QUARTERBACK MAC JONES
September 21, 2022
Q: After starting two games on the road, how nice is it to be back home?
MJ: I think we’ve done a good job preparing for the games, regardless of where they’re going to be and we’ve got to do that this week. We’re excited to get in front of our fans and go out there and play on our home field.
Q: Has anything changed for you coming off that first win? Is there a better atmosphere or is it kind of the same for you guys?
MJ: I think early in the season, we’ve played two games so far and you can’t focus on the results, you’ve just got to continue to stick to the process of what you do each week. Every player has their own routine and I like to stick to mine. Like I said, it’s a long year and you want to have the routine in place so that you can have that process. Obviously, you want to win every game. We won the last one and we just want to try to stack them again.
Q: The Ravens gave up 28 points in the fourth quarter, are there any areas you think you can exploit in that defense?
MJ: I think their defense is really good, they always have been. This year, they have a lot of really good players. I think that was a really interesting game for sure, but it was just a few plays. They did a really good job in their first two games overall and like I said, the players are there, the schemes are there, obviously, kind of a new scheme-ish. They’re trying to learn it, trying to communicate with each other, you can tell. Really, really good players, ball hawks in the secondary, good upfront, good at linebacker, so definitely have our plate full.
Q: How would you explain some of the bad tape, the plays from the past two games that you’d might want back or want to improve on?
MJ: There’s not really any bad tape. I think there’s things that you want to have back but if you win the game, you can sit there and complain about plays you wish you had back, but at the end of the day, you won, and that’s what’s important. It’s not about always winning super pretty all the time, it’s about winning, so that’s all I care about, all I’ve ever cared about. All the other stuff takes care of itself. Obviously, like I said, you want to put good plays stacked on top of each other and you need to have more consistency with that, but the really bad plays are coming down to a bit more slim. That’s the goal and you can do that each week and then improve. The wins will come and that’s the only thing that matters.
Q: In the process you talked about, are you in a position that you can just react to the offense or are you thinking a little too much more than you’d like to at this point?
MJ: I never really react to the offense, I react to the defense. Obviously, that’s your goal as the quarterback, it’s see what the defense does and react to it. I’ve always done that, when the ball is snapped, let go of everything and go out there and let it rip. I don’t really think I’m overthinking at all.
Q: Are you seeing signs that you’re going to find more easy throws?
MJ: I think every offense is different and we have really good skill players. They’ve done a good job and like you said, the players are really good in the NFL, so it’s not going to be a wide open play every time, but when it is, I need to hit them. There’s a few of those I wish I could have hit last week and that’s gone now, so all you can do is try and hit the ones this week. They’ve done a good job getting open. I like the hard throws, I like the easy throws, just whatever moves the ball down the field is good for me, and good for the offense. Obviously, we’ve actually moved it pretty well in terms of yardage and all that. Just knocking it in when we get down there and coming up with ways to get the ball in the endzone.
Q: People are asking this week, ‘is Mac improving or is he not’? People look at the standards of improvement as stats, are there other markings of improvement that you think people are missing?
MJ: I mean, every week you’re trying to improve. I’d say we improved from week one to week two and it’s not just me, it’s everybody. We all improved and got better. We got a lot of games and we got a big one this week. That’s all you can judge yourself on is your last game. We won our last game, so that’s all that matters and the next week is the next week. That’s all you can focus on. I’m not sure about the stats and stuff, I don’t really look at them. I don’t have much information there for you, the only one, like I said, it’s either a W or an L and that’s the only one that matters.
Q: At Alabama and a little bit last week you guys ran some RPOs. At Alabama that was a big thing for you. How much do you like that play? Do you hope that there’s more of them in the future for you guys here?
MJ: Good job watching film. No I think we did it a little bit. But I like those plays. I think every offense has some of them, in some way, shape or form. They’re good plays. But we have to be able to do a lot of things. Like I always say, there’s different types of plays – short, medium, long, play-action, RPO, gadget. So there’s different buckets you put them in and you want to be able to do all of them. So yeah, I like RPOs. They’re cool.
Q: Why do you like them?
MJ: I think it puts stress on the defense. I definitely learned in college just watching Coach [Nick] Saban sometimes explode at practice. Just knowing he’s trying to tell somebody to do something but his guy’s running a route but then it’s also a run. Is it a pass? So there’s a lot of cool grey area there from an offensive perspective. I’ve always, obviously we didn’t run them in high school, I ran the wing T. They were new to me at Alabama. I’ve seen teams run them on film. Some teams do it right. Some teams do it in interesting ways. You can’t really ever tell if it’s a RPO, or a play-action sometimes. It’s kind of an interesting play.
Q: Is that something you were able to bring to the table this offseason as you guys were getting ready for this year? It’s just something we haven’t really seen.
MJ: Yeah I think definitely. Other teams were doing them too around the league, and having good production. So I think, like I said, every offense has their core plays and you don’t necessarily want your RPOs to be your core plays which they’re not. But it’s always good to have that extra flavor you can have in there. Like you said, it’s a run, it’s a pass, what is it? So I think they’re always good. We just have to keep growing, growing from them. Learn how to do them and continue to figure it out early on. That’s kind of what early on in the season is for, figuring out what we want to do. Then once we find out what really fits, we’ll use that throughout the year.
Q: I wanted to follow up on something you actually said after the game. I think you were asked about the touchdown to Nelson [Agholor] and you talked about how it was sort of a 50-50 ball. You mentioned it was sort of a different philosophy than maybe last year, throwing to somebody who might be well covered, but just kind of trusting them to go make a play. Has that been a difficult philosophy to embrace for you?
MJ: No, I think it’s great. I think we want to give all of our playmakers a chance. A lot of our plays there’s a certain read on it. I do like the freedom to be able to do that. I did that a lot in the past. It’s great. I think 50-50’s a slight term, it’s like oh it can go either way. But it’s hard to defend when you’re one-on-one and there’s not a lot of people around you. So, I know it’s hard on the defender, and obviously they can make good plays too. So, it can go either way. But we definitely trust the guys and we’ve worked on it a lot. You’ll have to have time to be able to do that with the offensive line which we have. Just want to continue to grow with that. Sometimes they look close but then eventually they’re going to be really open. So, it just depends on the play.
Q: On some of those 50-50 plays maybe that’s a bit (inaudible) decisions you make pre-snap based on match-up or are those things you identify and come back to after awhile knowing you at least have a one-on-one as maybe a third, or your last read?
MJ: I think just for me, the biggest thing is, what’s the play and what’s the purpose of the play? As long as I know the purpose, I have the green light to do what I’m supposed to do. If I don’t know the purpose and we still call it, we’re probably just trying to see the play and there’s other reasons why we’re trying to do it. So for me that’s always been my thing is what do you want me to do as the quarterback to make this a successful play? You have to trust the coaches and allow them to work. That’s what they do really well, is scheme up things and put you in a good position. They’re never going to put me in a bad position. That’s their job. My job is to run what they’re doing and do it really well. So, we have confidence in it. We want to continue to grow and do things even better as players.