Quarterback MAC JONES
July 27, 2022
Q: How was the first day for you? How nice is it to get out of here?
MJ: It’s good. The weather was really nice. We have to play as an offense here, the defense has a small special team. Just assemble. Day one is day one. You just want to get around, move, compete a bit, but it’s more about being in the right place and setting the pace.
Q: invoice [Belichick] speaking about the dramatic improvement you’ve made from year one to year two, what do you think your improvement is and what has helped you this offseason?
MJ: I think I was just evaluating what I wanted to do better, be it footwork, where the ball is on certain shots, just trying to learn how to hit each shot in a different way, and then you have to of course apply during the game season. The off-season is great, but you want to take what you’ve learned and apply it, and being able to use it in games is why you do it. That’s why you work hard. I know a lot of the guys in our team have worked really hard and seeing that, it will be good as we grow together, but we still have a long way to go and today is just the beginning.
Q: How does this second year feel?
MJ: It feels good. It’s another year of playing football. There are guys on our team who have been playing for 15 years, there are guys who are rookies, so I’m not a rookie anymore. I just have to go out there and do what I used to do at fall camp and just compete against myself and compete, make the guys better around me. It’s the second year but at the same time it’s still football and that’s the important part to recognize. We’re all in the same boat. How old you are doesn’t really matter. You guys are here together and that’s the whole point.
Q: Does the game feel slower?
MJ: We had practice, but I think that will come during the games. You just go out and compete. You learn so much in your rookie year, you soak it up in the offseason, study and think about what you want to do to get better. I kinda feel like I did that, but it will happen in the game experience. You see it, you try to see what you saw and acknowledge it and then react. That’s the whole point, whether you’re a beginner, a sophomore, or a 10-year-old guy, it doesn’t matter.
Q: How does this year compare to last year when you didn’t know anything about the NFL?
MJ: I think the NFL is a total business and it’s all about having that championship mentality and coming into work every day. Whether you are, as I said, a young man or an old man, everyone competes against each other here, whether against each other, against the other team or against yourself. I’ve learned that, it’s a job. People come and show up and open up for themselves and open up for their families and that’s it.
Q: How much more confident do you feel going into your second season?
MJ: I think it all comes down to building the relationship with the guys and we have a great team camaraderie. I think that will grow over time. It’s a big part of our second year in the Patriots system, whether that’s the new guys from last year, rookies or the guys we brought in, so I think there’s a lot of growth that needs to be done, and we’re here to do it together. That’s the important part, regardless of your age. Get out, compete, have fun and play soccer, it’s the game we love.
Q: Was that the most fun you’ve had at a workout in a long time?
MJ: Yes, I think just competing is generally fun. You have to be able to do that every day. Everyone has juice on the first day of training but it’s the consistency of doing it every day and that’s going to be a challenge for all of us to get out of here if it’s 100 degrees or something or whatever and we got it out of here and to compete and compete against other teams at some point, but right now it’s about competing against ourselves and each other and improving each other. It doesn’t have to be a different colored jersey on the other side to get better, work on technique and so on.
Q: How much will you work with Matt Patricia to coordinate the offense?
MJ: I think Coach Belichick obviously did a great job explaining exactly what we want to do as an offense and Matty P has seen so many different defenses along with Coach Belichick so they combine their knowledge of how to attack defense. That’s something that really caught my eye. They’re great guys, and Coach [Joe] Richter, they all bring this different energy into the room when they present. So they’re all trying to get us to work together and that’s the most important part, we’re all on the same page regardless of who’s speaking, who’s making the decision on a piece or not, and it’s always an open one talk about i love.
Q: Do you feel you belong?
MJ: Ultimately, the players play and the coaches coach. You want to hear the good coaching you can get from three coaches who have all been head coaches. So, they watched a lot, a lot of football, and that’s what I’m trying to pick up right now, that’s something each of them said in a meeting that I can take away, whether it’s about life or football and then apply it to the game. Like I said, they all bring a different perspective, but I feel like they’re listening to the players, “Hey, we kinda like this concept, ok, let’s try it,” or if they want to add something else, explain it why It’s important for me to understand why we’re doing something, and from there it’s my job as a player to make the plays.
Q: What is it like hearing so many different voices when it comes to play calling?
MJ: I think plays are plays regardless of who tells you what the play is. You just listen to the formation, you know all the stuff in the piece and then you perform the piece. There’s a rhythm and they all have a good rhythm in their meetings and talking through the pieces, ‘okay, you start here, we’re going here’, you know, type thing. So everyone, we’re in there and having an open conversation about what’s important. At the end of the day we take the coaching they give us, whether it’s fundamentals or schematics or reading and we apply it here. We have to do that more consistently.
Q: How different was the vision Coach Belichick laid out for how we want to play compared to what you understood with Josh last year [McDaniels]?
MJ: I think at the end of the day patriot offense is patriot offense and we try to hold the ball in a way that we don’t flip the ball, that’s the most important thing. But we want to be able to move the ball down the way we want, short, medium or long passes. It can be caught after the run, it can be in the running game. So explosive plays and plays within ourselves and uses our strengths. I think it’s all about the guys in the room and using those guys and using their strengths and I’m just passing the ball around to different people, I’ve been good at that and I need to keep growing it’s just about getting it to the right guy, the guy who is the most open and let him get the yak and make the play or make the deep play or the gadget play. Every offense has elements and I think there’s a very clear layout this year.
Q: Matthew Slater and Devin McCourty said yesterday they want you to be more yourself, how do you interpret that? What are you?
MJ: Me. I do not know. I guess just be myself like you said. Everyone brings their own personality and to me I always think football is fun and always will be, but it’s all about competition and winning is the most important thing. Winning is fun. We learned last year what it feels like to win, but we also learned what it feels like to lose. So we want to be able to have fun training, but also compete with each other, bring good plays together and everyone brings a different piece to the table. From there we just put it together and when the games come, they come, but we take it day by day and just be ourselves.
Q: What were you able to do this offseason now that you didn’t have rookie responsibilities?
MJ: I think it’s good to always take some time off. But at the end of the day we’re always working, always trying to be better, whether you’re on vacation or not or whatever you want to call it. You try to fix the things you wish you could have done better the year before. I always tried that, as a little kid on Pop Warner: ‘What did I do badly last year that I can do better? Okay, let’s work on that in the offseason,” it’s as simple as that. They obviously have a life, but at the end of the day, my life is football and a lot of guys on our team, our life is football. We’re constantly thinking about football, thinking about next year and what we have in store. It’s hard sometimes to look ahead and look forward too much but you just want to be where your feet are and focus on those days of getting stronger, getting faster, all that stuff.
Q: We spoke to Trent [Brown] and kendrik [Bourne] a few minutes ago and they both said that they think the offense changes will make you guys play faster, do you have the same feeling?
MJ: Yeah I mean we still have a long way to go but I think we’re doing a lot of good things schematically to get up there and grab the ball a lot faster. We’ve got really good players lined up to make those plays and obviously a great offensive line. It’s about distributing the ball, whether passing it to the running back, a swing to the right, a deep ball, it doesn’t really matter what I do, if we can do it quickly, it’s a load on the defense. It makes everything harder. We have a long way ahead of us. It’s the first day, we’ve got eight months to go, so we’ve got to keep going with that, but I think the idea behind what we’re trying to achieve is there.