FOXBOROUGH — With the Patriots offense struggling to execute during training camp, quarterback Mac Jones expressed confidence Tuesday that everything will eventually come together.
“I’m going to figure it out,” Jones said. “I always have and I always will.
“At the end of the day, you’re going to have your ups and downs with anything new, but I’ve learned a lot of different systems, and the guys around me have, too. We know what football looks like. We know what a good play looks like and the schematics behind it. It’s not just the results.”
The Patriots are installing a new scheme following the departure of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and other assistant coaches. Midway through their third week of training camp, Jones and his teammates are focused on a keyword: “Process.”
“I think, right now, there’s nothing to focus on besides watching the tape and figuring out what we can do better,” Jones said. “We can always assume things, but I’ve been in different offenses and a lot of guys on our team have, and we feel confident about it. That just has to come with reps, and in-game reps, too.”
On Monday, the competitive 11-on-11 portion of practice was filled with stuffed runs, incompletions, and what would have been sacks. That session may have been the offense’s worst of the summer, but the issues involving pass protection and play breakdowns are nothing new. Too many plays have ended with Jones scrambling.
Asked if he has noticed a common denominator in the struggles, coach Bill Belichick said no. He emphasized the number of moving parts involved in each play for it to succeed.
“If you look at the result of the play, that’s one thing, but there’s more than just the result of the play,” he said. “It’s what all 22 people are doing. So punt protection, 10 guys are good, one guy’s bad, you got a bad play. It doesn’t mean the other 10 are bad. But if you don’t fix that one guy, then it is bad.
“So I get it, but I mean, we aren’t going to get into a play-by-play evaluation out here. I mean, that’s just not what camp’s for.”
Asked how Jones is handling the changes, Belichick said there is an ongoing conversation with the quarterbacks about implementation of a route, term, or the way a play is packaged. As far as the execution, he again pointed to the number of components involved.
“There’s some plays that the quarterback could play better,” Belichick said. “There’s some plays that the quarterback’s right and there’s a breakdown in protection. There’s some plays where the quarterback’s right and there’s a breakdown in the route.
“I mean, there’s a variety of things. The same thing for coaching or playing any other position on the field. There’s good things and there’s things we have to work on, and that’s what we go back in and talk about.”
Belichick, Jones, and the rest of the Patriots have their first preseason game Thursday against the New York Giants, but there’s very limited game-planning during the preseason. Instead, the focus is on achieving consistency in the basics.
Among the points of emphasis Jones listed: determining what stresses the defense, finding the open receiver based on what the defense is showing, and establishing communication with the offensive line.
“I think training camp is for learning; training camp is for teaching,” said veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer. “We’re all trying to just work together to get on the same page. Unfortunately, sometimes there’s some ugly growing pains when it comes to that.
“Sometimes the best way to learn is to screw it up, go in, watch the film, make the adjustments, and then come back out.”
When the offense sputters repeatedly, Jones will sometimes show signs of frustration. Still, his confidence in the offense has not wavered.
“We’re going to figure it out,” Jones said. “That takes time and patience. I think we’re making a lot of progress.”