PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK MAC JONES
September 7, 2023
Q: How would you describe the dynamic between you and Jalen [Hurts]? Sort of start of another season with him leading the team on the other side.
MJ: Obviously a great player. I've been fortunately to play with him and I learned a lot from him. Definitely a great quarterback, and I just think back on the times we had. I'm just really proud of him and everything he's done in the NFL.
Q: Mac with the way things ended last year, do you feel any particular need to prove anything to anyone?
MJ: I'm not really focused on last year. I'm just trying to move forward and prepare really well. That's all you can do, is prepare and let that turn into game execution. At the end of the day, you've got to go out there and give it your all, feel confident, have a lot of confidence in the guys and coaches and see where we're at.
Q: With that in mind, what would represent a successful season individually and maybe from a team perspective?
MJ: Yeah, I think every year you make goals, individual and team. I like to keep those to myself. Obviously, you want to strive for really good things. For me, it's just really about leadership and leading the guys and working through the highs and the lows. It's not going to be perfect, never has been and never will be. So, just try to work through it and come up with solutions to win games and it really starts this week.
Q: Mac, where do you think you guys are at, when it comes to – you've talked a lot about Billy [Bill] O [O'Brien] , you've talked about you and the offense – where do you thinks guys are at after all the time you've spent together now to be ready for Sunday?
MJ: I think we've had a good conversation about that, its just a lot of preparation. It's not just this week, it's the whole offseason, OTAs, before OTAs, think about the throwing sessions, offensive line working together. So, really just trying to bring that all into one and really just get ready for a long season, and hopefully a good one.
Q: Mac, what did you learn from Jalen Hurts?
MJ: I guess conditioning is the first thing. Me and him were always running against each other. He is definitely faster than me, but I feel like I gave him a good run for his money. I learned a lot from him, just stuff like that, leading off the field, and like the fourth quarter program we had. He just always did such a good job running, leading, never showed a lot of emotion, just did his thing and I actually learned a lot from him there. Then, obviously on the field there is a bunch of stuff, too. So, I really appreciate him.
Q: How about the way he handled the circumstances at Alabama? As the starter then being benched and then moving on.
MJ: I think there is a lot of learning lessons. I definitely took a lot of that, loved to see him bounce back and do a great job. In college he went through a lot, transferred and played well everywhere he's been. It's just who he is, it's Jalen Hurts. He's just a great player, great person and a good friend.
Q: What have you learned from Matt Corral? Just working with him as he's joined the team.
MJ: I think for me, I'm just trying to get ready for the game, focus on what I can do and help him obviously learn the offense and do whatever I can do to help him. So, he's definitely done a good job. I feel like we have a good room. I'm really looking forward to coming together here for Sunday, working together on the sideline and making sure me and OB [Bill O'Brien] are working fluently.
Q: You've talked since you've been here about the tradition of excellence with the Patriots. What would it mean to you to sort of lead this franchise back to that dominance?
MJ: Yeah, I think it would be great. I think it all comes down to putting in the work, really just focusing on what you can control, and that's your attitude and your effort. There's a lot of things that I can do better in that area, and I'm looking forward to kind of showing that by just being consistent, steady. Just go out there and do my part, lead the guys, really just bring everybody together, go out there and execute. Honestly, we've got a really good team and we've just got to do that.
Q: I heard you mention earlier or the other day that Tom Brady's been a mentor to you. When did that relationship start? Was it this offseason after he retired, or before?
MJ: I would say it's more like the learning experiences, just from film and things like that, and then obviously getting the chance to talk with him a little bit. He's definitely a great player, has done everything right here, won a lot of games, won a lot of championships. So, really looking forward to having him here. I think it'll be great juice in the stadium, and for us, just play our game and focus on what we can control. I'm definitely really appreciative of him, this team and everybody.
Q: When you say he always did the right things on film, I know there were a lot of those right things, but are there like one or two that pop up more frequently that maybe for you illustrated what made him so good?
MJ: Yeah, I think it was really his ability to overcome bad plays. There were a lot of good plays, but whenever he maybe didn't have a great play, the next play was always really good. I feel like that's marquee for a really good quarterback, so definitely learned that from him. But, he didn't make a lot of bad plays. He made a lot of good plays, so I try to apply that to my game, too.
Q: The personnel they have, the numbers they had last year is pretty well established. Are you confident that the offense is equipped physically, but also that you're equipped with the tools to answer what Philly's going to present?
MJ: Yeah, I think, you never know, right? They can do whatever they want. They can blitz 11 people if they want, and you've just got to be prepared and have a toolbox to use and make sure everyone is on the same page. It takes all 11 guys. But, you've got to go out there and play fast, too. So, looking forward to doing that. I feel like we've seen our defense for a few months now, and they do a lot of stuff, but so does Philly, and they're a really experienced front – great DBs, great linebackers. So, it's really a tough challenge, but looking forward to playing them.
Q: This is the first kind of game plan week for you guys. There was no game plan in the preseason. What has it been like with [Bill] O'Brien just going into those meetings?
MJ: Yeah, it's been good. That's a good point. I think with our team, we're a very good game plan team. But, we have our library of plays that we use and then it's just funneling them down. But, we've been running them for a few months now, just got to go out there and see what we can do, and a lot of adjustments will be made, too.
Q: You've had time in the offseasons, going back to Alabama, going back to what you've learned when you first were thrust in at Alabama, to when you took over that team and led it to a national championship. What kind of lessons have you learned that can help you get ready now for this season, and what have you done in the offseason to get ready mentally and physically for this season?
MJ: I think just perseverance and just continuing to travel forward. I mean, really, there's going to be bumps, but just keeping moving forward. That's what I've learned, really, it's all about coming back from the bad plays. There's going to be bad plays, but you want to have more good than bad, and that happens through preparation. So, really preparing, learning from those guys at Alabama – the quarterbacks and everyone else – and learning from guys here, the [Matthew] Slaters, David Andrews and everybody who really set the example for us. So, really just trying to do that and apply it. Every week, it's going to apply differently, but you don't know what's going to pop up and you just have to be ready.
Q: Mac, you mentioned there's going to be good juice in the stadium with Brady coming back and I know you talked about your relationship with him. Can you comment more specifically on how that's been over the last couple of years since you've been here with this team?
MJ: Yeah, I think we have a lot of great former players that have played here. It's a very fortunate place, and won a lot of games and championships. So, definitely looking forward to it, but main focus is definitely the game. Just trying to play my game and not get distracted by anything, and hopefully we come out with a win and everyone's happy.
Q: You mentioned in the preseason that you wanted to earn the respect of everybody in this building again. With the regular season now a couple of days away, how do you feel like you've done in that regard?
MJ: Yeah, I think just every day, focus on what I can control, stick to my routine, go out there and compete, have fun, play with juice and really just apply that to the games. Like I said earlier, there's going to be ups and downs. Just got to keep moving forward, figure it out and problem solve.