It’s been well-documented that the New England Patriots are now “starting over” after their 1-4 start to the season.
For quarterback Mac Jones, correcting his fundamentals and footwork are at the top of his do-over list, but part of that process also includes getting back to having fun.
“Also just having fun, too. That’s what I think of, when I’m at my best I’m having fun, enjoying everybody,” Jones said on Wednesday. “We’re out there playing a game that we love. Right now, it’s not looking too good, but we’ve got to flip the switch, right? And start over and figure out ways to go out there and have fun, sling the ball around and guys go make plays and then celebrate with each other, too.
“We work so hard. It’s been such a theme that we haven’t really scored a lot of points but when we do, we’ve got to go out there and celebrate and enjoy it.”
Getting back to enjoying the game was something Jones focused on throughout the offseason. And over the summer, the Patriots offense — led by Jones — could often be seen dancing, celebrating big plays, and having fun.
But, that’s when things seemed to be pointing up on the offensive side of the ball under new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. Now five games into the season the flip has been switched.
New England’s offense has looked lifeless at times, which Jones hopes can be corrected as part of this new process.
“You guys saw that in training camp, we were out there having fun, and then the game comes around, and I don’t know what it is,” Jones said. “I want to go out there and have fun and do our jobs and celebrate with each other, when somebody gets knocked down, pick them back up and all that stuff. So, trying to change the narrative there and really just play football together.”
The biggest issue has been their lack of success, as New England’s offense has simply not had much to celebrate early on. The unit ranks dead last in football averaging 11.0 points per game and has not scored an offensive touchdown in their last 34 possessions.
The hope now is getting back to playing together will lead to more success, which will start with improved communication both on the field and on the sidelines.
“One of the best things that I do is my ability to communicate, so somebody told me that in the locker room, and I really took that to heart,” Jones explained. “So, that’s really good information for me, and that’s who I am. I need to do a better job of that, and I haven’t done that here the past couple years.”
The communication issues have been easy to spot in New England’s passing game. Jones and his receivers have often to appeared to not be on the same page early this season, which has led to the quarterback rushing through his progressions or hesitating in the pocket.
“I’ve got to start playing like that and communicating like that,” Jones said. “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.”
With Bill Belichick confirming on Wednesday that Jones will remain the starting quarterback, Jones will have his first shot on Sunday to see if his new process can help lead to improved results.
He is confident that it will.
“Each week is a new week, and I know it’s tough to say that when they kind of looked very similar, but it is. It’s a new week, and we didn’t play our best. I didn’t play my best in the last game, and we’ve moved on,” Jones said. “Now, it’s alright, we’ve got a really good opponent in the Raiders, and I’m going to focus on — like I talked about — communicating with the guys, having fun, and then doing my part as the quarterback and communicating on the sidelines and all that stuff.
“So, that will really help. I know it will. It’s been proven to do that, and I think that’s what I’ll focus on and not really focus on the results. The results will come. You’ve got to stick with the process and the communication.”