After suffering a back injury in the New England Patriots Week 1 loss to the Miami Dolphins, quarterback Mac Jones has already seen improvements on Monday.
“I definitely feel better,” Jones told reporters on Monday. “I want to be able to be ready to play against Pittsburgh and I feel good. Yesterday, talking with the trainers just trying to get back. Wasn't feeling too hot after the game, but definitely feel a lot better.”
Despite suffering the injury, Jones did not miss one snap in the Patriots’ 20-7 loss. While it was tough to tell when the injury occurred, Jones believes it came during the fourth-quarter roughing-the-passer penalty.
“I think so,” Jones responded when asked if that play resulted in the injury. “I just kept playing and tried to work through it. It’s football, you're going to get hit. Been hit harder before and will probably get hit harder in the future. It’s part of the game and it’s all good.”
As he now aims to take the field Week 2 in Pittsburgh, Jones said he’ll practice on Wednesday before undergoing his “normal” weekly routine.
“They did all the tests and everything was fine,” he said. “The trainers looked at it and haven't had any issues with it before. Don't expect any issues with it now so everything's good.”
On the field, the Patriots offense also limped to the locker room after scoring just seven points. While the measly point total marks the lowest scoring output in the Mac Jones era, the quarterback believes it wasn't all bad on Sunday.
“After watching the film I think we did a lot of good things. We just have to eliminate the really bad things,” Jones explained. “In terms of actually executing the plays it was actually a lot better than what we thought and what people probably think. But we got to score more points and take care of the football and eliminate the really bad plays.”
One of those really bad plays was the second quarter fumble-six, which altered the early trajectory of the game. The Patriots were not able to pick up a blitzer from Miami’s secondary, resulting in a strip sack and a defensive touchdown for the Dolphins.
“We know we can protect better and I can do things to communicate better. So, we’ll all get better at that and that’s all there is to it,” Jones said.
On the communication front, the Week 1 contest was the first regular season game with the Patriots new-look coaching staff, which was led by Matt Patricia relying plays to Mac Jones’ helmet. Despite Patricia also handling offensive line duties, Jones said he felt he still had enough time to communicate with Patricia between series.
“It was good,” Jones said of the communication between them. “The communication on the sideline was really good between all of us and we’ll continue to grow in that area and same with the operation - it will get faster. I really like our coaching staff, think they've done a good job of staying positive.”
The Patriots will look to get into the win column for the first time this season in Pittsburgh on Sunday with a healthy Mac Jones under center.
“It’s a long season,” Jones added. “We got a lot of games left and a big one this week.”