FOXBOROUGH — Mac Jones didn’t sugar-coat things for the Patriots’ work-in-progress offense Tuesday.
“The goal is to have more good plays than the other team, and that’s the defense right now,” Jones said.
In the team’s second fully-padded practice of training camp, cracks continued to show for Jones and the new “streamlined” offense.
“I care a lot about football, we all do, and it’s very competitive. When we lose the day, to me, that’s like a shot in the heart,” Jones said, remembering the sour end to Saturday’s practice that included a pick-6 by Kyle Dugger off his last pass.
“It’s like we lost the game.”
Jones went 4 for 6 in the final 11-on-11 drills of Tuesday’s practice. Before his final pass to Nelson Agholor was complete in the end zone, Jones threw a sharp shot to the sideline that was incomplete to Damien Harris. On the third play, Jones scrambled and ran up the middle for his second shaky rushing play of the day in full-team drills.
Backup quarterback Bailey Zappe, who earned a significant amount of reps Tuesday, finished the day off.
“I think we have a lot of room to grow here,” Jones said. “The goal is for me not to run the ball and throw it. I think the offensive line is doing a good job. We just have to get on the same page.”
Jones mentioned communication on the offense several times. The collaborative efforts of Bill Belichick, Joe Judge, and Matt Patricia have run the offense through training camp.
“I know what I’m supposed to do, I know what I’m looking for, and sometimes I try different things in practice that I wouldn’t try in the game, and that’s the whole point of practice,” Jones said. “Just getting my feet wet in the new offense and trying different things and being on the same page with the coaches is always good.”
Jones said he was fortunate last year as a rookie to have the power to change some plays called in-game. Now, he and the offense are working on running their base plays and evaluating how effective those are on film.
“At the end of the day, it’s the players’ job to execute the plays that the coaches want, and they’ve done a good job of explaining each play, and our job is to go out there and execute it,” Jones said.
“Some of the plays we’re running, we’re going out there and trying to see what it looks like first and then trying to figure it out.”
After quickly praising Jones’s work last week, Belichick offered a more generalized answer when asked what he’s seen from his second-year quarterback as camp progresses.
Belichick said the passing game improved last week, but practice with pads brings a new focus.
“This week is kind of a different type of game,” Belichick said. “Early downs, runs, play-actions, things we didn’t work on last week. Some things look good, some things we’ve got to clean up and execute better.
“We’ll see how it goes here, string some days together and see where we’re at. I think you can’t evaluate based on one play or one period and that’s really all we have.”
Jones’s silver lining of the day came on a 40-yard-plus pass Agholor caught along the sideline during seven-on-seven drills. Agholor rushed the final yards to the end zone, with defensive backs Marcus Jones and Justin Bethel close behind him.
“Better days ahead,” Jones said. “We’re in the start of this thing. We’ve got to get it going but we just take it day by day.”