Mac Jones didn’t wilt in the face of pressure.
Time and time again on Sunday versus the Dolphins, the Patriots’ rookie signal-caller held his ground, delivering one accurate strike after another.
But thumbing through the physical aftermath of a disappointing opening day loss showed Jones being hit nine times. Only one other quarterback, Indianapolis’ Carson Wentz, was hit more (10).
Jones was hard on himself postgame, saying some of those shots were his own fault and, in general, he needed to be more demanding and more vocal, despite teammates insisting otherwise. I asked the 23-year-old about that on Wednesday.
“You need it more if you don’t win,” he said. “I think that’s part of it. We need to — not press — but there needs to be more urgency and stuff.”
His teammates weren’t concerned with how Jones handled himself, noting his poise in the pocket and willingness to take a blow to make a play.
“He did a great job. I was really proud of him, how he handled it.” said tight end Hunter Henry. “Sat in there in the pocket even when the pocket was coming down and made some big-time throws that sometimes a lot of other guys aren’t going to make.
“Just standing in the pocket and taking hits and everything like that. It shows a lot to us, as guys (Henry gestures to his chest), a guy that’s going to stand in there no matter what and deliver the ball, it was big to see. So he’s only going to get better and continue to get better with the more game reps and practices reps that we take.”
“First of all, you don’t want him to get hit,” said left guard Mike Onwenu. “Obviously, he’s going to do what he can do to make the play go. I mean that’s a good feeling, getting behind him as a leader and as our quarterback. That’s a good feeling.”
Jones said he held up physically to the beating. Mentally? There was a little bit of wallowing, but that can only last so long.
“You can sit there and feel bad for yourself for a little bit, because you’re human and that’s what you are supposed to do or you’re in the wrong profession,” he said. “You just have to move on. So the 24-hour rule. After 24 hours, (for) some people it’s less, but for me after that, just move on and play the next play, play the next game. You’re only as good as your last game. We lost. That’s what people will remember. So we just have to move forward.”
That’s a selfless attitude, which is a word that has come up repeatedly when teammates talk about their first-year QB.
“It’s not about me and it never will be,” he said. “And it shouldn’t be. Obviously, as a quarterback everyone wants to hype you up and give you all this and that. Sometimes you need to take more blame than they give you and things like that. So I’ve always just tried to be humble and stuff. It just works out in the long run. That’s the best way to be the best teammate you can be.”
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