Parents of young New England Patriots fans might not appreciate Mac Jones’ increasingly frequent in-game expletives. But his coaches say they have no problem with them.
One day after ESPN camera caught Jones hurling multiple F-bombs during another uneven performance by New England’s offense, play-caller Matt Patricia and quarterbacks coach Joe Judge both said they appreciated the quarterback’s enthusiasm.
“This is a super passionate game, right?” Patricia said Tuesday in a video conference after the Patriots defeated the Arizona Cardinals 27-13 at State Farm Stadium. “We love this game. We put a lot into it. We work really hard. We care. We’re trying to win. So I love all that. All of it is just, you care. You really care. Mac and I, I know he wants to win, and he’s doing everything he can, just like we all are. So that stuff’s great. I don’t really look at it from that standpoint. I think everyone’s out there trying to just do everything they can to win.
“I’ve coached some pretty awesome rooms before. I’ve been around some pretty great players throughout the years, and those guys had a tremendous passion for the game, like Mac. You love to see that stuff. You love to see it, and you just try to make sure you direct it in a way that will help everyone in those moments get better. That’s the biggest part of it as a coach.
Patricia said many previous Patriots greats would show the same type of passion on the field. One such player, Hall of Fame cornerback Ty Law, said Tuesday that he “loved” the way Jones reacted.
“I’ve been through some pretty fiery guys, don’t forget,” Patricia said. “Tedy Bruschi, Junior Seau, Mike Vrabel, Willie McGinest. There’s been some great players, and Mac’s one of those guys who just loves the game. So I love that.”
Judge, who’s in his first season coaching Jones, shared a similar perspective, adding that some in-game interactions can be misconstrued by viewed who don’t have the necessary context. Jones also profanely voiced his displeasure with the Patriots’ play-calling the previous week during a loss to the Buffalo Bills.
“I’ve said before, I don’t know if I would want to coach a player who wasn’t passionate about the game,” he said. “Look, in the heat of the game, it’s really a lot of emotions. A lot of things get misconstrued sometimes in terms of what’s going on on the sideline. There’s a lot of times where we’re looking at each other as any coach and any player where it looks like you’re shouting at each other. Hey, look, it’s loud down there. You’re passionate. You’re trying to get a point across. You’re trying to communicate something.”
Judge said he noticed Jones stressing points that head coach Bill Belichick emphasized during the leadup to Monday’s must-win game.
“I think Mac’s done a really good job of leading this team,” Judge said. “He did a lot of things (Monday) on the sideline, really conveyed a lot of the messages that Coach (Belichick) kind of spread throughout the week of practice. You hear Mac reiterating those and then communicating those throughout the game, really focusing guys back in. He’s done a really good job throughout the tough situations, making good decisions, getting the team on track and pushing through some adversity.
“So in terms of the passion on the sideline, everyone comes out in different ways. It’s easy (to criticize) one way or the other. You take one quarterback who seems more laid-back and say he doesn’t like the game. You take one quarterback who’s got a lot of passion and say he needs to calm down. You can’t have it both ways. People have to be themselves, and you have to find a way to figure out who those people are as a coach and the best way to coach them and figure them out.”
Jones, who could be seen hugging Patricia after the Patriots scored a late insurance touchdown, denied being frustrated with the Patriots’ offense and said Patricia “called a great game.”
The 7-6 Patriots will visit the 5-8 Raiders in Las Vegas this Sunday.