American Football

Mac Jones trying to turn difficult 2022 season into a ‘learning experience’


NFL: MAY 31 New England Patriots OTA
Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

New England’s starting quarterback is coming off a challenging sophomore season.

There is no way around it, the 2022 season was a rough one for Mac Jones. The former first-round quarterback failed to build on a promising rookie season, missed time due to an ankle injury, and overall was unable to lead the New England Patriots offense to a whole lot of success.

Almost five months removed from his sophomore campaign, Jones is now trying to make the most out of what he learned. As he pointed out during a press conference following Wednesday’s organized team activity, he wants to turn the challenge that was 2022 into a learning experience to help him and the team in the future.

“Really great people are formed through ups and downs,” Jones said. “Just speaking for myself, my sports career I’ve always been on really good winning teams and that’s what this place has been. I’m just learning from all the things, that’s all I took from last year. It’s a learning experience, and I think I learned a lot, which is really important.

“I was a second-year player at the time. All it can do is help me in the future, help my teammates, my coaches, and all the experiences that we go through. It’s the NFL, it’s the hardest league there is and everyone is really good. So, you have to bring your best not only every year but most importantly every day. So, just focusing on that.”

The 15th overall selection in the 2022 draft, Jones made the Pro Bowl in his first season as a Patriot. However, with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels leaving for Las Vegas the following offseason, he found himself in a difficult situation.

New coaches Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, who spearheaded the efforts to rebuild the offense in Year 1 after McDaniels, were unable to find similar success. Jones, meanwhile, was not particularly good either.

The theme for the third-year QB is now taking advantage of that “clean slate” new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien was talking about earlier in the offseason. In order to do so, Jones does not want to forget his 2022 campaign but embrace the positive and negative.

“I think some of the learning experiences that I had last year really helped,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that I can do better as a person, as a player. There’s things I can grow upon, but really it’s about this year. We have new faces in the room. It’s all about earning the respect of everybody, every day. I’m starting fresh, just like everybody else is. I’m going to run my own race and look at the end and see where I’m at. I think everyone else should do that too.”

Now heading into a pivotal third season that will determine whether or not the Patriots exercise the fifth-year option in his rookie contract, Jones’ main concern is on the process. That process, as he said, is largely dependent on the mindset.

“Every year is a great year to stay positive and try to gain confidence,” he said. “Everyone that I talked to that has either been in Year 3, or older, they just say, ‘Keep working and build the confidence through your reps.’

“It’s not just confidence from last year, or the year before, or college, it’s my whole life. Just continue to do that, and work, and do all the right things.”

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