FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones acknowledged struggles as the team transitions to a “new offense,” but expressed confidence that things will turn around.
“I’m going to figure it out. I always have. I always will,” Jones said Tuesday after the Patriots’ 11th practice of training camp. “At the end of the day, you’re going to have your ups and downs with anything new … I think we’re close on a lot of things. It’s just that 2% we need to fix.”
Jones’ remarks came a day after the offense had arguably its worst practice, filled with numerous breakdowns. The unit had remained on the field afterwards as captain David Andrews spoke for an extended period.
Coach Bill Belichick, who has said he’s spending more time with the offense this year than he has in the past, hasn’t named an official coordinator to replace Josh McDaniels, who is now coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.
Along with Belichick, former Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia (senior football advisor/offensive line) and former New York Giants head coach Joe Judge (offensive assistant/quarterbacks) are leading the unit — an unconventional setup that has been further scrutinized with some of the early struggles in training camp.
Belichick acknowledged the Patriots “streamlined” their offense this year, with multiple players saying the goal is to make it simpler so they can play faster. Jones said “time and patience” are required to master the changes, adding: “We just have to buy in and trust it and do our job.”
One of the most consistent problems in training camp has been protection breakdowns, with rushers coming free.
“It’s just getting the communication down,” Jones said, acknowledging that there are also times he can throw the ball sooner. “It’s different than what we’ve done in the past. It’s a little frustrating sometimes, but our offensive line — the players and coaches — are trying the best they can. I have all the trust in the world in those guys … It’s not going to happen overnight, but we’re going to grow.”
Meanwhile, Belichick spoke at length Tuesday about how he looks at a “variety of things” when assessing a play, and evaluates each through a lens of “22 components, 11 on each side.” He stressed that what sometimes appears to be a good play, or vice versa, might be completely different with one change.
As for Monday’s practice, several offensive players acknowledged their performance wasn’t up to the team’s standard.
“When you’re doing some new things, there’s going to be some growing pains,” veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer said. “We’re all competitors, so when you have a day like you had [Monday], you go in and look each of your teammates in the eye and say ‘Tomorrow has to be better.’ You don’t want to go out and be embarrassed.”
Hoyer felt the offense took a positive step Tuesday, and Jones promised there will be more days like that to come.
The Patriots host the New York Giants in both teams’ preseason opener Thursday, but there’s a possibility Jones won’t play because he didn’t practice against scout-team looks on Tuesday.
Whenever Jones does play, he said: “When there’s 10 people that look into my eyes, I know that they’re going to trust me to do the right thing.”