Mac Jones Shares Insight Into Tuesday Meetings With Bill Belichick

'It definitely helps just kind of start the week off right'


Sep 30, 2021

FOXBORO, Mass. — Tuesday is an off-day for most New England Patriots players. But not for Mac Jones.

During Sunday’s loss to the New Orleans Saints, the FOX broadcast team noted that Jones has been meeting with head coach Bill Belichick each Tuesday. The rookie quarterback confirmed that during his latest Wednesday news conference, saying those meetings with Belichick and his fellow QBs have been very helpful.

“We try to meet with the quarterbacks and stuff and figure out just situational stuff, which helps,” Jones said. “I can’t go into details on that, but it is really beneficial. Just whether it’s the team we’re playing or whoever, just watching football, hearing it from a great coach like him and getting advice from the guys in the room that have played for a lot longer than I have, so just listening and trying to see what they see and pick up on things, and it definitely helps just kind of start the week off right, I guess you could say.”

Jones wouldn’t share specifics about Belichick’s coaching points, but he knows where he needs to improve as he heads into his fourth NFL start — a marquee matchup with his Patriots predecessor, Tom Brady, and the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers on “Sunday Night Football.”

The first-round draft pick has shown obvious potential in his opening month, outperforming fellow rookie starters Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Justin Fields, but leads a Patriots offense that’s managed just four total touchdowns in three games and ranks as the NFL’s worst in the red zone.

“I think that’s just private stuff that we talk about, but there’s things that are obvious that I need to improve,” Jones said. “I know what they are, and I have them highlighted in my improvement journal or whatever you want to call it, so I know what it is, and there’s a lot of work to be done, and that’s part of the problem. You just have to identify, hey, what can I do better? And ask questions and don’t be shy about it. Just say, hey, what can I do here? What drill or what thing can I do to improve this?”

With the Patriots sitting at 1-2, Jones said the most important lesson he’s learned about being an NFL quarterback is “just handling adversity.”

“Things aren’t always going to go perfect, and they’re never going to go perfect, honestly,” he said. “In the NFL, there’s good players on both sides of the ball, and you know, it just goes back to practice execution and just trying to learn and keep moving forward, and like I said, improve on one thing every day and just go from there.”

Jones didn’t deal with much on-field adversity before joining the Patriots. He started 17 games at Alabama and won 16 of them, including all 13 last season en route to a national championship. He also went 12-1 during his final high school season at The Bolles School.

Jones had to wait several years for his shot at Bama’s starting QB job, but once he finally claimed it, the results were overwhelmingly positive. That hasn’t been the case so far in New England, and Jones’ frustration has been evident at times.

After throwing a desperation interception in the final seconds of last week’s 28-13 loss to New Orleans, Jones spent several minutes sitting on the bench, head slumped, eyes to the turf, even as the game ended and players streamed onto the field for postgame handshakes. Belichick eventually grabbed his arm and led him off toward the Patriots’ locker room. Jones also looked visibly disappointed after New England’s Week 1 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

“Him or any competitor,” receiver Jakobi Meyers said, “when you go out there and fight the way Mac was fighting, just seeing him in the huddle, giving everything he had, he’s going to be a little spent at the end of the game. I wouldn’t say he’s down or anything. I just know when you play as hard as you can and you really want to win the game, it’s going to hurt you a little bit, and you’re going to be a little tired after the game.”

Jones is a self-described perfectionist, so he’s taken these early defeats hard. But he’s trying to keep them in perspective.

“That goes more back to process for me,” Jones said. “I mean, I’m putting in all the work I can do every week and just sticking to my schedule, and all of the other guys have their routines, and obviously it takes time to mesh together. It’s not like it’s all built in one day. It is frustrating sometimes, but we’ve already flipped a page. It’s a new week and a new day, and all you can do is just (identify) what did I do last week that maybe I can improve on and then just go from there.

“You can only pout and be sad about it for whatever, 24 hours in my opinion, but some people move on quicker than that even. That’s always good. You just turn the page, and most importantly, learn, and then continue to grow in the next week.”

As for his emotional responses?

“You just have to learn how to control them,” Jones said. “It’s hard when you play with a lot of passion stuff, but you just want to kind of be like an ice man. Just nice and smooth, calm, cool and collected. So you’ve just got to keep your eye on what’s important and focus on that. Highs. Lows. It doesn’t matter. I can do a better job of that, and I’ve worked really hard to do that.”

Thumbnail photo via Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports Images
New England Patriots quarterbacks Mac Jones and Brian Hoyer
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