FOXBORO -- Mac Jones has been called a lot of things over the last few days since his incident with Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner, most of which has been rather unflattering. The Patriots quarterback is again being labeled a "dirty" player after he went below the belt on Gardner following an on-field scrum in New Jersey.
The "D" word has been thrown around with Jones a few times since he entered the NFL, but he remains unfazed. His focus is locked in on what's ahead for the Patriots: A Sunday afternoon showdown with the Cowboys in Dallas.
"Just really focused on the Cowboys. Just trying to prepare for a good defense," Jones said Wednesday. "That's my focus, trying to control the the controllables and I'm looking forward to building this week.
"It's [an afternoon] game in a great stadium with a great football culture; that's what I'm looking forward to," added Jones.
Following New England's 15-10 win over the Jets at the MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Gardner told reporters that Jones hit him in his "private parts," prompting the corner to throw Jones back to the ground. It occurred after Jones attempted a QB sneak on a third-and-1 play, and was pushed around quite a bit by the Jets defense as he kept fighting for that yard even after the whistle blew.
The NFL is reportedly investigating the incident, which could lead to a fine for Jones. But he wasn't worried about that or his perception around the league on Wednesday. Again, his focus is on the Cowboys and the tough Dallas defense that he'll have to face this weekend.
That includes linebacker Micah Parsons, who is an absolute beast when it comes to ruining an afternoon for opposing quarterbacks. He's been an All-Pro both seasons to start his career, and already has four sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery on the season.
Jones said that Parsons is the best player the Patriots will face this season, but he's not the only concern for the quarterback. Former New England star corner Stephon Gilmore leads the Dallas secondary, which has held opponents to just 130.7 passing yards per game through three weeks, ranking second in the NFL. Dallas also possess a talented group of linebackers with Leighton Vander Esch and Damone Clark, the latter of whom Jones payed against in college. Overall, the Dallas defense has allowed just 262 yards per game (fourth fewest in the NFL, with the Patriots' defense next at 270.3 yards per game) and just 12.7 points per contest.
The Patriots haven't been scoring much this season, and their only touchdown last Sunday came on a broken chunk play: A 58-yard touchdown by tight end Pharaoh Brown off nice play action. Jones is confident that more big plays are on the way for the New England offense.
"I love chunk plays. My whole career I've thrived off those; play action and normal chunk plays. Just trying to keep doing them, you got to keep the hook in the water, as they say. You have to have the bait out there to continue to fish," said Jones, who also admitted that he is no fisherman. "I've got a good idea on how I can improve on them and us as a team. We definitely need to hit on them, and I look forward to growing in that area."
The Patriots' offense checked off an important box last weekend with no turnovers. Now, the hope is they can put up more than 13 points.
"Definitely want to score more points," Jones said Wednesday. "The best way to do it is think of your job and your assignment and not look at the scoreboard. When you execute well, you score. When you don't, you don't. It's a simple equation, we just have to do it better."
for more features.