Why Mac Jones Has Photo From Playoff Loss In His Patriots Locker

The photo is constant motivation for the Patriots QB


August 20

FOXBORO, Mass. — Mac Jones can’t escape the memory of last season’s humiliating New England Patriots playoff loss.

That’s by design.

The Patriots’ second-year quarterback has a photo from that miserable night in Buffalo — Bills 47, Pats 17 — hanging in his locker at Gillette Stadium. In it, he’s walking off the field, dejected, while Bills defenders celebrate behind him. That lopsided final score is scrawled on it in red ink, an ever-present reminder of how his otherwise-impressive rookie season ended.

After Friday night’s 20-10 preseason win over the Carolina Panthers, Jones was asked why he has that photo prominently displayed in his stall. It’s not his favorite decoration, he said. He prefers the two poems he has taped up next to it. But they all serve the same purpose.

“I’ve always been a big fan of having motivational stuff in your locker,” Jones said. “My dad actually — the two things that he’s always showed me is the poem ‘Man in the Arena’ and ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling. Those are the two that are more important to me. But I’ve always done that. (The photo is) last year, but I think it’s motivation to just come in here and work every day.

“I do love the two poems a lot. That’s a big shoutout to my dad because he kind of gave me those when I was probably like 6 years old and kind of explained everything to me, and as I grew, I continued to just enjoy that. Actually, the ‘If’ poem was in Wimbledon, so that’s where he learned about it in the locker room in Wimbledon. So that’s pretty cool.”

The Patriots are hoping Year 2 improvement from Jones can help trigger a deeper postseason run. He saw his first action of the 2022 preseason on Friday, playing three series before giving way to backup Brian Hoyer.

Jones started slowly, misfiring on each of his first three passes during back-to-back three-and-outs, but rebounded to lead an 80-yard touchdown drive that included two third-down conversions and a 45-yard deep-ball completion to Nelson Agholor.

“It was a little bit of a rocky start, but that’s kind of how it goes when you haven’t played for a little bit,” said Jones, who sat out last week’s preseason opener along with most of New England’s starters. “You’ve just got to continue to play, and the guys on our team, we came together, kind of operated, didn’t freak out or anything, just carried on and get our mojo back and keep everything going forward. It was a good drive.”

NESN.com’s coverage of New England Patriots preseason is presented by Cross Insurance, protecting your team since 1954.

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