With another day under their belt ahead of Sunday’s game in Las Vegas, the team certainly appeared to be in better spirits for the New England Patriots on Wednesday.
Bill Belichick and Mac Jones each seemed to be relatively upbeat during their appearances at the podium, with the goal now to obviously reset after two tough losses against both Dallas and New Orleans.
For Jones, it sounds like the last few days have been focused on self-reflection and self-evaluation, with the quarterback admitting during his press conference that his focus has been getting down to figuring out where his real issues are and what really needs to be corrected.
Obviously, the biggest ones are the turnovers, with Jones having thrown six interceptions as well as a fumble that resulted in points for the other team. After being pulled from his last two starts late, he’s been fortunate to this point that Bailey Zappe hasn’t fared much better in relief of him. That’s at least kept the coaches in his corner for however much longer that lasts.
Still, that support is something Jones is thankful for, and he’s doing his best to make sure he rewards that confidence.
“Yeah, I appreciate that,” Jones told reporters on Wednesday. “I think a lot of that is really good and a lot of things that I need to improve on as a quarterback. So, that’s what I think of. What can I do better? You know, what are the actual issues? Instead of just throwing stuff up in the air, let’s look at the tape, you know, like the plays in the game, 11-on-11 and really see what’s going on.”
“That’s the important part to me because you can always try to problem solve that way. But, when you are kind of just chasing different things and narratives and things like that, it’s hard, right? But, when you sit in the room together and look at the tape, there’s a lot of things that you can be like ‘okay, I’m going to do this or I’m going to try to do this drop on this play or read it this way,’ or whatever.”
“So, it’s all about trial and error. At the same time, you want it to be really good on game days. That’s where I’ve been disappointed with myself, because it hasn’t been great on game day. So, why hasn’t it been? That’s something I’m focused on.”
One area that Jones also discussed is really improving his communication with his teammates, which includes talking more to the receivers when it comes to their routes, or whatever else may help improve things in the passing game.
He also added that as a third-year player, he needs to take more ownership and work better with guys so they can get on the same page and hopefully see that turn into success on Sundays.
“I’m not necessarily a younger guy anymore, it’s my third year, and I’ve got to start playing like that and communicating like that. So, that’s important to me, whether it’s route depths or ‘Hey, Pop [Demario Douglas], this is what I want you to do here’, or whatever. It’s all about communication and taking it both ways, from coaches to the players, players to the coaches, and that’s something that I am going to focus on this week – I already have – and that’s one of the things that I’ve done really well in the past.”
It’s definitely a big week for him, and hopefully all this work that he’s put in yields positive results. Even in what wasn’t a great outing for Jones against the Jets (he finished just 15-of-29 (51.7%) for 201 yards and a TD), the fact he didn’t turn it over played a factor in the club getting its lone win of the season.
With the Patriots sitting at 1-4, that’s exactly the performance they’ll need from him this week in Las Vegas if they have any prayer of salvaging this season. Jones said the goal now is to try and balance not turning it over with playing “free” this weekend.
“I think just playing free and kind of going through – I call it my pre-snap checklist,” said Jones. “I try to do that every play and just stay consistent with that, and once the ball is snapped, you’ve just got to go out there and play. When I’ve done that, it’s been a lot better than when I haven’t. So, definitely want to focus on that.”
“And, I’ve talked about doing my job a lot, and what’s my read, and all that stuff, and that’s really good, but at the same time, you have to play free. You can’t be locked in on one guy or whatnot, whatever the situation is. It takes all 11 guys, and that’s something that I need to improve on for sure.”
Kraft Not Afraid to Move on From Belichick
An article by Jeff Howe in The Athletic on Wednesday has everyone talking, with Howe citing a source that said Robert Kraft “has grown frustrated, if not downright angry,” over what’s gone on as of late, with the 1-4 start obviously not sitting well with the Patriots’ owner.
Howe notes the fact that despite his tenure, Kraft isn’t against firing Belichick if things continue to deteriorate, with Howe writing Kraft “doesn’t subscribe” to the notion that Belichick “has earned the right to go out on his own accord” and that the team’s performance will ultimately decide that.
He also cited Belichick “alienated Jones last season,” with Kraft becoming aware of the situation to the point where he felt the need to get involved to “take the temperature of the situation.” Obviously, it’s no secret things were tense in that regard last year, albeit Belichick has downplayed any issue between the two so far this season.
Howe also writes that the entire situation that transpired last year rattled Jones’ confidence, and the question now is whether or not the former number-one pick is so worried about making a mistake that it’s affecting his play.
Obviously, while the turnovers are one piece of it, his collective play is the other factor that will decide how much longer he’s out there.
Either way, it’s clear that Kraft isn’t happy about their current situation, and these next few weeks will certainly be interesting, especially with both Buffalo and Miami also up next after this weekend.
Smith-Schuster, Douglas Miss Practice
The Patriots released their injury report on Wednesday and both JuJu Smith-Schuster and Demario Douglas missed practice as the two continue recovering after being placed in concussion protocol against New Orleans.
Tyquan Thornton was listed on the league’s transaction wire on Tuesday as finally officially being designated to return this week, although he was listed as “limited” with a “shoulder” injury on Wednesday as he continues making his way back after getting injured during the preseason.
The Patriots also had offensive linemen Trent Brown (chest), Cole Strange (knee), Mike Onwenu (Ankle), and Riley Reiff (knee) listed as “limited” Wednesday, which will be an area to watch heading into Sunday.
Brown was given that designation late last week but still played 100% of the snaps on Sunday, while Strange was inactive, and Reiff was out there for 83% of the snaps, having filled in at both left and right guard at various points against the Saints following Onwenu’s exit after he seemingly reaggravated his injury.
Josh Uche was the most notable new addition on the defensive side, with the veteran being listed as limited with a “knee” injury.
The additional players who were limited were Christian Barmore (Knee), Cody Davis (Knee), Trey Flowers (Foot), Davon Godchaux (Ankle), Jonathan Jones (Ankle), and Shaun Wade (Shoulder).
Posted Under: Patriots News