PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK MAC JONES
September 27, 2023
Q: Mac when you come out of the huddle every Sunday and come to the line, are there certain players that you know you have to account for? And, this Sunday is Micah Parsons one of those people that you have to know where he is?
MJ: I think you have to focus on everybody. He's definitely the top player in the league really, he's the best player that we've gone against so far. When you look at their defense as a whole, I think obviously everybody is really good. Starting with Gilly [Stephon Gilmore], obviously played a lot of football does a great job reading the quarterback, he's very instinctive. [Malik] Hooker has great range in the back end, he's also played a lot of football, I played against him my rookie year. You look at [DaRon] Bland whose jumped out to corner, he's a pretty good player, young, but fast, strong and will come up and tackle, played a lot of nickel. [Jayron] Kearse, another good player, tall, played against him my rookie year and does a great job covering tight ends, really impressed with him on film and Donovon [Wilson] in the back end, too. So, they've got a good secondary as well. They've got good linebackers. [Damone] Clark does a good job. I played against him in college at LSU, so I've been impressed with him. Obviously, Leighton's [Vander Esch] been there a long time, career Cowboy, a great player, definitely lines up the defense and does all the things right. Then when you look at [Markquese] Bell, they've kind of switched him from safety down to linebacker. So, they've got players that are doing a lot of different things and they can mix it up. That's what I've been really impressed with. Obviously, it starts with the front with [DeMarcus] Lawerence and Micah, on the inside they drafted Mazi [Smith] and they got some other guys, Osa [Odighizuwa] is really good, was in my draft class. I've been really impressed with him on film. They look really good from top to bottom. Dan Quinn does a great job. Obviously played against him my rookie year. He has a great system. He definitely believes in the rush. I'm really just looking forward to going against a great defense, one of the top defenses that's played a lot together, too. So, really looking forward to it.
Q: I know you've spoken about it in the past, how did Steph [Stephon Gilmore] help you when you were a young player?
MJ: Yeah, he is great. I never really got to practice against him, but he gave me great knowledge when he was here and I really appreciate it.
Q: A big game for Zeke going back down there. What have been your impressions as he continues to grow and coming off a game like he had? David [Andrews] was saying just how physical of a back he is. What's it been like playing with him?
MJ: He's great. Obviously, it has to be interesting going back to your old team, but I know he did a lot of great things there and we're just trying to focus on how we can get him the ball and make him make plays like he did there. So, I know they have a lot of respect for him.
Q: Mac, obviously the big story this week is the incident with Sauce Gardner. Several current and former players have come out and said that was a dirty play, what do you say to that?
MJ: Like I just said earlier, just really focused on the Cowboys as you can see. Just trying to prepare for a good defense and that's my focus. Trying to control the controllables. Looking forward to building this week, we have practice today, got practice tomorrow and Friday. So, Prime Time game in a great stadium with a great football culture, so that's what I'm kind of looking forward to.
Q: Having been up against Dan Quinn's defense, even two years ago, does that help you in any way?
MJ: Yeah, I think a little bit. The biggest thing is that he's coached in a lot of football games against the Patriots, and he's been around the league, obviously, with Coach [Pete] Carroll and has a bunch of other people that he's been under or with. He has a lot of knowledge. He's obviously a defensive line coach, and they have a great defensive line, and you can see that. But, he has a great knowledge of the whole system and everything that they do and you can see that on film. The front's very good, and then they play sound in the back end. So, I think they definitely have the players to do it, a lot of veteran guys and they drafted really well the last couple of years and these guys have been playing together for a little bit.
Q: It seems like at least from the outside, your play under pressure has been much better this season. It's only three games in, it's a team game, but how would you explain that kind of growth from you in the face of the rush?
MJ: I think, for me, it's just continuing to take the coaching from Evan [Rothstein] and Coach [Bill] O'Brien. They just told me what I need to get better at, and do that each week.
Q: In the areas that you're looking to improve on offensively, where are chunk plays, and hitting plays down the field – where do you put that on the list?
MJ: I love chunk plays. My whole career, I've kind of thrived off those, play action and normal chunk plays, so just trying to keep doing them. You've got to keep the hook in the water, I guess they say, so you've got to have the bait out there and continue to fish, you know? I think we'll hit them. We're working on it. I've looked at other teams in the league and how they do it, and kind of gotten a really good idea of how I can improve on it, how we can improve on it as a team. The offensive line's doing good protecting, so we definitely need to hit them, and looking forward to just growing in that area.
Q: Are you a fisher?
MJ: Not really. I mean, you're not going to catch anything if you don't keep throwing them, you know what I'm saying?
Q: You mention play action, you guys are ranked pretty low as far as play action rate. Would you like to use more play action?
MJ: Yeah, I think the data's skewed. I try not to look too much at it, but I do enjoy looking at data around the league, and for us it's just skewed because of the first couple games. So, I think that'll change with time. You have to look at it with truthful eyes. You have to look at all 32 with truthful eyes, and I think we definitely do that around here, and it's sometimes hard when you keep hearing that you want more play action and explosive plays, but when you look at the tape, there's a lot of good things that we're doing and we're definitely going to improve.
Q: We've kind of talked about no turnovers, clean game from the offensive line, but 15 points isn't going to win a lot of games in the NFL.
MJ: We'll see. Every game's different. I think, like I said, I kind of finished talking about last week, but it just depends on the circumstance, the defense, all those things. Definitely want to score more points, and the best way to do it is to think about your job and your assignment, try not to look at the scoreboard. Really, when you execute well, you score, and when you don't, you don't. It's kind of a simple equation, we've just got to do better.