How Mac Jones Reacted To Pregame Challenge From Colts Linebacker

'Everyone's entitled to their opinion'

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Kendrick Bourne called Bobby Okereke’s comments about Mac Jones and the New England Patriots’ offense “funny.” Jones chose to sidestep them entirely.

The Patriots’ rookie quarterback was asked Wednesday about Okereke saying the Indianapolis Colts plan to make New England “one-dimensional and see what (Jones) can do” when the teams square off this Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium. He responded with praise for the Colts’ defense.

“I think they have a great defense, and they’ve done a lot of different things each game to stop what their opponent does well,” Jones told reporters at Gillette Stadium. “So we just have to be ready to go regardless of the situation. We’ve just gotta do what we can do to control what we can control, and that’s just playing well on our side of the ball. We already knew that they have a great defense, so we’re going to expect the expected and realize it’s going to be a good dog fight.”

Jones also wouldn’t bite when asked whether remarks like Okereke’s — which can be viewed as a shot at his ability to operate a successful passing attack — give him extra motivation.

“No,” Jones said. “I mean, everyone has their opinions and my job is to be the best quarterback I can be. And I can do a better job of that every day at practice, so that?s what I can control. And like I said, they have a great defense and there’s great players all around, so everyone’s entitled to their opinion.”

Jones, who already has mastered the art of saying next to nothing in media interviews, laughed when asked whether he’d admit if the Colts linebacker’s words did motivate him.

“It’s just part of the game,” he said. “Everyone’s confident. When you’re in the NFL, both teams have confidence in what they do, and you just have to believe what you know and what you believe in.”

Patriots tight end Hunter Henry also downplayed the bulletin-board material during his Wednesday news conference.

“I mean, it is what it is,” said Henry, who’s caught seven touchdown passes from Jones this season. “I’m not too worried about it. We’re just going to keep to the process. We’re going to put our head down and go to work and do the same things we’ve been doing week in and week out. Go out there and execute, play at a high level, compete every single play and just keep stacking away, keep the process going — what we’ve been doing.”

Bourne, another of Jones’ favorite targets, took a more direct approach Tuesday, defending what he believes is an “under-respected” Patriots passing game.

“I think that?s just funny,” the wide receiver said. “Obviously, we’re not a one-dimensional team. Last week (against Buffalo), we ran the ball, but conditions are conditions. So that’s just a funny comment to me. I feel like we can do anything.”

The strength of the Patriots’ offense is their powerful rushing attack — they rushed the ball on 43 of their 46 snaps against the Bills and racked up 222 yards — but they’ve been effective through the air, as well. When the Tennessee Titans neutralized New England’s ground game until late in their Week 12 matchup, Jones threw for 310 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

During their current seven-game win streak, the Patriots lead the league in both passer rating and expected points added per dropback and rank third in completion percentage.

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