QUARTERBACK MAC JONES
September 14, 2022
Q: Is that your lacrosse stick?
MJ: No, that was Chris Mattes'. But it's a good fiddler stick that we all use.
Q: How did you feel out there today?
MJ: Good. Felt good.
Q: How's your back feeling?
MJ: It feels good. Everything feels good. Just keeping it warm and throwing the football.
Q: Keeping it warm, describe the treatment you 've had over the past 48 hours?
MJ: Just the normal treatment plan. I always like to work with my guy Brian [Dolan] and he does a good job. That's what we always do. Whatever hurts during the game, just fix it and then play the next week.
Q: You expect to play on Sunday?
MJ: Yeah. I'm good.
Q: Who's Brian?
MJ: He's one of the athletic trainers.
Q: You're facing a defense that had four interceptions in week one. What have you seen from them?
MJ: I think it's a super talented defense. Play a lot of different coverages, definitely fly to the ball. Obviously, Minkah [Fitzpatrick] does a great job. I had some experience, he was my former teammate at Alabama, and I have a lot of respect for him and all the guys on their defense. He makes a lot of plays out there. They've got play makers all over the field. It's a really good defense to kind of go against. We don't get to play against them a lot, but just got to be ready to go and correct the things we want to correct and focus on ourselves.
Q: When you look back at the game film from week one, do you think the mistakes you've made are fixable?
Q: Easily fixable?
MJ: Yeah. I think we've moved on but, I think everything you can do in any game to fix the bad plays and keep the good ones is what you want to do.
Q: How optimistic are you?
MJ: Like I said, it's week one and we did a lot of good things out there, and we're moving in the right direction in practice. A lot of the communication is improving and that's what happens as the season goes along. You fix the things you want to work on and keep the things that you're doing well. We feel confident about it and we just have to go out there and do it, really, there's no talking to be done.
Q: This is the view from the press box, obviously, we're not in the huddle, we're not in your head, but it seems like this summer, it's been hard to get confidence going, sometimes you have to see results to feel good about it, do you feel that with the group?
MJ: I think we all feel pretty good about it honestly. I think early on we were trying to iron some things out but, at the end of the day, when we watch the tape, and when everyone does what they're suppose to do, it's a good play, and when we don't, it's just not a good play. That's football, and once you get the good plays over here and the bad plays over there and there's not very many bad plays, then we'll score points and like you're saying, the results will come. But, it's more about, can everybody do their job to stack up good plays. Can I get it to the right guy who makes his yards after catch? Can we block up front the blitzes, the stunts, all that stuff? It's what we're just working through and once we can do that, we'll be good.
Q: Mac, what's it been like working with DeVante Parker? He seems pretty quiet and soft spoken, but what have you learned about him?
MJ: DeVante is a great player. Been around for a long time in the NFL and obviously we're really happy to have him. He does a great job competing every day in practice. He's a big physical receiver. We, like I said, have a lot of different guys who can make plays, and the goal is to get the ball to everyone I can that's open, let them do their thing and get yards and make plays.
Q: You mentioned overlapping with Minkah Fitzpatrick, what kind of memories to you have with him during your time together at Alabama?
MJ: I think Minkah, he was like the epitome of just a great football player and person. I looked up to him a lot at Alabama and he was a great team captain and leader on our team. Obviously, he's done great things with the Steelers. You've just got to know where he's at. He's a great player. He makes really good plays and obviously, off the field, he's an even better person. That was something that I learned from him. Super easy going, just really easy to talk to, friendly with everybody. So, I have a lot of respect for him.
Q: How big of a loss is Ty Montgomery to your offense? But then also, how much more important is it for everyone else to step up in his absence?
MJ: I think Ty did a great job coming in here and learning the system. He's also played a lot of football in the NFL, so, tough to lose a guy like that. Smart player, does everything right and has seen a lot of football. We have great players that will step in and fill his role, and he's very versatile, but we just hope for a speedy recovery. I'm not sure what the exact extent of the injury is and stuff, but hope he's doing good. I've talked to him a little bit, so I know he's just trying to get it all fixed up.
Q: When you watch tape of the Steelers, what are your biggest thoughts about the defense that had a monster week one performance?
MJ: Steelers defense has just always had that hard-nose, turnover-type football team. They've kept that MO I guess you could call it. They've done that throughout their whole history, and this year they have a good turnover-making defense as we saw in week one. That's what good defenses do. They takeaway the ball from the offense and then score points from it. We just have to do what we do and see where they're at on the field, and just play our game and try to focus on ourselves. We know that they're a good defense, that's obvious, it's on tape.
Q: Now that the regular season has started, how much of the blitz is your focus?
MJ: I think every defense has some form of the blitz in their package and whether that's one, two, three, four guys. It depends on the defense, I guess. Luckily, we have really good coaches and rules and things that I can stick to that I know based on what I'm suppose to do. It should take care of the things that are coming our way. Every offense has protection rules, and you stick with them and hope it picks up the pressures to come.
Q: Is it something that you guys worked a lot on through training camp even though you might not see it in those preseason games?
MJ: I think, like I always say, our defense brings a lot of different cool, different pressures I guess you would call it. We get a lot of different reps that, not knowing what's coming for a training camp day, and that definitely helps to have those booked reps of, alright here comes a safety this time, linebacker, or more than that. They bring everything, so we've seen a lot. A defense can do whatever blitz they want. Part of a good defense is coming up with good blitzes, and you have to be able to protect whatever they bring.
Q: You said at the end of the preseason that you wanted to do better stepping up in the pocket, making throws under pressure, that sort of thing. Now that you have a real game under you belt, how do you feel you're progressing in that area?
MJ: It was better. Just continue to do it. Just complete more balls and get it to the receivers and let them run. That's my job, and I'll try and do better at it, but it's all practice. Work on getting the ball out on time, just running the offense.