
MJ: Yeah, I think Coach [Bill] O'Brien does a great job every week just telling me what I need to get better at. The communication is very open, so I know what I need to work on. We know what we need to work on together, and from there, we're going to come up with a plan so that I play better in that situation. He's calling great plays, called a great game last week in a tough situation, and this week, hopefully we can get into a rhythm.
Q: I think it was the first day of training camp, or the second, you told us trust was the word of the summer. Just checking in on that, specific to Kayshon [Boutte] and Pop [Demario Douglas], how have they developed your trust and where are they in that area?
MJ: Yeah, they've done a great job, just coming in as a rookie, just working really hard in the weight room, in the sprints and everything. So, they're definitely dialed in on the details. Really, it's just trying to make sure we're working together, which we are. They're smart guys, and I want them to just go out there and play fast, and I feel like they both did that, and don't chase the plays, let the plays come to you. That's what I always tell them, and they're doing a good job.
Q: There are reports that the Patriots just signed Ian Book. I was wondering if you knew anything about him and how you feel about working with him?
MJ: Yeah, I think Ian and I played against each other in college. He's a great quarterback, and we're excited to have him in the room.
Q: With all that you guys have been through in training camp, all the way through and now one game under your belt, where is your sense of urgency for this week to find a way, simply, to get a win and move on?
MJ: Yeah, I think you get so many opportunities during the year to do that and this is the next opportunity. I definitely want to have a good week of practice, control the controllables and go out there on Sunday, feel prepared and let it rip.
Q: This is the second week in a row you're playing against a former quarterback that was a teammate, I know last week you said it's not really about that because you don't actually play against them on the field, but what does it say about the quarterbacks that have come out of that system at Alabama?
MJ: Like you said, I never try to focus on that part of it. It's really us against the defense, which, Miami has a really good defense. Yeah, I have a lot of respect for the guys that I played with in college. They've done a great job in the NFL. I learned a lot from each one of them differently, some things from one guy and some things from another. So, it's been good to learn.
Q: I asked you on Sunday about the use of the bunch formation to kick start the offense. What are some of the challenges you've seen from Vic Fangio defense against those kinds of looks?
MJ: He does a good job of playing his calls, but he definitely has some adjustments, depending on players and things like that. For us, we have our core plays and executing better, at a higher rate is what we're focused on, trying to get more good plays than bad plays from those formations and situations. I like all the formations we have, just continue to expand on them is important, too. It's good to move guys around and get guys in different spots for me, too.
Q: Did you get to know Ian Book at all during the pre-draft process?
MJ: Yeah, a little bit. It was different with COVID and stuff like that. I thought he was really good in college and obviously glad to have him here. I feel like quarterback rooms need to work together to help the team win, so hopefully we can do that.
Q: Against a Vic Fangio defense, how important is it that you and your pass catchers are on the same page, in terms of what you are seeing, especially, from the safeties who have that reputation of playing around with those guys a little bit?
MJ: Yeah, for sure. They do a good job of that just based on the early film. For me, it's just playing fast, getting the ball out to the person it's supposed to go to and letting those guys play free regardless of who we're going against. Just try to distribute the ball, if I'm supposed to hand it off, hand it off. If I'm throwing quick, throw quick really well. If there's a shot, take the shot. So, it kind of falls into those buckets. They do a good job with disguise and a lot of teams will do that against us, and from there you just have to play fast.